President Michael D. Higgins has said that the late Queen Elizabeth will be remembered on this island for trying to mend what were at times “bitter” relations between Ireland and the UK.
Higgins said it was important that the divisive past between the two countries is not forgotten and that it “would be foolish to create amnesia about the past”.
In an interview on the Late Late Show, he said the Queen’s state visit in 2011 and further normalization of relations was a big moment in terms of “recognition of Irish independence”.
“Irish independence is why we are here. So the idea of someone standing in front of a memorial to those who fought for independence and separation from the Empire was a very meaningful statement. As is the Irish language statement,” said President Higgins.
Mr Higgins said the Queen was a woman of “sheer warmth” and had worked to improve relations between Dublin and London during her reign. “[She] had the idea that anything that was difficult to do had to be done in order to get ahead”.
He said the key lines of the Queen’s 2011 speech at Dublin Castle were “with the benefit of historical review we can see all the things we wished had been done differently or not at all”.
“It would be very foolish to feign amnesia about the past.
“We must make the best of the future, we must not miss opportunities in the present, but we are under no obligation to imagine false versions of each other or of our history.
“Suffice it to say it’s complex — it was bitter, vicious and horrific at times.
“There’s no point in faking anything. And empire led to domination and then dispossession and colonization of the ‘lesser ones,'” President Higgins said, adding that it was important not to “rehearse hate when there’s an opportunity to make another world out of it.”
The Queen’s hand in organizing many events during her seven-decade reign has been “exemplary” and President Higgins said she was keen to “recognize the contribution that the Irish are making by building roads or hospitals and medical services etc . afford in Great Britain”.
https://www.independent.ie/news/important-not-to-forget-bitter-past-but-queen-will-be-remembered-for-efforts-to-improve-british-and-irish-relations-president-higgins-41977750.html It’s important not to forget the ‘bitter’ past, but Queen will be remembered for her efforts to improve British and Irish relations – President Higgins