British honours for Irish citizens


Madam, — I have some news for Tom Cooper (January 6th): British citizens live in a constitutional monarchy and not a medieval state.

Our approach to the prefix “royal” is much like that of Irish citizens. We all know that the annual Queen’s Speech to parliament is not written by the monarch, but by a freely elected government of the people. Our constitution, as in Scandinavia, works like a “practical republic”.

While the Irish Republic is, of course, a sovereign state, many of its citizens live or work in Britain, or are married to Britons (indeed it is well documented that more people of Irish extraction live in Britain than in Ireland). It is only natural that those who give notable service to British society, industry or the state are recognised by the British government, of whom the Queen in this instance is the symbolic representative.

The Irish Government, and most Irish people as far as I can tell, take a relaxed attitude towards such honours, despite their archaic names. This surely indicates not a surrender of Irish sovereignty, but rather a recognises that both countries, since the Good Friday Agreement, have entered an era of mutual respect. Perhaps Mr Cooper could follow suit and relieve himself of obsolete post-colonial angst. — Yours, etc,


East Finchley,

London N2.