THE Queen’s visit to Ireland should improve relations with Britain, according to a Huddersfield academic.
Prof Jim McAuley said the four-day tour, which began yesterday, was meant to “put to bed” 800 years of conflict between the two countries.
“This visit is designed to ease the relations between Britain and the Irish Republic,” he said.
“It’s the first time a British monarch has visited Dublin since 1911, when it was still part of the UK.”
Prof McAuley, who lectures on Irish politics at the University of Huddersfield, added that the tour included “highly symbolic” venues.
He said: “The Queen visited the Garden of Remembrance which commemorates 800 years of Irish rebellion.
“She’s also due to go to Croke Park where the British Army shot dead 14 people in 1920.
“These are highly symbolic acts. The tour is designed to put to bed 800 years of an extremely difficult and sometimes bloody history.”
The Belfast-born academic added that most Irish people were happy for the Queen to visit.
“There have been a lot of polls in the Irish papers showing 80% of people have no problem with the visit,” he said.
“Of the other one-fifth of people, there is a small minority who actively oppose the Queen’s visit and feel it is wrong for her to be welcomed for as long as Northern Ireland remains in the UK.”