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Thurles Not Included In Queen Elizabeth’s Itinerary

Ireland has been lucky, nay totally blessed, by its last two choices for the post of ‘President of Ireland.’

It was Mary Robinson who broke the mould into which British-Irish relations had settled so bitterly and deeply, when, as the first Irish head of State, she visited her British counterpart, way back in May 1993. She was to break possibly an even more significant pattern some weeks later during that year, when, on a visit to Belfast, she shook hands with then Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, who now has moved South and been elected to Dail Eireann.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Our current President Mary McAleese, thankfully, continued along this barely worn pathway, first walked by Mary Robinson, to continue this contact with Buckingham Palace, developing this new friendly personal relationship, as part of her stated agenda to “build bridges between the two islands and among the communities of Ireland.

The ‘Trojan’ work of these two great leaders appears to have gone unnoticed however by our North Tipperary’s elected ‘Heads of State’ and other ‘Dignitaries’ charged with the development and tourism marketing of the of our town and county.

Thurles Town, Queen Elizabeth’s ancestral home, thus far, has not been included in the Queen’s up and coming May itinerary, despite the fact that the Rock of Cashel some 15 odd miles down the road, which has little comparative historical associations, is now assured inclusion.

Thurles business people and our increasing numbers of unemployed, please, please, please click here and then weep. This is the type of ‘Gombeenism ‘ what has made our town, county and country the present laughing stock of the world. But lets blame no one except ourselves, we voted them into office and continue to pay these ‘comedians ‘ their salaries and pensions.

However, of course, Cashel Town Council sent out their ‘Invitation’ in early March, unlike Thurles who are presently ‘spell checking ‘ their letter. Still we live in hope and should Her Majesty be flown in by helicopter, the giant craters, referred to affectionately by locals as ‘pot holes,’ and now increasingly evident in Liberty Square, should go reasonably unnoticed.

There appear to be no ‘Comedians ‘ sitting on Cashel town council, rather instead, members like Deputy Mayor Maribel Wood, who feel they owe some responsibility to the views expressed by local business people, by the unemployed and by their electorate. They recognise the need to attract a little of the massive spotlight that such a visit to their town will receive, as the worlds press gathers to observe our behavour. Now, with the eyes of the world firmly following this beam of light, they can be assured that some future customers will get a look at their well laid out market stall. It is their hope that this visit will now stand them in good stead in the quickly emerging dark years ahead, looming increasingly large on all our horizons. Thurles can now only hope to once again “eat of the crumbs which fall from the masters table,” in relation to future tourism traffic.

Queen Elizabeth II has announced that she is to visit Croke Park and Cork when she comes to Ireland next month.

Yesterday evening, a joint statement was issued by Áras an Uachtaráin and Buckingham Palace, outlining details of her four-day visit, which will begin on Tuesday 17 May. The programme will include a formal welcome from President Mary McAleese, a ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance, a courtesy call on Taoiseach Enda Kenny and a State dinner in Dublin Castle.

There will also be events at Trinity College Dublin, the National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, the Guinness Storehouse and Croke Park. The Queen and her husband Prince Philip will also visit the Irish National Stud in Kildare, as well as the Rock of Cashel and Cork.

According to the statement, the itinerary is ‘a wide-ranging and exciting celebration of the close ties between our two countries. This is a historic visit that also celebrates our close modern partnership.’

One of the symbolic highlights of the Queen’s visit will be a tour of Croke Park, where in November 1920 British troops shot dead 14 people including Michael Hogan, Tipperary GAA Gaelic footballer and one-time Captain of the Tipperary team. Michael Hogan was a member of the Irish Volunteers and was born in the Grangemockler area of Co. Tipperary. These killings were in retaliation for the killing earlier of 13 people and the wounding of 6 others by the IRA. Four of the British casualties were military intelligence officers and another four were known members of the Secret Service. The assassinations were planned by Michael Collins then head of the secretive Irish Republican Brotherhood and IRA Chief of Intelligence.

For the majority of  Irish people now living, this war is long over and while we remember our fallen heroes like Collins, with gratitude, thankfully Her Majesty the Queen will sit and watch an exhibition of hurling and football, played by schoolchildren at our valued GAA Headquarters. A Croke Park spokesman said the GAA was confident that the Croke Park visit ‘will be welcomed by those who play, administer and support our games, at home and abroad.’

Thank God some of us have moved upwards and onwards.

For security reasons, no particular days and times have been assigned to the events to be attended by the Queen and these will be now announced closer to her visit.

Tell me this, is it true that Thurles is twinned with the English town of Bollington or am I hallucinating again?

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