Tuesday 17 May 2011

In which Christine visits the Rebel County and thinks about the Queen...

The reason that I haven't been blogging much over the past weekend is because I was away. Myself and my husband were in Cork City for a training course, and there was just so much on that I couldn't come up with one logical sentence to put up for y'all. I did, however, manage to get some editing done on the train down there and back. I think I deserve a gold star for that.

Cork was named a European Capital of Culture in 2005, and it must be true because I saw a man weaving his way through rush hour traffic on a unicycle while playing a guitar and singing. Honestly, this really happened. I swear.

Today marks the first day of Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Ireland, the first time in 100 years that a British monarch has visited us. This is a good thing for Anglo-Irish relations, but I do question why it had to happen now. Ireland is in a huge amount of debt, and implementing the required security measures will cost in the region of €20 million. We don't have enough beds in hospitals, teachers are being let go, the number of Gardai (Irish police) is going down and taxes are climbing to deal with our bailout.Cars can't be parked on many streets, including outside The Rotunda, one of Dublin's main maternity hospitals. Operations in some hospitals have been cancelled. I don't blame the Queen on this, but I question why we had to wait so long to invite her anyway. Britain are our nearest neighbours, we have a huge amount in common and for the Republic of Ireland armed conflict ended years ago.

There have been a number of bombs around the capital, and in London, put down by people who object to the Queen's visit on principle. Luckily none of them have gone off. This makes me ashamed, to be honest. As I said, Ireland is independent now. The struggles are in the past, and anyway, Queen Elizabeth II presided over none of it. As for the knotty problem of Northern Ireland, I don't feel as an Irish citizen I have a right to lay claim to that piece of land. I don't think the UK have the right either. It is up to the people of Northern Ireland to decide their own destiny, through peaceful means, and that's that.

I hope the visit goes off smoothly, and that the occasion isn't marred by any violent incident. The last thing this island needs is more bloodshed.

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