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Irish bishop sees visit by Queen Elizabeth as a watershed

May 26, 2011

The visit by Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland last week demonstrated that the historic struggle between England and Ireland “was never primarily a religious or confessional conflict but one caused by the tensions between Britishness and Irishness,” according to one Irish Catholic prelate.

Bishop Donal McKeown, an auxiliary of the Diocese of Down and Connor, said that the Queen’s visit highlighted a desire for peace between the two countries. “This was not two states trying to circumvent the results of religious fanaticism,” he said. “It was two peoples accepting how their enmity and coldness had cost so much blood.”

Bishop McKeown said that Queen Elizabeth and Irish President Mary McAleese demonstrated a desire “to bow to the past, but not be bound by it.” He added: “The pain has to be acknowledged but the past cannot be undone.”


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  • Posted by: djpeterson - May. 27, 2011 11:14 AM ET USA

    Bishop McKeown deserves all due respect, however his statement could qualify for the "Hilary Clinton" Political Correctness Award for 2011. He ignores the fact that the violence was primarily the result of hundreds of years of the British Government's violent oppression and colonialism perpetrated against the Irish people, their culture and religion. The 19th century famine was close to ethnic cleansing. Peace is welcome but not at the expense of telling the truth. David J Peterson