It is time to let the Queen come to Ireland.

Yesterday's announcement that she would touch down on Irish soil sometime in the next 18 months was greeted with a barrage of criticism from Sinn Fein and other Republican groups.

They argued the time is not right as partition is still in place and the Queen remains Commander in Chief of the British Army.

But the reality is that the border has never mattered less and the British Army is essentially off the streets of Northern Ireland.

In their place is a new police force drawn from both communities. There are no longer any physical checkpoints when entering Northern Ireland and unless you were looking for it the actual border has become quite hard to find.

There are cross-border bodies now such as Tourism Ireland handling the work on an all-island basis. Slowly but surely the border is dissolving in front of our eyes.

We give the Queen far too much credit if we cast her as a major figure in all of this.

She is what she has always been, a member of the lucky sperm club, born into nobility and privilege, a figurehead at best an irrelevancy in actual fact.

A trip to Ireland would doubtless bring out all the sycophants and hangers on who gush over everything royal.

The Queen is essentially an OK magazine celebrity now, like a Madonna or a Lady Gaga, someone with a certain entertainment value, but no real clout about anything.

The Irish populace is sufficiently mature to figure all this out, which is why the news of her impending visit hardly raised a hackle apart from Sinn Fein.

Ironically it was an earlier visit by a monarch, Queen Victoria in 1900 that indirectly led to the establishment of Sinn Fein.

Victoria came to try and enlist young Irishmen in the British Army for the Boer War.

Arthur Griffith, later founder of Sinn Fein, bitterly opposed her visit and used the contacts he made then to form Sinn Fein five years later.

There are no such high stakes on this occasion. The visit will be covered like a celebrity wedding amid much oohing and ahhing from the tabloids.

It will show that Ireland is now a mature Republic perfectly at ease with a foreign monarch visiting.

David Cameron's apology for Bloody Sunday is a hundred times more important.

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