Obama and the Queen could visit
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA and Queen Elizabeth could be paying a trip to the Garden County this May if they accept an invitation from Wicklow County Council.
Cllr. Pat Casey said the visit of Queen Elizabeth is ‘an opportunity that Wicklow shouldn’t miss. I think it’s a historic occasion and it is the accumulation of a lot of positive events over the years. It would be of great economic benefit to the county in terms of tourism.’
He said Queen Elizabeth’s great grandfather had visited Glendalough on August 5, 1871. Cllr. Sylvester Bourke agreed saying it was ‘ one of the best ideas to come out of the county in a long time’.
Cllr. George Jones said the council should also invite President Barack Obama saying he felt ‘ the most appropriate location for a visit is Glendalough. It is the most visited site in the county’.
He said the visit of Queen Elizabeth ‘is a testament to the work that President Mary McAleese has done’. Cllr. Jimmy O’Shaughnessy said while some people might not agree with the Queen’s visit he said it would be great for the county from a tourist perspective.
Cllr. Pat Vance said Ireland had close ties with both Britain and America and said both should be given a great welcome to Ireland.
Sinn Fein was the voice of dissent however as Cllr. John Brady said ‘I’m sorry to rain on everyone’s parade. He said ‘Elizabeth Winsor is still the commander in chief of the British Armed Forced who are still in occupation of part of my country. He said ‘ as an Irish Republican and a member of the Republican party’ he was opposed to the visit.
Cllr. Grainne McLoughlin said if the Queen were to visit Wicklow it is important that the graffiti at the Glen of the Downs saying ‘she is not welcome’ is removed. .
The motion to invite Queen Elizabeth to Wicklow was amended to include extending an invitation to President Obama Cllrs. Brady, Snell and Kelly voted against it however 15 councillors voted in favour of it.