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British Queen and Obama visiting Ireland. Tourism boost?

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Brian Whelan

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Location: Kildare

Sceala Irish Craic Forum Discussion:     British Queen and Obama visiting Ireland. Tourism boost?

A English news headline tonight regarding the Queen of England visiting Ireland.
Irish Police chief pleads for cash to keep Queen of England safe or risk armageddon

The visit, the expense, the risk, why now, of all times? Essentially for the kudos of President McAleese?
No one seems to know why the British Queen is visiting Ireland now, a nation in economic turmoil. Ireland in the most distressed state in living memory.
Thousands of our own people forced to leave each week.
The only potentially credible reasoning from the Irish side to explain / encourage this controversial visit is - Tourism Ireland.

Will the visit of the Queen of England be cost effective ?
Will she really promote tourism to Ireland.
Playing Devils advocate here.

First, a very real fact.
The claim that this British Queen will promote tourism in Ireland is as vague as it is optimistic. Claims more likely heard from the immature chatterings around fine dining tables, than any real world common sense or study.
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Some Irish commentators are eager to offer in comparison example, the visit of Queen Victoria of England and her impact on some areas of Irish tourism.
This comparison is so ludicrous and so wonderfully pathetic in naivety, that it could only be seriously proposed in this surreal Ireland we live, survive in.
The promoters of such naive nonsense, have clearly overlooked the fact that Broadband connections were so poor and expensive back in the 19th century, that few bothered purchasing computers. Denied the internet to study Ireland, every aspect of Ireland and the Irish at their leisure. Things tourism could only get better.
In Victoria's day, few in Dublin (let alone London) knew where Killarney was on the map, fewer still would ever have the genuine need to examine a map except in wonder, curiosity.

The make up of Ireland tourism, visitors from the UK
Every recent UK to Ireland tourism study - has shown that the vast majority of British based visitors to Ireland - have some Irish connections. Many indeed are Irish.

What is the main reason for visits from the UK to Ireland?
The so called British visitors own Irish connections and heritage is the reason, and has been the main reason for their visit to Ireland, for decades.
Regardless of a curious one off visit, or a series of repeat visits to Ireland, the core source reason for making that Ireland visit - was their own existing Irish heritage or connections.

British Queen and Obama visiting Ireland. Tourism boost?
Will this British Queen's visit have made much if any impact on the vast number of UK based visitors who will in the future visit Ireland. Extremely doubtful.
We can credibly guess for those with Irish connections, her visit will make no difference what so ever.
Any plus points of this British Queens visit may ironically have more negatives to counteract.
Has any study ever concluded - that any significant number of existing tourists to Ireland traveling via the UK - had ever visited Ireland in the hope of encountering other typical English tourists?
No, we can safely answer that they most certainly never have. On the contrary, most visitors to Ireland from the UK come to escape that very prospect.
Ireland wilder and less cluttered, the Irish culture itself, these are our main tourism advantages, possibly our only advantages.

British Queen and Obama visiting Ireland. Tourism boost?
Regardless of that glaring and naive oversight!
Is there any evidence, to have us hope, even optimistically, that the average 21st Century English person suddenly decides to visit - anywhere - based upon what any Royalty or any celebrity does. Of course one or two individuals will, but the majority of new Ireland tourists? Tourism Ireland and the wishful thinking need to get real.
There is of course, no evidence what-so-ever to encourage even hope that these lavish personal visits will offer anything to Ireland except debt, totally unnecessary public costs.
In times of cut backs to special needs children in Ireland - vulnerable children put at risk, the costs placed on the Irish public for this visit are immoral.

A burden of extra and unnecessary costs in a time when we are all being asked / forced to cut back on basics. When Irish Schools are being told to lose teachers, we should not be even considering such extravagance. And many Irish will protest, especially not for this woman.

There is as much a valid argument for permanently refusing the Queen of England entry to Ireland, in the hope of promoting even more visits from those of Irish connections in the UK. The same group who already make up the vast majority of most UK based tourist visits to Ireland.
How will the British Queen promote more visitors to Ireland?
We already know the group we should be targeting our advertising budget on. The Irish diaspora in the UK.
People of the Irish diaspora are not known admirers of Royalty anywhere.
The Irish are not exactly known for crossing a street in numbers to meet British Royalty.
In fact the opposite is reality, the apathy and indifference for the British monarchy held by the many millions of Irish heritage in the UK is well known, and very established.
Credible estimates suggest a UK based Irish diaspora of some 15 plus million, of those within a third generation.(a Grandparent)
Should we not refuse entry to the Queen of England, in the credible prospect of promoting increased Tourism. Would we not encourage, attract even more of the millions of Irish in the UK.

