President’s state visit to Britain


Sir, – It is good to hear that a member of the British royal family is to be invited to the ceremonies in 2016. Before dissenting voices make themselves felt, let me recall that French president Jacques Chirac invited German chancellor Gerhard Schröder to the Normandy beaches for the 60th commemorative celebration in 2004. This was in remembrance of a conflict which ultimately led to the end of the second World War, the last of many dreadful conflicts between those traditional enemies France and Germany. In the process of making friends with neighbours, no one was forgetting anything: Chirac recalled, for instance, that the chancellor’s father had been one of the millions killed in the war and Schröder explicitly referred to German atrocities. Seen in the context of the world today, Europe is a small place. Let us greet every step, every gesture, which brings us together. Yours, etc,






A Chara,  – The Taoiseach’s use of the term “our authentic historians” (April 10th) in London is interesting given the opinion piece by Roy Foster in your paper on the previous day. Foster writes that British rule in Ireland by the time of the revolution was not oppressive. He seeks to minimise the revolutionary generation’s actions as flowing from mere Anglophobia. I doubt if the new mutually fulfilling relations between our two countries will be “nearly as good as sex”, as Foster appears to think.   Yours, etc,


Gilford Road,

Dublin 4

A Chara – The word “Our” in the title of the article by Mark Hennessy (“Our special love/hate relationship with Britain”, April 5th) should have alerted me to the fact that this did not concern the likes of me living in South Armagh. The fact that the “hate” part of that relationship – something with which we might have had a possible understanding in these quarters – wasn’t even alluded to, suggested that this was one for those south of the Border.

The reason the term “Éire” grates from the mouth of an Englishman (or a Northern unionist for that matter) is that it is used specifically to refer to the 26-county state and not to the island of Ireland. If you want to call the 26 counties “Ireland” then please be consistent and cut the Six Counties off your tourist maps. And see how you sell that to the Yanks.

Yours, etc,



Co Armagh