Prominent critics of Sinn Fein who campaigned against the Provisional IRA have been left of fthe guest list of those meeting the Queen in Ireland by the British and Irish Governments.
Currently the guest list for those who are going to meet with the Queen are minor celebrity personalities such as Amanda Brunker and Lorraine Keane, as well as television presenter Terry Wogan, chef Rachel Allen, Nama developer Harry Crosbie and model Erin O'Connor. Gay Byrne will host the main event and musicians such as the Chieftans, Westlife and Mary Byrne will perform for the queen.
Pro British-campaigners such as Chris Hudson MBE and Barbara Fitzgerald CBE, media figures such as Kevin Myers, Eoghan Harris and Ruth Dudley Edwards have not been invited to meet the Queen.
Hudson said he was amazing that those directly involved in the process have not been invited to any of the events. He said “I remember [the late Progressive Unionist Party leader] David Ervine saying to me 'remember, when this is over other people will be collecting Nobel prizes and we'll just have to go for a pint'…What seems to have happened is that the politicians take charge of things -- they delivered the political process . . . but they didn't deliver the peace process.”
He added “Official Ireland has never given us any recognition for anything we've done -- and it doesn't look as if it wants to start now."
While working with hard-line Loyalists in the North of Ireland Hudson says he put himself in danger. He claims to have brought David Irvine on board with the process. However despite the fact that he was awarded an MBE by Prince Charles he has not been invited to any of the events during the Queen’s historic visit.
Ruth Dudley Edwards, author and journalist, said she was disappointed that Kevin Myers and Eoghan Harris had not been invited. She said "Both have shown immense courage over the years -- especially in relation to fearless denunciation of paramilitarism."
A source close to Myers said “He is not so much disappointed as angry. It stinks to high heaven that those who took the heat when it was far hotter than it is now in relation to the paramilitaries have been snubbed. As a country we cannot even get these small things right."
According to reports in the Sunday Independent, the British Embassy, who are hosting the centerpiece event in the new National Conference Centre, on Dublin’s quays, has defended the guest list.
Richard Cushnie of the British Embassy said “We wanted to reflect the range of sporting, cultural and business links between Britain and Ireland.”
Each location the Queen visits have organized their individual guest lists including Trinity College and the GAA, at Croke Park.
A State dinner for the Queen will be held in Dublin Castle. The event will be hosted by President Mary McAleese. The Department of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) is also involved in other events.
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