Councillor Sean Tyrrell of Kilkenny County Council announced to the Kilkenny Journal today that he will refuse, if asked, to shake hands with HRH Prince Charles on his visit to Kilkenny. He says that his position is different in this matter than that of the late Martin McGuinness as Martin was deputy prime minister representing cross-community in Northern Ireland - but that he is a free agent in his role as a councillor representing Kilkenny West that includes the Medieval Mile along which the British Prince will walk. And he disputed with us that the Prince's visit will have any appreciable effect on local tourism.
Sean said that he will have to act according to his conscience. He will turn out robed along with the rest of the Council, as expected of him on the day, but he will offer no hand in friendship to the British Crown Prince while his mother's armed forces occupy six counties of Ireland. Asked what the local Sinn Fein TD , his close friend and colleague would do, would she shake hands with the Prince , Sean replied that that is a matter for her to say and not for him. There's no whip on this , it's a matter for every Sinn Fein party member and their conscience and his conscience will not allow him to shake hands with any member of the British royal family while Ireland remains unfree. A mem,ber of the famous Kilkenny hurling family of the Tyrells, Sean refuses to participate in soccer or any British games.
He says that this is a matter of principle for him, that it goes to his heart, that he could not sleep nights were he to greet a British prince while a major part of Ireland is still in shackles. He totally supports his party leader Gerry Adams in his call for a border poll. He believes that now is the opportune time to finally get the British out of Ireland while they are disengaging from Europe , he feels that we will now have the full backing of the EU for Irish Freedom and we must increase the volume of our calls to get the Brits out of Ireland at long last .
He says that votes do not matter to him when the Cause of ireland is at stake and that he is proud to show his determination as a patriotic Irishman to the British Crown Prince. However he is saddened to think some of the rest of them on the Council will be pushing and shoving to get to shake hands with Charles first, mostly the councillors of Fianna fail, Fine Gael and Labour and he views such behaviour with quiet contempt . Sean states that he is not in it for the photo opportunities and the votes as they are. He believes that his Sinn Fein colleagues on the Council will take a similar stand to him.
He is turning out robed for the occasion as he has a duty to represent the Council and his constituents and he is doing that as is required of him, and not staying at home sulking because Charles is coming, but he will stand there with his colleagues and regard the British prince unflinchingly in silent protest on behalf of Ireland. He believes that this would be much more effective in the full view of all the cameras than simply staying away. He will be there to "man up" to Charles.and to tell him that it's time for him and his mother to disengage from Ireland while they are disengaging from Europe. He will be entirely respectful; of Charles as a tourist visiting Kilkenny, as "Mr. Windsor" in fact with an address at Buckingham Palace, London. He will do nothing to upset the reception but he will not let it go without the British hearing that they are not welcome in Ireland until they finally withdraw.
"There must be no hard border, in fact there should be no border at all" , Kilkenny's newest young councillor shot at the Kilkenny Journal reporter as he departed.
HRH Prince Charles is paying a visit to Kilkenny city on May 11th next.
[THIS IS A KILKENNY JOURNAL EXCLUSIVE]