Tommy McKearney: This comes too soon for the disenchanted

Dissident view
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The Independent Online

Why now? Why bother? Why not wait a while? This is all a little bit hasty.

There is a broad consensus in republican society, in both Northern Ireland and the Republic, that we're moving in the right direction, but there's a disenchanted section, who are taking longer to convince, for whom the process will take time.

In Britain the monarchy might be seen as purely ceremonial and symbolic, but many members of the royal family are the heads of regiments of the British Army in Ireland.

The Queen may be a nice elderly lady, but for a lot of republicans, when they went to court, it was the Queen's name on their charge sheet. Maybe it would have been wiser to wait for a new monarch.

There was no great demand for a royal visit, either in Ireland or Britain. Although people in the Republic will welcome Her Majesty, enjoy it and then move on, they haven't been through what the north has been through in the last 40 or 50 years. The possible benefits of a royal visit are far outweighed by the damage it might do. It could unnerve the community. Sinn Fein have criticised the visit, saying it destabilises their efforts. Those people who feel that things are not improving, whose wounds haven't heeled, it makes them feel their concerns and upset is being ignored.

Most of us want to move on. But I would rather not see her. The ill feeling will outlast the feelgood factor.

The writer, 58, is a former IRA member, now a community worker and trade union organiser, from Lurgan, Northern Ireland. Three of his brothers were killed during the Troubles. He served 16 years in prison for the murder of Ulster Defence Regiment soldier Stanley Adams