Friday, February 23, 2007

Apropos of that

I understand the sensitivity of playing God Save the Queen at Croke Park - sporting home of Irish Republicanism - but I think this is overblown frankly.

Every patriotic Irishman should feel shamed by the playing of God Save the Queen when England meet Ireland in the Six Nations Championship at Croke Park in Dublin tomorrow, the son of an Irish sporting icon has said.

Mr Barrett, 63, said: “It will be one of the saddest days of my life. God Save the Queen is offensive and insulting and for it to be played in Croke Park is disrespectful to the people who died there in 1920. My father would have been appalled.”

Given that the whole point of, for example, the Scottish rugby anthem is the defeat of the English, and that the Marseillaise, one of the greatest anthems in the world, talks of watering the soil of France with the blood of the unrighteous, the sentiments of God Save the Queen seem remarkably bland. Certainly not enough to get worked up over.

The attack followed the murders of 12 British spies that morning by Michael Collins’s IRA, described by The Times as “the most cruel and desperate of all outbreaks by the Republican murder gang”.

A tendentious description that. Given that Ireland was still an integral part of the British Empire at that point, it seems peculiar to talk about British agents, covert or overt, as spies.

One writer to the Irish Times hoped that the score would be free of political connotations. “Some people are saying it would be appropriate if we beat England 19-16 at Croke Park,” wrote Declan O’Keeffe. Let’s hope they don’t beat us 19-20.”

I'll settle for 42-6 - the same as 2003.

UPDATE: Hmmm... Almost, but I actually meant the other way round.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd have said Ireland was part of the United Kingdom rather than the British Empire, which only goes to re-inforce your point.

When I saw the story about this on ITV news this evening I wondered why, if it's that much of a big deal, they don't just play the game in Belfast.

11:37 pm  

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