A new ‘patriotic’ book to promote the Queen of England has been distributed to schools in the occupied north of Ireland.
There has been a backlash among parents after ‘Queen Elizabeth: A Platinum Jubilee Celebration’ was sent to every primary school pupil in the Six Counties.
The London government had originally said that they wanted every school child in its jurisdiction to receive a copy of the “patriotic” book, whether they asked for one or not.
The governments in Scotland and Wales deeming it “too English”, and refused it, but the distribution went ahead in the north of Ireland, causing an uproar from parents.
The booklet heavily promotes a pro-unionist, right-wing message. It includes quotes from Windsor herself, ‘facts’ about England’s monarchs and their former empire, and quotes from other notorious British figures such as former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
The book has been condemned by civil servants in Wales as taking an “Anglo-centric” line that does not give due regard to the history of Wales, Scotland or Ireland.
Gemma Brolly, the Aontú Representative for East Derry, expressed ‘utter frustration’ at the distribution in the North after it had been turned down in Wales and Scotland.
Ms Brolly, herself a teacher, explained: “This hardback book was designed to help children ‘understand’ historic events.
“It is no secret there are many in the North who will have celebrated the Queen’s jubilee and there will also be many who have chosen not to, ours is a very complicated and traumatic history.
“Thankfully we have progressed significantly, many now respect the wishes of others and respect their rights to celebrate who they feel represents them while respecting the rights of those who do not share the same perspective.”
“As someone who considers herself an Irish citizen, holding an Irish passport and respects the rights of others to celebrate their Queen, I was shocked to discover that the same respect was not extended by the government.”