BBC asks Queen if she would like to take control of Irish Republic
The BBC has asked Queen Elizabeth if she would be willing to take over the running of crisis-hit Ireland.
The broadcaster sought the opinion of Buckingham Palace in light of remarks made by an Irish politician in Leinster House.
Fine Gael TD Michael Ring had suggested that the country was in such dire straits that Taoiseach Brian Cowen should put the monarch back in charge and apologise for making such "a mess".
But renowned heckler Ring says he made the speech in jest during a Dail debate on the economy last week but has received severe abuse from some quarters that missed the point.
He said there was nothing serious in what he said and he was merely "winding up the Republican Party to show what they'd done to the republic".
"It's a sad day in these economic times if we have to take the bit of wit out of the Dail," he said.
The Mayo TD added that he had received considerable abuse from some people but added that nobody should question his Irish roots.
"My grand-uncle, Brigadier Joe Ring, took the Free State side and died because of it in 1921. He helped set up An Garda Siochana so I have a very strong republican family," he said.
The BBC appears to have completely missed the joke about handing back the economy and approached the Queen's representatives for an opinion.
A spokeswoman for the monarch refused to comment on Mr Ring's statement.
Mr Ring said he was amazed by the reaction to what he believes was obviously an extreme statement to draw attention to a serious point.
A Fine Gael spokesman added: "He was using humour to get his point across. Under no circumstances was he being serious."
During the debate on the economic crisis, Mr Ring said: "Maybe we should say to the Queen when she comes 'you know, we have our own independence now, we'll hand you back the country and we'll apologise for the mess'.
"Because at least when they were running the country they didn't put it into the mess and the hock that we are in now."
The comments resulted in him receiving a number of abusive messages but he noted: "I would say 99.9pc took it the way it was meant".