15 April 2011 2 Comments by The Northern Standard

By Veronica Corr

At Monday’s meeting of Carrickmacross Town Council, a row erupted when the recently co-opted Green Party Councillor Darcy Lonergan introduced a notice of motion, proposing that both Queen Elizabeth II and the American President Barack Obama receive commissions of Carrickmacross Lace on their forthcoming visits to Ireland.
Cllr. Lonergan felt that this could boost tourism to the town by promoting it to a wider audience, whilst also increasing sales of Carrickmacross Lace. However, she clearly stated at the outset that she did not want it to become a republican or colonial issue. Her party colleague Cllr. Kristina Jankaitiene seconded the motion.
Despite this, Sinn Fein Councillor Matt Carthy was quick to condemn what he described as a “silly motion”, asking how they might go about delivering the lace to the visiting dignitaries.
He wondered if she wanted the Mayor to go up and knock on the door of a function that President Obama was officiating at to deliver the aforementioned presentation.
Cllr. Carthy also commented: “The British Queen shouldn’t get anything for free, she’s got enough.” And as far as promotion of the town went, he said that if they had invited Sadam Hussein to the town before he died, that might have also attracted some attention to Carrickmacross.
He went on to say that the Queen honoured those who murdered innocent people, also alluding to what he described as the “disgraceful illegal acts” of Bloody Sunday.
The Sinn Fein representative added that the Queen believed she had: “A God-given right to rule” and that any powers she had lost, had to be taken from her.
He also said that she was the head of a sectarian organisation, as no Catholic could ever take her role. Despite this, it was those who opposed her visit that were referred to as being childish, he said, while she was being welcomed by the government and a compliant media.
Localising the debate, Cllr. Carthy said that ground rents were the single biggest issue in the town, adding that British landlords still retained their rights. Carrickmacross needed to get rid of the Shirley land rents, he said, adding the British Exchequer was still benefiting from rents on some government buildings here, which he slammed as being nothing short of disgraceful.
“Let’s develop a progressive relationship with our neighbours, by saying we’re not going to pay rent for lands they stole in the first place,” Cllr. Carthy said. British people were welcome here, but he felt that they perhaps suffered the most because of the British Royal Family, whom he described as “parasites”.
Fianna Fail Councillor Padraig McNally commented that he was somewhat amused by the reaction to what had started out as a simple motion. He accepted that emotions were running high and that people had diverse views, yet he felt that Cllr. Carthy had gone “over the top”.
He drew attention to the fact that Sinn Fein are working hand in hand with Unionists in the North, welcoming the progress made there. On one hand Cllr. Carthy’s party were working with Unionists, while on the other the Sinn Fein representative was describing the monarchy as parasites, Cllr. McNally observed.
In the Queen’s defence, Cllr. McNally described her inherited position as “an accident of birth”. He also observed that she doesn’t govern the 26 counties, but cautioned that Cllr Carthy’s comments contained dangerous language, as Ireland was still very dependent on the UK.
The British did not hold anything against the Irish, he said, adding that they had been one of the first countries to get involved in the bailout. Cllr. McNally also acknowledged British input into the peace process. He said that it reminded him of the visitor’s book controversy last year, adding that it was time to acknowledge the traditions of others and grow up. Cllr. McNally also felt that the Queen should be recognised as the leader of her State.


  • liz christy said:

    The way to approach this issue of presentation to visiting Heads of State and officials is through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Stephen’s Green. I applaud Cllr. Lonergan’s forward thinking on bringing tourism and revenue to Carrickmacross and County Monaghan.

  • Steve Latenne said:

    I think that this notion of Lonergans that giving out Carrickmacross lace will boost tourism in the area is a little far fetched. Waterford Crystal don’t get hordes of people travelling there to buy pieces do they?
    Export is the name of the game.
    Matt Carthy shows that he is very reactionary with his comments and Padrig McNally seems to have an extreme fondness for the british monarchy, for someone who is a Fianna Fail (the republican party!) member.
    These are three politicians that I feel bring absolutely nothing to the people of Monaghan (there ceratainly are lots of others too though).