Statement from eirigi, an Irish republican socialist organisation

Preparing the Ground

There has been much political and media speculation in recent years about the possibility of a state visit to the Twenty-Six Counties by the British head of state, Elizabeth Windsor. This speculation has formed part of an elaborate ‘softening-up’ exercise designed to prepare the ground for the first such visit by a British head of state since the foundation of the Twenty-Six County state in 1921.

In 2007, the then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern stated that such a visit was “inevitable”. In the same year Twenty-Six County President Mary McAleese said that the circumstances for such a visit “are probably now getting to the point where they are as close to right as they have ever been”.

In June 2010 Taoiseach Brian Cowen finally revealed the worst kept political secret of recent years – that his government would invite Elizabeth Windsor on a state visit, most likely in the summer of 2011.

A Victory for Normalisation

While visits by members of the British royal family to the occupied Six Counties are, unfortunately, all too common, the prospect of a full state visit by Elizabeth Windsor to the Twenty-Six Counties represents a major challenge to progressive opinion in Ireland. A ‘successful’ visit by Elizabeth Windsor would represent a major victory for the decades old policy of ‘normalisation’ of the British occupation.

An Elizabeth Windsor visit to the Twenty-Six Counties will be portrayed by Britain’s apologists as final confirmation that the people of Ireland have ‘matured’, and ‘come to terms’ with their historical sense of ‘inferiority’ with regard to Britain.

This type of political waffle on the part of the establishment in Ireland and Britain is integral to the creation of an atmosphere where it becomes possible to create and maintain the illusion that the cause of conflict in Ireland no longer exists. Issues like British imperialism, Irish national self-determination, independence and sovereignty are thus deemed no longer relevant.

In this regard, political life in 21st century Ireland gives renewed veracity to James Connolly’s maxim that, “ruling by fooling is a great British art with great Irish fools to practice on.”

The simple fact is that, were a state visit to go ahead, Elizabeth Windsor would be coming to the Twenty-Six Counties as the head of a British state – including its armed forces – which continues to illegally occupy the Six Counties. Such a visit would represent, in a way that only displays of royal pomp can, the victory of modernised 21st century British imperialism over Irish democracy.

A state visit to the Twenty-Six Counties by Elizabeth Windsor would not be conducted on the basis of equality and respect for the independence and sovereignty of the host country, as would be the norm for such visits. Instead, such a visit would constitute the final acceptance by the Twenty-Six County establishment of the permanence of partition and British rule in Ireland. It would represent the ultimate act of tipping the cap to the old colonial master.

When the Dublin government does invite Windsor, it will no doubt be welcomed by the great and the good in the media, the political establishment and the churches. It will then fall to the people of Ireland themselves to reject both the visit and the political philosophy behind it.

We Stand With Connolly – In Defiance and Protest

In 1911, when the then British head of state, George V, proposed a visit to Dublin, James Connolly’s Socialist Party produced a leaflet, setting out the reasons why democrats, republicans and socialists should be implacably opposed to any such visit. 100 years later, have the reasons for implacable opposition to British royalty on the part of Irish democrats changed?

For as long as Britain continues to occupy the Six Counties éirígí will remain totally opposed to all visits by the British royalty to any part of Ireland. Whether such visits are private or official is irrelevant as both serve to normalise that which is entirely abnormal – the illegal occupation of a part of Ireland’s national territory by the British state.

From its foundation éirígí has been to the fore in opposing British royal visits to Ireland. Hundreds of people have attended éirígí protests in various parts of the country. The largest of these protests coincided with separate visits by Anne and Elizabeth Windsor to Dublin and Armagh cities respectively.

Over the coming months éirígí intends to dramatically escalate its campaign of opposition to British royal visits in general and to a visit by Elizabeth Windsor to the Twenty Six Counties in particular. If you are interested in helping éirígí with that campaign please email