Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Queen makes historic visit to Armagh and President courts controversy

The three day visit by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, culminating in the Maundy Thursday Service at Armagh received considerable coverage. Some commentators regarded it as the Royal stamp of approval on the Peace Process. This may or may not be the case but the fact that this visit was publicly known about – including details of her visit to Armagh – weeks in advance shows how much Northern Ireland has changed in the past ten years.

Of course there were bomb hoaxes and protests but one would have been surprised if there hadn’t been. Call me a cynic but I felt the passion of the protesters placards was slightly lost by the inclusion of their website address – somehow publicising a web presence sits uneasily with the idea of street protest? A case of Uploading the Revolution?

The crass remarks by President McAleese about the Queen only being allowed to visit the Republic when policing and justice have been devolved allowed a few unionist commentators to let of steam and undoubtedly will firm up DUP resistance to such an idea. One wonders what she was thinking – maybe she’s going to stand down early from the Presidency of the Republic and run as the Fiannia Fail candidate in next year’s European elections?

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