Monday, 20 September 2010 15:34
The chairman of the Fianna Fáil party on Mayo County Council has explained why he opposed a motion calling for an official invitation to be extended to Queen Elizabeth to visit the Mayo Peace Park during her proposed State visit to Ireland next year. Councillor Al McDonnell stated the British Army treated Irish soldiers with a total lack of respect during the two world wars and other conflicts.
He elaborated: "They were victimised. They were always the first pushed into the front line. The Irish were the first to be shot."
Councillor McDonnell revealed having 'serious reservations' over the standing of the Peace Park.
"It's a monument to the British. My suspicious were confirmed when they conferred an MBE on one of the park's founder members. The British saw the park as an endorsement of their colonial and military policies. I was saddened by the fact the MBE was accepted.
"It's an outrage that a plaque was only erected as an after-thought to all the solders who fought and did for Ireland."
The fact the two main parties on Mayo County Council did not unanimously support the motion is likely to be taken into account by the British Embassy in Dublin when considering the invitation.
One member of Fine Gael, Councillor Peter Flynn, voted against the motion tabled by his party colleague, Councillor Eugene McCormack, while two others, Councillor Seamus Weir and Councillor Patsy O'Brien, abstained.
Ballinrobe Fianna Fáil Councillor Damian Ryan joined with Councillor McDonnell in opposing the motion.
The other members who stated 'no' to the Queen's proposed visit were Councillor Gerry Ginty (Ind), Councillor Gerry Murray (SF), Councillor Rose Conway Wash (SF) and Councillor Michael Kilcoyne (Ind.).