Although the Republic of Ireland Act which ended all remaining constitutional roles of the British monarchy in relation to this state was signed into law in 1948, there are still many reminders of colonial rule in our everyday life. Probably foremost of these is the issue of Irish institutions which still retain the ‘royal’ prefix in their titles more than 90 years after independence. One possibility is that some of us are still suffering from a potent inferiority complex or perhaps we are afflicted with the Stockholm Syndrome.  Either way, despite being an anti-monarchist, I have a sneaking respect for these organisations with “royal” prefixes like the Royal College of Surgeons, the Royal Academy and the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital, and recognise the valuable contribution they make to Irish national life, particularly the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The fact that they have a “royal” prefix is merely a residue of our colonial past and has no political significance. I do however make one exception to Ireland’s royal patronage. I refer to the decision taken by members of the Curragh Golf Club at their annual general meeting in 2013 to restore the ‘royal’ prefix to their title. Records show that the club was granted the title ‘Royal’ in September 1910 by King George V. The ‘Royal’ Curragh golf course, a plain of over 4,700 acres vested in the Minister for Defence, is adjacent to the military barracks and the Captaincy of the club has been shared bi-annually between civilian and Irish military members since 1922. The self-conferring of this ‘royal’ title is an attack on the republican and egalitarian ethos of this state and the fact that the Irish Defence Forces were party to the re-introduction of this royal prefix undermines their republican ethos.

There are, however, other aspects of Irish life, such as the supine position adopted by the Irish state in the matter of titles and honours being awarded to Irish citizens by the British monarch as if they were her own British subjects. I see this as an issue of fundamental political principle and of far more significance than outdated, irrelevant “royal” prefixes. The Irish Republic is a sovereign state that has repudiated monarchy and therefore the awarding of imperial titles on its citizens is repugnant to our Constitution. To allow this situation to continue amounts to no less than a surrender of sovereign control over State ceremonial to our former colonial masters. Not only is this practice an infringement on Irish sovereignty, but also an attack on the republican and egalitarian ethos of Bunreacht Na hÉireann. The awarding of these ‘titles of nobility’ must be seen as part of the cultural re-incorporation of this state into the British sphere of influence and one must question the motives of those who accept such archaic badges of post-colonial subservience. This is an open display of contempt for the sovereignty of of the Irish state. By accepting these awards and titles from Queen Elizabeth, the recipients become, objectively speaking, part of the British establishment. Inexplicably, successive Irish governments have remained silent on this issue throughout.

This is not a case of petty, mean-spirited anti-British rhetoric, it is an issue of fundamental political principle. My views on these awards are no different to those of Canada, a country that has been a most loyal member of the Commonwealth. Because Canada is not a republic, Queen Elizabeth II is head of state. Nevertheless, when it comes to matters of citizenship and sovereignty, Canada takes a very firm line. Despite the British ancestry of most of Canada’s population, no Canadian may accept a British knighthood or peerage unless he/she first renounces their Canadian citizenship. Conrad Black, the billionaire newspaper mogul, prior to being sent down, was forced to consider renouncing his Canadian citizenship in order to accept a peerage and take a seat in the British House of Lords. The then Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien accused the British government of insulting Canada, stating such titles were “not compatible with the ideals of democracy as have been developed in Canada”. It is my view that the Irish state should adopt the same policy as Canada in this matter and any Irish citizen who accepts these archaic badges of post-colonial subservience should be denied the privilege of Irish citizenship and be obliged to surrender their Irish passport.



  1. Antaine de Brún September 29, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    Polls apart

    Much was made of a recent survey concerning Irish unity based on the views of 1000 respondents, who now appear to represent the views of the majority of people in Ireland. Less attention was paid to the fact that support for the Royal Family in Canada is fading with calls for the royals to acknowledge the harms done by the colonial system to indigenous populations in Canada. Many English people during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were just as aghast at colonial policies. In 1913, Dublin was awash with colonial subservience as well as some of the worst slums in Europe. London, Glasgow and Edinburgh had its fair share of slums also.

    Poverty, unemployment, homelessness and industrial unrest are now now facts of life in Ireland. Strike action is being considered by An Garda Síochána. Acht na Gaeilge was agreed at the St Andrew’s negotiations, yet some MLA’s have nothing better to do than change the name of the Banrion Uladh, a fisheries protection vessel. It would appear that we are turning clocks back a little earlier this year, and perhaps not just by one hour.

  2. Perkin Warbeck September 29, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    On his radio rodeo show this morning Ryan Tubridy had as guest an English journalist who has written about the hugely notorious homicide case of Perugia in 2007.

    This was the case in which American student Amanda ‘Foxy’ Knox was charged, convicted and subsequently acquitted of the murder of her flatmate, Meredith Kercher from the UK.

    Nick Pisa (!) who was based in Rome for the Sun at the time, explained how the legal system is different in Italia.

    To which observation came this measured response from the RTE rotary club type who started microphone life as Gay Byrne’s sub. And who, although his nickname is Tubs actually leans towards the lank, the lean and the long of frame.

    -I’d rather our way of doing things that their way in terms of fairness in a trial., wouldn’t you?


    Nick Pisa then patiently went on to mention that the Italian legal system follows the Napoleonic model.

    By ‘our’ way Ryan Tubridy was clearly employing the Royal prerogative, m’lud.

