Monday, May 16, 2011

Queen Elizabeth's Visit to Ireland: The Father Noel Furlong Connection

Is anybody else wondering just which tourists the nation hopes to attract as a result of the visit of the Queen of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to this slice of a country this week?

At a guess, people who enjoy visiting cities with deserted streets and heavy police presences will flock to Erin’s green shore as a result of this visit. We've read of rings of steel all week, and there were so many Gardaí in high-vis jackets strolling in pairs around Dublin on Saturday evening that one couldn’t help but wonder if there were that many members of Dublin Metropolitan Police on the trails of Dan Breen and Michael Collins back in the day.

As well as a tourism opportunity for those with taste for cities where cops outnumber people, the other purpose of Elizabeth’s visit was to show that we, the Irish nation, have “moved on.” Well, the ring of steel security has fairly knocked that one on the head.

It’s an extraordinary visit where we, the nation, are not allowed to meet our visitor, and anybody who does meet her will be carefully vetted first. If we had “moved on,” we wouldn’t have to lock down the streets of the capital city for the visit of a little old lady.

The streets of that same capital will be thronged the week after for Barack Obama, and not even the “Irish” Anti-“War” Movement are kicking up about that. People will fly American flags in a way that you cannot imagine them flying Union Jacks, or being let fly them.

That contrasts shows exactly how much we’ve moved on. We haven’t moved on at all, and just because people wish it doesn’t make it so. The world isn’t like that.

So who thought a visit from the British Monarch would be a good idea? An Spailpín wonders if the people who talked about “moving on” were just using it as an excuse, and if Elizabeth’s visit isn’t just Castle Catholics – who haven’t gone away you know – finally getting their wish to turn the clock back to before the Solohead Beg ambush in 1919.

People are certainly entitled to aspire to being ruled by a British monarch again, as in the dear old days, and God knows they’ve been out in numbers lately. But what An Spailpín doesn’t think people are entitled to do is put the city on high alert at a cost of many millions to prove something – our having “moved on” – that patently isn’t so.

We haven’t moved on. Not because of any fault on Elizabeth’s part. Elizabeth has been one of her countries greatest ever sovereigns by any measurement, but because of ourselves, because we’ve made such a shocking balls of running the country without help from Westminster. Everything that’s wrong here is our own damned fault.

An Spailpín hopes nothing bad happens the Queen on her visit here. Anybody who picks on an eighty-five year old woman has something the matter with them. An Spailpín also hopes that nobody gets shot in the North in order for as foul a pack of traitors as Ireland has been cursed with (and we’ve had some doozies down the years) to make headlines for their own fully evil and utterly traitorous purposes.

But chiefly, above all, An Spailpín feels deeply sorry for the ordinary people of Ireland, who are getting another kick in the head from their ruling elite. On Saturday, driving through the town and looking at the security in place to enable an occasion for which citizens didn’t ask, have no interest in, will be inconvenienced by and will then be stiffed with the bill, it struck me that the perfect metaphor for where we are now was in an episode of Father Ted called “Hell.”

The Irish nation is the youth group trapped in a horrible little caravan in a horrible little caravan park. All we want is for the suffering to end but we can’t say so because we don’t know how to escape.

The elite who govern us, the muppets who think we’ve moved on and people shouldn’t be negative when they’re hunched over from debt and worry and too much Morgan Kelly, are represented by Father Noel Furlong, the worst kind of trendy priest, dancing jigs and telling us how happy we are, are you happy, isn’t this great, isn’t this wonderful, aren’t we all having such fun? And outside, the rain continues to pour relentlessly down.

God save the Queen? Let God save Ireland first. The Queen, with the greatest respect to her, can paddle her own canoe.