NOTE: A recent assignment as part of my journalism course required me to write a piece which offered an opinion which I didn’t believe. To this end, I wrote as convincing an argument as I could muster for why the Queen of England should not visit Ireland. Below is the vitriolic result. Enjoy!
May is going to be a particularly expensive month for the Irish exchequer as both Queen Elizabeth and Barack Obama pay visit to our penniless shores. While I will be the first to extend a céad míle fáilte to the US President, the undoubted leader of the free world, I would be tempted to utter a less flattering Irish phrase to Britain’s monarch.
At a time when we can least afford it, our country will have to outlay approximately €25 million for the pleasure, the majority of which will go towards protecting the Queen, whose 4 days in the Republic smacks of an elderly relative who overstays their welcome. While Joe Higgins of the United Left Alliance may not get his wish that she pays towards her “bed and breakfast” at a time when Ireland is “figuratively, almost sleeping rough”, it should be noted that Barack Obama will only be on Irish soil for a period of hours. Why so short, I hear you ask? Because he actually has a job to get back to!
If our binning of the last Government has shown anything, it’s that Ireland has finally grown tired of useless figureheads which don’t actually do anything. In this regard, why splurge cash we don’t have on England’s equivalent, who recently had the gall to spend taxpayers’ money on the wedding of her grandson, at a time when England continues to deal with its own recession? On the same weekend as the she was happily spending other people’s money with reckless abandon, Barack Obama, our second VIP of the month, was ridding the world of one of its worse terrorists, and helping us all to sleep better at night.
It should, of course, be remembered that whatever the outlay for protecting these foreign dignitaries is, a healthy 5.8% should be added to the bill when we are to consider the real cost to us, the Irish taxpayer, as we are blowing the IMF’s money and not our own, which we are paying top dollar for. Having had to go crawling to the EU/IMF with our begging bowl few will argue that it could be put to better use than on protecting the ageing dinosaur that is the British monarchy.
While a clearly delusional Enda Kenny continues to tell anyone with ears that Ireland is open for business, the working classes continue to suffer. Having recently spotted a bunch of Gardaí hovering over a drain in the city centre, my initial thought was that they had finally been reduced to supplementing their much depleted incomes by searching for loose change. Instead, they were busy spending the majority of their annual budget on sealing manhole covers in preparation for our impending visitors.
While it is only right that the US President is protected from those who wish to cause him harm, especially in the light of his triumphant victory over Osama bin Laden, the arrival of Mrs. Windsor does nothing but expose her and our fellow countrymen and women to an otherwise avoidable threat. The RIRA and their ilk, with the blood of PSNI innocent Ronan Kerr still dripping from their hands, will have no problem adding a few “Free Staters” to their list of casualties if it means getting their shot at their perceived enemy.
While the Queens visit may bolster tourism to Ireland from the UK, we should be aware of the fallout between England and Ireland, should something happen during her time here. The level of anti-English sentiment that still exists in Ireland would leave the Irish government facing an uphill battle in convincing the British that they hadn’t colluded with the paramilitaries in much the same way that many believe the British did in times past.
If I could sum up my feelings for her visit to Ireland, it would be “Queen there, done that, we have bigger fish to fry!”