    Hardly surprising, in a week when the first history of the Supreme Court of the Free Southern Stateen was published. Turns out that august body’s first declaration of independence was to proceed with the norm, where dress and address were involved.

    As it would clearly have been bad form in extremis to ditch the horse-hair wigs, the ermine, and the endless scope for the grovel before the gavel in that deathless form of address:

    -My Lord.

    And so, the tradition of the cricketers on the ditch was seamlessly maintained.

    No truck here for sure, chums, with your fecking Brehon Laws and your effin ‘A Bhreithimh’ malarkey.

    Ryan Turbidy, incidentally, is the same Broadcasing Behemoth of RTE royalty who modestly admits to feeling ‘not particularly guilty about his annual salary of half a million squids’.

    Or, maybe, that ought to read RRTE ?

  3. Jim Neeson September 29, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

    Surrendering their passports what a brillint idea.

  4. Beachguy September 29, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

    West Brit Redmonites. Castle Catholics.

  5. Donal Kennedy September 29, 2016 at 7:29 pm #


    When the Articles of Agreement were signed in London in 1921 the Irish signatories held out
    for the same status as Canada.

    The Irish Constitution enacted by the electorate in 1937 was an advance on those Articles and that status.

    The 1948 Act severed all residual royal links.

    The reversion to “Royal Curragh Golf Club” is perverse and perverted and, in my opinion

  6. Jack Britton September 29, 2016 at 9:23 pm #

    The horrors of such “noble patronage’ seems to engender in Irish recipients an overbloated ego and the arrogance of the gombeen man.
    These ‘Sir Paddy’s’ have neither respect or loyalty to the Irish Republic and at best being charitable, should be considered an embarrassment.

  7. Freddie mallins September 29, 2016 at 10:35 pm #

    Tom, I agree with you entirely. However I am amazed to discover that Canada adopts this stance towards the honours of Empire (it has the largest Orange order in the world outside Norneverland ) and the good people of that vast country have risen immeasurably in my estimation. Thank you. Fred

  8. Beachguy September 29, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

    In America people with Irish sounding last names were denied membership in old waspy golf and country clubs . So when they made lots of money on Wall St and such they formed their own clubs and immediately aped everything that the blue bloods down the road were doing in their club, you know the one that denied them admission.

    Jackets were mandatory in certain areas. Preppy clothes were the rage. ( Not something that their relatives wore in the Bronx) . Women adopted nicknames like muffin.

    And blacks, Jews, Italians and other such undesirables were excluded just like these people had been.

    Trips to Ireland consisted of playing 36 holes a day or piling onto a bus to do a pub crawl adorned in one of those caps made of left over fabrics.

    These people still exist and know as much about the situation in Ireland as the average person does about quantum physics.

    Any mention of the troubles results in raised eyebrows and a disclaimer that ” politics ” is not to be discussed.

    Most local Irish American radio or TV programs likewise steer clear of “politics” and instead focus on poetry readings, fiddledeedee music , recipes for soda bread and an Interview of a “celebrity ” from some bog far off in the west.

    So not much of this is new.

    Is it true that Ruth Deadly Edwards was the main speaker at the gala celebrating Betty Windsors last birthday?

  9. giordanobruno September 30, 2016 at 7:00 am #

    In the matter of British awards being awarded to Irish citizens I don’t see what business that is of the state’s.
    If individuals want to accept recognition from a neighbouring state it hardly damages the fabric of society.
    Calm down.

  10. Kieran Maxwell September 30, 2016 at 9:35 am #

    Just thinking out loud here, but isn’t the advocacy of a Monarchy a legitimate political position, just as republicanism is? Surely we must understand that in any society there will be people who will have opinions differing from our own? I would hazard a guess that the number of Monarchists in the 26 counties is extremely low. Surely it’s their right in a democratic society to argue their case, and to acknowledge in their own way any aspects of Royal-ism that pleases them?

    Thinking down the line a little, if/when there is a United Ireland, i’d suspect the number of Monarchists would increase in this new republic given the amount of unionists in the 6 counties who broadly speaking are Monarchists. Will their right to British citizenship and honors be denied them and scorned upon?

    Instead of getting upset about the acceptance of royal gongs by Irish citizens in the ‘South’, rather I think republicans should argue the case for why a republic is better than a A constitutional monarchy, and try to convince them the merits of the same.

    I think this article is a little shortsighted given the possible future of UI and accommodating Unionists in a future republic.

    • Jude Collins September 30, 2016 at 10:34 am #

      Fair points, Kieran. But monarchy = ruler roulette. You take whatever comes out after the lever, so to say, has been pulled…

      • Kieran Maxwell September 30, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

        Wholeheartedly agree Jude! And while thats a self evident fact, it oddly doesn’t seem to bother them. (Advocates of a constitutional monarchy that is.) Maybe that’s part of the attraction eh? Who knows. Anyway seems strange to me.

        That said you can end up with some less than satisfactory elected heads of state too. Our current President D. Higgins? Pres George bush? Maybe even Pres Trump come Nov! (Granted though, they’re not there for life.)

      • giordanobruno September 30, 2016 at 8:34 pm #

        I am not a monarchist and they mean nothing to me, but calling them anybodys rulers these days is a bit of a stretch.
        Yes I know there is some talk of influence over policy but that is a long way from being able to throw us in the dungeons for not walking out backwards.
        They are figureheads on show for us to gawp at. Sin é.