Varadkar asks TDs to ‘respect’ monarchy after RTÉ's planned coverage of king’s coronation criticised

Opposition TDs Paul Murphy and Richard Boyd Barrett critical of State broadcaster’s plan to air four-hour ceremony

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has asked TDs to “respect” the role the monarchy plays in Britain after RTÉ's planned coverage of the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday was criticised by the Opposition in the Dáil on Wednesday.

People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy asked “why on earth” the State broadcaster would be “spending four hours on a Saturday displaying this so-called coronation”.

Mr Varadkar said the UK was a constitutional monarchy and that position was supported by the majority of its people. “I think that is something we should respect. Monarchies sometimes become republics; Barbados was the latest to do that. They do it when their people want to change their system of government. The majority of people in the United Kingdom want a constitutional monarchy with a democratically elected parliament and government and I think we should respect their choices.”

The Taoiseach was responding to Mr Murphy, who said the British state would spend £100 million (€114m) of public money on a coronation for King Charles.


“James Connolly was right when he described the British monarchy as ‘tyranny imposed by the hand of greed and treachery upon the human race’,” the Dublin South West TD said. “It comes at a time when four million children in Britain are facing food poverty. It is an institution built on racism, privilege and empire, and it is a very obvious attempt to rehabilitate that institution.”

Mr Murphy said some republicans had said they would attend the coronation on the grounds of “reaching out to the unionist community”.

“We think it is perfectly possible and necessary to build a united socialist movement of working-class people from Catholic, Protestant and non-religious backgrounds, not on the basis of this sort of anachronistic and hated institution, but on the basis of the interest of ordinary people and the need for a socialist Ireland and a socialist world,” he said.

“Even in Britain only 29 per cent of people think that the monarchy is very important. It is an increasingly unpopular institution. Yet if you turn on RTÉ on Saturday you are going to be treated to four hours of the coronation. Why on earth is our State broadcaster spending four hours on a Saturday displaying this so-called coronation?”

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said Ireland was a republic while most of the remaining royal houses in Europe do not have coronations any more and they were not legally required. “Yet this weekend we are going to have huge amounts of public money in Britain spent on this coronation, an insult to considerable numbers of people living in poverty in Britain, and the national broadcaster in this country is going to broadcast this for four hours. Is that really an appropriate thing to be done from the standpoint of a republic?”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times