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2011-05-20

In Historic Visit, Queen Elizabeth II Regrets Britain’s "Sad and Regrettable" Legacy in Ireland

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Queen Elizabeth II has become the first British monarch in a century to visit Ireland. In an address to the Irish nation on Wednesday, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II expressed regret at the troubled history of England’s relations with Ireland. We get reaction from retired Irish soldier and peacekeeper Col. Desmond Travers. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZALEZ: You mentioned your own Irish media. Obviously there’s been a lot of news lately that in an address to the Irish nation on Wednesday, that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth expressed regret at the troubled history of England’s relations with Ireland. We want to play a clip of that.

QUEEN ELIZABETH II: To all those who have suffered as a consequence of our troubled past, I extend my sincere thoughts and deep sympathy. With the benefit of historical hindsight, we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all. But it is also true that no one who looked to the future over the past centuries could have imagined the strength of the bonds that are now in place between the governments and people of our two nations.

AMY GOODMAN: Colonel Desmond Travers, you’re Irish. Talk about the significance of this trip. Some have called it the most significant trip in — well, no one has been there —- what, is this the first trip of -—

COL. DESMOND TRAVERS: In a hundred years.

AMY GOODMAN: — British royalty in a century?

COL. DESMOND TRAVERS: Yeah, and it’s the first trip by British royalty into the Republic of Ireland other than her son visiting some years ago. It’s a hugely important event for us in Ireland, and for the Irish and for Britain. There’s no doubt about it. In fact, the day prior to her address there, I’d just like to remind you that she came to our Garden of Remembrance, where the principal monument there is a monument to acknowledge the dead, the fallen Irish, who usually fell fighting Britain or seeking Irish independence. And I must say, many of them made life extremely unpleasant for the British administration.

AMY GOODMAN: We just have 20 seconds, I hate to tell you.

COL. DESMOND TRAVERS: Right. So, she presented — put a wreath at that monument, and she bowed. Monarchs don’t bow. And to bow towards your enemies is an extraordinarily magnanimous gesture, and is one that we should take cognizance of when we’re talking about conflicts elsewhere in the world, especially in the Middle East.

AMY GOODMAN: Colonel Desmond Travers, I want to thank you for being with us. One of the authors of the U.N. Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, the Goldstone Report. Also a retired Irish soldier and peacekeeper.

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