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Something New May 17, 2011

Posted by gregquill in Uncategorized.
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Fark.com: Ireland prepares for its first-ever visit by a British monarch. Well, one that wasn’t riding at the head of an invading army anyway.

Yahoo News: Ireland: What Queen Elizabeth II’s First-Ever Visit Means

By PAMELA DUNCAN / DUBLIN – Mon May 16, 6:25 pm ET

In the coming weeks, Ireland will host two of the world’s most recognizable VIPs: Queen Elizabeth II and President Barack Obama. (Maybe that’s O’Bama…) And as the country gets ready, the taxi drivers of Dublin are seeing the careful – and sometimes inconvenient – preparations up close. “The police have been down every manhole in Dublin twice at this stage,” says one, describing the increase in security that includes the inspection of the city’s sewers for bombs.

Ireland is taking no chances with its high-profile guests: reports say that around 10,000 police officers and military personnel will be deployed over the course of the two visits. But it is the Queen’s arrival in Dublin on Tuesday that makes the Irish police force most nervous. Not everyone in Ireland is happy to see the Queen, whose four-day visit – the first ever by a British monarch to the Republic – has put into action the state’s biggest-ever security operation.

The reluctance of the Queen and her father King George VI before her to visit England’s closest neighbor stems from centuries of British occupation of Ireland. While the Republic of Ireland fought its way to independence with the founding of the Free State in 1922 and establishment of the Republic in 1937, Northern Ireland stayed under British rule. Sectarian tensions between Catholic republicans and Protestant unionists in the region grew, until they erupted into three decades of violence, during which over 3,600 people were killed.

The Troubles, as they are called, ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. But until recently, the historical unrest made a visit by the Queen to the Republic seem an impossibility. So the announcement last month of her visit was viewed by some as a sign of political maturity. But the symbolism of the visit has also stirred up deep resentment among some Irish.

On Easter Monday, a representative of the splinter sectarian group called the Real IRA appeared in a video statement wearing a balaclava and military clothing and referred to the visit as “the upcoming insult” and the government’s invite as unrepresentative of the wishes of the Irish people. “The Queen of England is wanted for war crimes in Ireland and not wanted on Irish soil,” he said. “We will do our best to ensure she and the gombeen [corrupt] class that act as her cheerleaders get that message.” The statement also included a threat to kill more Northern Irish police officers just weeks after the murder of Catholic police officer Ronan Kerr in Omagh.

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