President’s state visit to Britain

Thu, Apr 10, 2014, 02:00

Sir, – I echo Vincent Hearne’s sentiments (Letters, April 9th). I moved here from my birthplace in England aged 19. Since then, I have studied and qualified here, work for the Irish health service and have married an Irish man with whom I have two small children.

I am proud of my heritage, love the country I was born in, but also love the country I have called home for 15 years. The relief I felt when Queen Elizabeth visited here with such evident success in 2011 took me by surprise. Similarly yesterday I felt unexpected pride watching our President represent us so well at Windsor.

I may well be seen as a “plastic Paddy” or a “blow-in” for the rest of my days on this island, but that’s OK. Teasing and humour show how our relationship, once volatile, has matured into a mellow easy-going friendship. There are many English people working and living in Ireland, and yesterday our leaders set us a great example of how the diaspora should continue to feel at home on each other’s soil. Yours, etc,


Granite Terrace,


Dublin 8

Sir, – Reflecting on the state of Anglo-Irish relations in the context of President Higgins’ s State visit to Britain, military historian Tom Burke told a remarkable story on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland yesterday (April 9th).

He pointed out that a brother of one of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation (Eamonn Ceannt), was killed while fighting in the British army at the Battle of Arras in April 1917. Also that a brother of Michael Malone, one of the leaders of the Volunteers at the Battle of Mount Street Bridge, where 28 British soldiers – and indeed Malone himself – were killed during the Easter Week fighting, had died while serving in the British army in May 1915.

Is there a more revealing and poignant example of the intricate warp and weft of Anglo-Irish relations that is being painstakingly mended by events like this State visit, and that made by Queen Elizabeth to Ireland in 2011? Yours, etc,


Morehampton Road,

Dublin 4

Sir, – The present improved state of relations between Britain and Ireland, so well exemplified in the reciprocal visits of Queen Elizabeth and President Higgins and the presence of Martin McGuinness at the Windsor Castle banquet, suggests that the mass of people on these islands do not live lives of quiet desperation but, rather, lives of desperation for quiet. 

To protect and continue this still fragile progress towards political and social quiet the approaching commemoration of 1916 should avoid becoming a glorification of violent revolution and become instead a commemoration of the sacrifice of the lives of both combatants and non-participating civilians and of the economic hardship suffered by all the people of Ireland during and after the succession of conflicts that began with 1916 and continued up to recent times.

 It would be a tragic error if an upsurge of patriotic sentiment should result in new support among the young for the small but dangerous minority who still believe that the Armalite is an essential accompaniment to or substitute for the ballot box.  Yours, etc,


Countess Grove,


Co Kerry

Sir, – How good it is to be alive at this point in history when our President can make a hugely successful visit to our great neighbour and witness the genuine warmth of feeling that now exists between our two countries. But surely a huge opportunity to underline the depth of the mutual appreciation we now have was missed by the failure to make a promise to grant each other 12 points at every future Eurovision Song Contest. Yours, etc,



Co Tipperary

Sir, – Amidst the clamour and self-congratulation of the various media outlets and diplomats on the occasion of the President’s visit to London and the subsequent “normalisation” of relations between Britain and Ireland, I can’t help noticing the rather large elephant in the room that is the continued British occupation of the northeastern corner of Ireland.

What nation, other than perhaps Vichy France, would resume full normalised relations with a foreign power while it continues to deny that nation’s inhabitants the right to determine their own future? Yours, etc,


Priory Road,

London N8 7EX

A chara, – B’fhéidir go bhfuil an ceart ag Alan Titley (Bileog, 9 Aibreán) go bhfuil clais dhothrasnaithe idir poblacht agus ríocht nach féidir a léim ach ní raibh an chuma sin ar na himeachtaí i gCaisleán Windsor agus na maithe agus na móruaisle ón dá thír ag suí chun boird le chéile.

Is léir gur breá leis na Sasanaigh an mustar is mórdháil agus go bhfuil na hÉireannaigh anois ag sodar ina ndiaidh. Caithfidh mé a admháil gur bhain mé an-spórt as an scléip ar fad. Ní fhéadfaí é seo a shamhlú cúpla bliain ó shin! Cruthaíonn sé arís gurb í an pholaitíocht ealaín na féidearthachta agus gurb iad na Briotanaigh na seanmháistrí san ealaín sin. Is mise,


Bánóg Rua,

Cillín Chaoimhín,

Co Chill Mhantáin

Sir, – How long will it be after the presidential party returns home before the revisionists and their fellow travellers start clamouring for us to rejoin the British Commonwealth and wear the poppy each November? Yours, etc,




Co Leitrim

Sir, What a moving sight it was to see those two old arch-enemies having dinner together: the Provo Martin McGuinness and the Stickie Eamon Gilmore. To think that less than a generation ago they were at one another’s throats. Sweet. Yours, etc,


Ceannt Fort ,

Mount Brown,

Dublin 8