Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Irish Honours?

Here's a letter from the Irish Examiner in relation to Irish people accepting official British honours...

"Your correspondent Sorcha Healy (Irish Examiner letters, November 21) sees no problem with Irish citizens accepting official British honours.

"She dismisses critics as "misguided" or worse, "bigots."

"Article 9 of the Irish constitution stipulates "fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State" on the part of all citizens. More specifically, Article 40 explicitly excludes "titles of nobility or of honour."

JA Barnwell

Firstly, in relation to the above letter, Mr Barnwell is right about Article 40 in the sense that Article 40 (2.1) states:

"Titles of nobility shall not be conferred by the State."

However Mr Barnwell ought to have looked closer at Article (2.2):

"No title of nobility or of honor may be accepted by any citizen except with the prior approval of the Government."

I'm pretty sure all of those Irish people who have accepted British honours have first consulted the Irish government about the matter. Therefore, Irish people who accept British honours are not doing anything improper nor would I regard it as any kind of insult to the State.

In relation to Article 9, I personally don't think it's an act of disloyalty to accept a British honour. I myself would not accept a British honour as I'm a citizen of a republic and I like to think that all men and women are created equal. I don't like the idea of a monarch bestowing something upon me as I feel it implies a monarch's superiority. Even so, I have nothing against those Irish people who choose to accept such honours.

What about the idea of Irish State honours though? Should we have some form of award for our citizens who achieve something extraordinary?

I'm not so sure as I think a republic ought to endeavour to promote the idea of equality among citizens so with that being said, I guess I'm against the idea. What are your own thoughts?


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