The Sinn Fein Mayor of Cashel has welcomed the Queen of England’s visit to the town on Friday week.
Cllr. Michael Browne announced at Monday night’s meeting of the local Town Council that he supported the unanimous decision taken at the Council’s March meeting (which he missed through illness) to invite Queen Elizabeth to Cashel.
This was in spite of a statement last week from Sinn Fein’s four Councillors – and the party’s chairperson in Cashel, Martin Browne – that they opposed the visit of the British monarch.
A letter signed by Cllrs. Michael Browne, Liam Walsh (Carrick-on-Suir), David Doran (Thurles) and Seamie Morris (Nenagh), as well as Mr. Martin Browne, stated that they would be in Cashel on Friday, May 20 to voice their opposition to the visit in a peaceful protest.
However at this week’s meeting Cllr. Browne said that as an elected representative of the people, and having been elected unanimously as Mayor last year, he had no other option but to go along with the wishes of the Council and the majority of Cashel people, who welcomed the Queen’s visit.
He said that Ian Paisley had spent 40 years saying no; a Sinn Fein colleague, “a brave man”, had laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in Belfast a few years ago; and the Good Friday agreement had only been signed at the 11th hour. All of those things had eventually come to pass, he said.
The Mayor sincerely hoped that the economic benefit that some people thought would accrue from the Queen’s visit would happen in the near and far future.
A lot of money had been spent on preparations for the visit but at least it was being invested in the town’s infrastructure and wouldn’t have been spent otherwise.
Cllr. Michael Browne hoped that the biggest beneficiaries would be the Tidy Towns committee, and he hoped that everyone would support the committee and help out with any work that needed to be done.
The Mayor, who has been battling serious illness, was attending his first meeting since February and was welcomed to the Council chamber by the members and officials.
Cllr. Sean McCarthy, who had asked the Mayor about his “precise position” on the Queen’s visit, complimented him on his response. He said the Mayor had dealt with the question with the honesty and straight-forwardness that he always expected from him.
Cllr. McCarthy agreed that the Tidy Towns committee would benefit enormously from the preparations for the royal visit and said this could even spearhead Cashel “to the top of the Tidy Towns ladder”.
The vast majority of the people in the town felt the event would be a great boost to tourism and their morale. It would strengthen international relations and do nothing but good in the long term.
This cead mile failte from the Mayor was crucial and the visit would be great for the town, said Cllr. P.J. Quinlan.
Cllr. Maribel Wood said the Mayor was an honest man who was putting the good of the town ahead of party politics.
Town Clerk Marie McGivern said the Gardai expected to announce the security arrangements for the visit at the end of this week.