I wrote yesterday that I was mulling over the idea of blogging about the visit to Ireland by the Queen of England last week and the president of America this week. I’ve decided to write something shor t on the topic.
In relation to the queen’s visit, my point really boils down to two simple questions. Firstly, if it really was “the right time” for the queen to visit then would they have needed so much security for her? A conservative estimate puts the bill for her security at over thirty million Euro. I’m not using that as a complaint for the money we’ve spent. The fact that our country is broke is completely beside the point. The issue is that if the country was truly ready for this visit they wouldn’t have required as many precautions.
My second question is more about how the media handled things. Aren’t they meant to be impartial? Our national broadcaster RTE have seemed to be very one sided throughout the entire visit. A party that I know very little about, Éirígí, were particularly blamed for violent outbreaks. I can’t say with full certainty however the defence of the Éirígíparty by people who are not even members is quite adamant that the media coverage the party has received over the past year has been unbalanced, unfair and unjust. Again, I know nothing of this particular party however judging by the lack of equal and balanced coverage demonstrated in my view by RTE this is an entirely possible allegation.
In my own view, I don’t feel it was right for a figure such as the queen to honour Irish dead while England still occupy six of the thirty two counties of Ireland. I personally believe it is hypocritical and disrespectful.
While I’m on the topic of the queen’s visit, I would like to commend the Irish president for her fantastic speech last week in Dublin castle. Unlike the queen who skirted around the topic of her countries occupation of Ireland the president tackled it head on but remained respectful.
Finally, I will finish my thoughts about the queen’s visit with one more observation. Every half an hour last week the media pushed one more nugget of symbolism down our throats. Again, if the country truly welcomed the queen and were ready for this alleged new chapter in our history would it have been necessary to force feed us this regular serving?
Now, onto the Obama visit. Unlike the queen’s visit, I was actually quite happy to welcome the president of the United States to this country. There are millions of Irish people in America and I think it’s very important to continue that relationship. Bringing it back to the economy, tourism and our public image I think Obama did a fantastic job on Monday as well. I don’t think we could have bought that level of good will, positivity and generosity. I also think thatEnda’s speech introducing Obama was actually very good. Yes, it was copied directly from Obama’s victory speech in 2008 when he got elected as US president and yes, I think his speech writers got caught with their pants around their ankles but regardless, he did well considering the massive crowd he was speaking too and it was probably the best thing he could have done considering the time and place. I’ve also listened to Obama’s speech a few times. It’s been argued by a number of people in the media that it was dull, boring and is simply a rehash of speeches he’s made before. In fact, people have said he’d make a better motivational speaker than president. In my opinion, I think he did a reasonably good job. I think he did what he came to do. He kept the crowd going and he gave a lift to the people who needed it.
Enda kenny’s speech introducing the president of the united states in College green, Dublin on Monday the 23rd of May 2011.
President Barack Obama’s speech.
A speech in Dublin castle by Mary McAleese President of Ireland introducing the queen of England on Wednesday the 18th of May 2011.
The queen of englands speech in Dublin castle.