I wanted to comment on the planned visit of the British monarch to Ireland. The Queen of England is planning on visiting my own county of Armagh next week.
She will be taking part in some religious service in the Protestant Cathedral while she is here.
How do I feel about her coming to visit this country? Not good
She stands for everything that I oppose, both as an Irish Republican and as a Socialist. She is the Commander-in-Chief of the British armed forces, forces that have caused so much damage, death and destruction in this country.
That said as an Irish Republican I hold the symbolism of the national flag close to my heart. That flag has equals sections of Orange and Green. In order to do true justice to that flag we must respect the wishes of the people who make up a third of that flag.
No matter how much I may wish to see her visit protested against I do feel that such a move would be counter productive. To a section of our people she is their sovereign and that needs to be realised.
She isn't my sovereign though and never will be. I believe the people are sovereign, the Irish people!
In order for us to live together we need to be respectful of each others traditions and beliefs. While her visit may be hard for me to stomach we need to take a mature attitude to her visit.
Now I'm not talking about fawning over her or treating her like a Queen, I personally (not that I would ever meet her) would not courtesy or bow. She should be treated like any other visiting foreigner.
She should be treated as well as the man that sweeps the streets, she isn't any better than him and he actually provides a service for the community.