‘Queens’s death reminder to nurture UK-Ireland ties’

Queen Elizabeth’s death is a reminder to the UK and Ireland that they need to “proactively nurture the relationship”, the Taoiseach (Irish PM) told the BBC.

Micheál Martin noted the monarch’s trip to Ireland in 2011 was a “watershed moment” for relations between the two.

It was the first trip by a British sovereign to the independent state and saw the Queen greeted by large crowds.

It was a diplomatic success, and left the Irish with a “fondness” for the Queen, Mr Martin said.

Her passing, he added, had left him with a sense of “deep sadness” – but also with hope for the future relationship between the UK and Ireland, which has come under strain amid the British government’s plan to scrap parts of the post-Brexit trade deal it agreed with the European Union (EU).

“I would like to think that the visit of Queen Elizabeth II first of all to Ireland, her passing would give us all time for reflection, and will remind us of the need to proactively nurture the relationship between Britain and Ireland to enhance it in the time ahead,” the Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) said during an interview with the BBC’s Fergal Keane.

“And that this moment gives us that opportunity for reflection and for resetting, in a good way, that relationship.”

The sight of the Irish flag at half-mast above City Hall spoke to the genuine affection of Cork people for Queen Elizabeth. Inside a book of condolence was filled with messages praising the Queen as a “healer” and “peacemaker”.

One hundred years ago Cork was at the centre of the insurgency which pitted guerrillas of the Irish Republican Army against the forces of the British Crown. Following an IRA ambush in 1920, parts of the city – including the original City Hall – were destroyed by police and soldiers.

Two Lord Mayors who died in the conflict are commemorated by statues outside City Hall. One was assassinated by undercover police. His successor died on hunger strike in a British jail.

Yet by the time she arrived in Cork in 2011 it seemed sure that largescale political violence had ended on the island of Ireland.  -BBC

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