The estimated 15 plus million in the UK of Irish connections, and others unconnected directly but attracted to a independent Ireland that fought the Empire. This Irish rebellious heritage has a very real appeal for tourists worldwide.
Would this group of people not only continue to visit Ireland, but visit many more times.
If Ireland tourism effectively targeted and looked after this ready made tourist potential, could we realistically cope with any more? Would we want any more from the UK? The Irish diaspora in the UK would outnumber us, and considerably.

There is no question, moral or economic, that our priority should not be towards the - Irish in the UK market. Here in offers our most obvious area for real and consistent tourism growth, a ready made positive potential market.
The 21 million spent protecting and falling over these two celebrities.
That money should be spent on the Irish diaspora, offering cheaper travel and accommodation and other promotions of direct interest.

We need not even ask - will the Obama visit make much difference to any significant American intentions of visiting Ireland.
We know Americans will come, especially those of Irish connections.
Where is the real difference between the Irish in America and the Irish in the UK? No difference except in our own closed Irish minds. Irish Minds that have ignored or overlooked as big a ready made Irish friendly market in the UK.

We do not need, and have never needed any English Royal to promote Ireland.

Besides the theory that English Royalty could promote Tourism?
Well that theory is suffering somewhat of a faux pas to any interested and curious English opinion.


Police head seeks state visit funds
Ireland's police chief is seeking money to cover the massive security costs of the Queen and US President Barack Obama's official state visits.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan revealed he asked the cash-strapped government for funding after claims "Armageddon" would strike the trips unless the shortfall was plugged.

"It would be unreasonable in my view to expect that the Garda budget would sustain the type of pressure required to put a security operation of the magnitude we are about to put in place," he said.
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A rank-and-file police leader predicted 25 million euro (22.1 million) was needed to bankroll the double security operation next month.
PJ Stone, general secretary of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), said policing budgets will not cover the planning, surveillance and intelligence gathering needed.
Asked what would happen if the money could not be found, Mr Stone - who represents frontline police officers - said: "Then we are looking at Armageddon."

Mr Stone said: "I don't think the Garda Siochana will be in a position to police those events given the resources that currently exist if there is not a separate budget for this venture."

The garda grassroots leader said when the force was allocated 1.4 billion euro (1.2 billion) for its budget this year, nobody foresaw the expensive official state visits.

BBC news tonight
Cost of Queen and Obama visits worries Irish police
Garda Irish police fear they lack funds to combat the terrorist threat

The main representative body for Irish police is concerned that most of the Garda's annual budget will be spent on big policing events next month.

In particular, it expressed concern over the state visits of Queen Elizabeth and President Obama.

All Garda leave is expected to be cancelled and millions of euros will be spent on overtime next month.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) is concerned there will not be enough money left for regular policing.

The GRA is due to seek assurance from Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan at its annual conference on Tuesday that there will be funding available for necessary regular police work.

Members of the police at the conference reacted with dismay to the Irish government's announcement of further austerity measures.

Delegates said they were very aware of the security threat posed by international terrorists and dissident republicans to the two state visits next month.

They complained that while the PSNI has been given an extra 245m to tackle the dissident republican threat this year, the budget for the Garda's operation against organised crime has been cut from 21m euros (19m) to 10m euros (9m).

The need to risk a cent, let alone Armageddon.
In the context of our own young people, our most brightest being forced to emigrate in their thousands each week.
In the context of our very real need for Garda to be on our streets 365 days of the year, to protect and serve us, and not resourced out of existence for the benefit of securing two foreign celebrities on the most expensive short break ever imagined.
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If we have to suffer just to please some celebrities seeking imagined kudos.
Can we not just hire this Lady for a few days. Save the millions for our own Irish children's futures.
She looks even friendlier, every bit as Lady like, on first appearance she suggests more character.
In context - considering the distance any regular Irish person is going to be allowed to get near the real Queen of England.
What difference will it really make?

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