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Irish visit typifies our painfully slow pace of progress

AT last. An official state visit by the Irish head of state to Britain next year (News, November 18). How incredible is it that it has taken almost 100 years for it to happen?

The public will rightly want to know why it has taken so long for everybody to bury their pride and get along?

The same question was asked as to why it had taken so long for the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement to be signed. Why had it taken so long for the people we have in public life to start talking and negotiating?

The official state visit by the Irish to the UK could be seen as an acknowledgement of the war-weariness between the two countries in relation to Northern Ireland. Perhaps this is why it has come about?

Both British and Irish governments have had their fill in relation to Northern Ireland, which is almost certainly an inextricable problem.

Dublin may finally be accepting that the situation in Northern Ireland is a lot more complicated than what was previously believed and that there may never be a constitutional shift.

Media commentators in the south are claiming the timing is now right, but fail to mention the century that has passed without any such visit.

State visits do help to build bridges, but they also mask the ongoing reality of Northern Ireland and the cold, hard past when no visits happened, even though they could have.

MAURICE FITZGERALD

Shanbally, Co Cork

Belfast Telegraph

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