Wednesday 17 January 2018

Mullaghmore will remind us of the joint path we are on towards healing

How sad it is our society has not yet rid itself of violent republicanism.

Days before the arrival of Prince Charles and wife Camilla we find ourselves reading headlines about the activities of paramilitaries that are depressingly familiar.

This violent expression of ideology was born of perceived necessity against successive British regimes that cared not one whit for the lives of their Irish 'subjects'. Freedom from the crown was won, but at a steep price: bloodshed, partition, Civil War and an ocean of enmnity.

It seems incredible how far we've come since the Good Friday Agreement drew some sort of a line under the years of killing that cost so many lives, of the innocent and of agents of the conflict.

The eventual decommissioning of arms by the Provisional IRA was an extraordinary moment in Irish history - not just the official end to the Troubles, but to generations of conflict stretching much further back into the darkened pages of our history.

Throughout it all this country of ours was held hostage to the identity of dispossession and misery the conflict naturally generated. That's why the Good Friday moment felt inordinately liberating, finally allowing the country to breathe again and remodel itself as a fully modern member of the European family of nations.

That apparently worked awhile, at least until our economy flew too close to the sun and crashed back down to earth. But while it prospered it certainly capitalised on the international goodwill earned in ending one of the world's most intractable tribal feuds.

The healing of the wounds was only possible with the normalisation of our relationship with our neighbours; a country with which we are inextricably linked through our trade with one another, but more than that, through the countless numbers who can call each country home as the result of migration in both directions.

The Queen's visit four years ago was another extraordinary moment in our shared history, as was President Michael D Higgins' 2014 State visit to the UK.

Queen Elizabeth's respectful visit to the Garden of Remembrance, her words of Irish and evident joy at the reception she was given moved the vast majority here.

It was a visit that also came as one of Ireland's greatest publicity coups, showing millions in the UK, US and elsewhere how far we have come.

Sadly, we have seen once again this week that there are those for whom the war against the Brits is not over; deluded, dangerous people hellbent on dragging Ireland back into a murderous era.

The Garda Síochána is to be commended for thwarting a Real IRA plot this week to denotate a bomb co-inciding with Prince Charles' visit. It's a plot that would have been utterly pathetic but for its potential for murder.

This country is long past the bloody events of Mullaghmore and we can but hope that when Prince Charles visists the scene of his beloved uncle's death he finds a personal peace both nations can share in towards continued healing.

Wexford People

Promoted Links