Royal prefixes and institutions


Sir, – Tom Cooper (Letters, July 29th) does not explain who should do the removing of royal prefixes attached to institutions by royal charter prior to independence, and in some cases prior to the union.

Most, like the Royal Irish Academy, are independent and continue to serve the whole island of Ireland, even if their headquarters are in the Republic.

I cannot see any move coming from the bodies themselves, or why it would be in their interest, and it would be a serious attack on their independence if Government or Oireachtas were to attempt to impose such change on them.

Apart from anything else, it would be seen to be a repudiation of links with the past that have been in the case of such institutions constructive and lastingly beneficial. and it would certainly be seen by unionists as an attempt to republicanise down to the title even existing non-governmental all-Ireland bodies, confirming their fear that their traditions would never be accommodated in a united Ireland. That is not the approach of the State.

When the centre block of Government Buildings, originally destined for the now long-gone Royal College of Science, was being comprehensively refurbished to house the Department of the Taoiseach 30 years ago, the OPW architects enquired of then-taoiseach Charles Haughey, who was taking a close interest in the project, whether he wished to have stone slabs with royal insignia and recording that Edward VII had laid the foundation stone in 1904 and George V inaugurated it in 1911 turned round so as to be no longer visible.

According to one of those present, Haughey made a grand gesture with his arms, and instructed: “We add to history. We do not take it away”.

There is surely a lot to be said for a broad gauge republicanism that is as inclusive as possible of past, present, and future, rather than insisting that everything strictly conform to one ethos and tradition that has dominated in this part of Ireland, and taking away anything and everything that doesn’t. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – Tom Cooper suggests that the “royal” prefix should be dispensed with by those Irish institutions that still carry it, since it is a “residue of our colonial past”.

Why stop there? I wonder if he would endorse the abolition of the Irish county system, as that, too, is a “residue of our colonial past”, and would he like to speculate how that might go down with the GAA? – Yours, etc,



Co Kildare.

Sir, – At a time – the first time since 1921 – when reunification of Ireland may become a realistic possibility as a result both of Brexit and of demographic change in Northern Ireland, it is depressing to read Tom Cooper’s fulminations about the “royal” prefix attaching to certain Irish institutions.

Such sentiments make the Irish State a “cold house” for our unionist fellow-countrymen. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 18.

Sir, – A letter writer suggests that “royal” prefixes are out of place in our Republic. What about Chinese restaurants! – Yours, etc,



Dublin 14.