Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has criticised Michelle O’Neill on her planned trip to the British King’s coronation in London.
“It is expected that the British Parliament will pass the Legacy Bill in May. This Bill will give British Military personnel an amnesty for the murder of people here in Ireland. This is a horrendous Bill that contravenes all the core tenants of democracy and justice. It is the son and heir of the British Government’s policy of murder, collusion and cover up in the north of Ireland over the last 50 years. It will be signed into law by the British King Charles in May”.
“King Charles was the head of the Parachute Regiment who murdered dozens of people in the North, most infamously in Derry on Bloody Sunday. Many of those who have lost loved ones will be hurt by Michelle O’Neill’s attendance at this coronation”.
“The monarchy as a head of state or as a form of government is an anachronism. It has no place in a modern society. At the heart of republicanism is the democratic view that all people are equal, and all citizens should elect the head of state on the basis of merit. There is a sectarian element to the British Monarchy also in that only a person of one particular faith can be the head of state”.
“If the British people want to choose to accept their head of state in this manner that’s completely up to them. Micheal D Higgins as President of Ireland will attend as a foreign head of state. However Michelle O’Neill is not the First Minister of the north and therefore will attend as Sinn Féin Deputy Leader”.
“The problem is the British King claims jurisdiction over a significant part of Ireland. Michelle O’Neill will be attending the Coronation of a King that claims jurisdiction over her as a subject and over her country. A core tenant of republicanism has been that the British monarchy should not be the head of state of any part of Ireland”.
“This is a reasonable and fair political objective and one that republicans have held dear from Wolfe Tone, to Robert Emmet to Pearse. Its clear that Sinn Féin and Michelle O’Neill have diverged significantly from this republican political philosophy. Sinn Féin will jettison almost anything in their quest for power”.
“Aontú are fully committed to reconciliation between Catholic and Protestant and Nationalist and Unionist. But there is a mistaken belief that we have to dress up in each other’s political clothes to reconcile with each other. Real reconciliation is based on pluralism. We can be who we are, to the full extent, and be friends and work together. Pluralism is the best way to accommodate and to ensure that all our citizens can be who they are without fear or favour from the state”.