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We must ensure 1916 celebrations don’t stir anti-English sentiment

I have to write this letter to voice my concerns about the 1916 celebrations centenary. I am extremely anxious that there may be anti-English sentiments in TV programmes, etc that might influence impressionable young people.

It is absolutely essential that this not be the case. We have come such a long way since the horrible days of 1970s and the 1980s when there was a lot of anti-Irish feeling in England and anti- English feeling here.

I had personal experience of living in London for a short while, and being nervous of my accent in a city that I love.

The most important thing is that we preserve the hugely successful visit to Ireland made by Queen Elizabeth in 2011.

It was wonderful that she paid a visit to the garden of remembrance and then of course, that very special moment when she spoke in Irish at Dublin Castle. Her monumental visit was a major step forward as it was when President Michael D Higgins was entertained by the Queen in Windsor with Irish flags lining the streets of that royal town.

These two events hold huge significance for our childrens’ future. They cannot, in any way, be damaged by once again arousing anti-English sentiments here when talking about and reenacting the events of 1916. Our future relations with England are far more important than glorifying the events of 100 years ago, it’s simply not worth it.

Mary Riordan-Feeney,

The Ridgeway,

Model Farm Road,

Cork.


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