Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Ireland Tuesday. It was the first visit by a member of the British monarch in a century. Memories of a dark past came up Monday in London when Irish militants gave a bomb warning in Dublin. The army destroyed a the device on Tuesday. Alan Goodbody is an advertising hoarding fitter from London who spoke on the tension and his experience. “Obviously there have been some fraught years with Ireland and there is a history between the two countries. But you have to put the past to bed at some stage. I escaped an IRA [Irish Republican Army] bomb about 20 years ago in Victoria train station. It was in a litter bin and I missed it by about 10 minutes. Everybody was concerned back then because they were more active but now it’s only factions and breakaway groups that are a problem. There’s more of a threat from al-Qaeda,” he said. The IRA gave up its struggle after a blood-filled, campaign of 30 years for a united Ireland. Now splinter groups are increasingly active in the province. They are opposed to the Northern Ireland peace agreement in 1998.
Prime Minister David Cameron of the coalition government made a bilateral loan of more than 3 billion pounds to help bail out Ireland and its economy. He received praise last year by apologizing for British troops in 1972 killing 13 protesters who were unarmed on Northern Ireland’s Bloody Sunday. England and Ireland share a common language and culture. They also share a love of sports. Britain does more trade with its neighbor, Ireland than it does with Russia, China, Brazil and India all together. The feelings about the queen’s visit vary. Brian Collins from Porthmadog, North Wales said, “The Queen’s visit is a risk. There are lunatics out there that might have a crack at her.” On the other hand, Julian Eustace is a lawyer from near Bishop’s Stortford, north of London and he said, “The Queen’s visit is a very good thing. In the past, Ireland has conflicted with us but so have most of our other neighbors.”