Liam Browne: History of Irish – English conflict has to be put to one side at times

Photo © Tipp FM

As tributes continue to be paid to Queen Elizabeth II following her death at the age of 96 many people have been speaking of the importance of her visit to Ireland over a decade ago.

The late Sinn Fein Councillor Michael Browne was the first Republican to greet a British Monarch on Irish soil when, as Mayor of Cashel, he welcomed Queen Elizabeth II to the town in 2011.

His son Liam Browne spoke to Fran Curry on Tipp Today about the significance of that day as his father became the first Sinn Féin member to shake hands with a member of the Royal family.

“The reality is my father always took a kind of global view of politics that once you’re elected you represent everybody. As the Mayor of Cashel he didn’t represent just the people who voted for him as a Sinn Fein Councillor – he represented all the people of Cashel.

“He realised at the time that the majority of people in Cashel were quite happy about this visit. They knew it was important for the town, they knew what was important for the country. And he wasn’t going to be petty in a sense by saying that just because he personally didn’t or may not have agreed with the visit, he had to represent those people and he did so.”

Michael Browne came in for some criticism during the Queen’s visit in 2011 when he welcomed her to the Rock.

Speaking on Tipp Today earlier his son Liam said we’re all very aware of the history between Ireland and Great Britain but that there are times when it has to be put to one side.

“The reality is no more than my Dad was an elderly and sick man at the time, Queen Elizabeth passed away at the end of a very long life.

“She was a person, she was a mother, she was a grandmother, she was an aunt. She was a very important figurehead to British people and you must be able at times to separate the figure from the figurehead. She was a person in herself and she’ll be mourned by her family as well as the British people.”