Good news for Her Majesty, Elizabeth 11, The Queen of England. She is in line for a poll position in the race to get a seat on the reviewing stand, when the 1916 Commemoration kicks off in two years. An MRBI poll conducted by a daily newspaper found 69 percent of those included in the poll, were in favour of inviting the Queen .
She achieved startdom on her first visit, earlier this year and it was a controlled, subtle, performance. She seemed to know what to say by intuition and carefully won us over. Some of the places they brought her were heavy with emotion, but she went through her paces, with dignity and aplomb. She is the Aretha Franklin of British royalty and deserves some R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
In terms of political support, Blueshirt Fine Gaelers topped the poll with 78% in favour, with Fianna Fail not far behind on 68%. And when it came to the Sin Fein, surprisingly, 55 % of them gave the visit the thumbs up.
I have a suggestion, which may sound ludicrous and naïve, but if we are to invite Her Majesty, Queen of our “auld “enemy, should we not invite enemies that we have accrued since 1916.
Indisputably, Thierry Henri should be top on the forgiveness list . He’s apologized many times, but still the hurt goes on. One more breast-beating moment is the least he could do and he would add some Gallic charm to the whole ceremony.
As we are on the topic of football, wouldn’t it also be the christian thing to reconcile our hatred with Salvatore “Toto” Schillaci, whose lone goal allowed Italy to defeat Ireland in the Quarter Finals of Italia ’90.
There is also a case to be made for inviting Warren Gatland, who earned himself heaps of calumny, detraction and much outrage, when he dropped Brian O’Driscoll for the Lions final test match.
The massive approval of an invitation to Queen Lizzie, demonstrates truly egalitarian Irish spirit. But it might have been instructional had they polled the Over 65s. We are possibly the last generation who still remember, at first hand, that there was a time when the IRA were considered the good guys .We sang heroic songs about Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon, both shot dead in a raid on an RUC barracks in Brookeborough. On of the most stirring songs of that time was “The Patriot Game” written by Dominic Behan .full of anger and bitterness in equal measure…
They told me how Connolly was shot on a chair
His wounds from the battle all bleeding and bare
His fine body twisted all battered and lame
That’s when I became part of the Patriot Game
We all had to grow up when the violence commenced for real, in the early 70’. It was “put up’ or ‘shut up’. I didn’t really have to make a personal choice, until I returned to Ireland in late 1975, after four years of living abroad.
I was back in Ireland just seven days, when I found myself in a huge American car, heading for the airport to pick up .Andrew Loog Oldham, former manager of The Rolling Stones and his accountant. Simon was our driver and also in the company were photographer Mike Bunn and our leader for the day, Aimen Cannon, a rock ’ n roll entrepreneur, who daringly wore white jackets to Club Barbarella in the 70s.
We picked up our visitors and repaired to the Arrivals Lounge for a welcoming glass of champagne. Suddenly, with a loud thud, we were blown off our seats onto the floor by the blast wave from a bomb that had exploded in a toilet, which backed onto a wall of the lounge.
I remember in retrospect that most of us reacted by trying to burrow underneath one other, fearful of a second bomb
Safely evacuated from the shattered bar, we headed for the city. There was no conversation. One man had been killed and we individually dwelt on our own lucky escape. It was obvious we were all suffering various degrees of shock and coming through Whitehall, Andrew Loog Oldham dramatically commanded the driver to “stop the car.” He took his Gladstone Bag from the trunk, opened it and inside was a cornucopia of medications. Andrew gravely assessed each of us and began doling out the pills. “Here, you take that red one..and you, Shay, here’s a yellow.”
The yellow might have taken away the anxiety on the day, but the long term the price, for me, was permanent nervousness. Sometimes I would see a suspicious someone coming into a pub and I would have to leave. Other times I would suddenly get a flash of panic and sprint past a line of parked cars expecting one of them to explode.
I hope Queen Lizzie comes to the party. The effect of her presence might be to curb too much romantic talk of blood sacrifice. And don’t forget the dreaded 800 years of oppression.