MAYOR of County Cork Danny Collins told the Council chamber he had "mixed feelings" about the Taoiseach’s directive to fly the flag at half mast on Monday, the day the funeral of Queen Elizabeth.
Speaking at the first council meeting after the summer break, the Independent Councillor and County Mayor responded to a proposal from the floor to mark the Queen’s death with a vote of sympathy by saying he had "mixed feelings" about the directive from Government.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Gearoid Murphy suggested an acknowledgement of the Queen’s passing.
“It’s not directly related to the state, but I think it would be fitting to pass a motion of sympathy to the late Queen of England, Elizabeth II,” Mr Murphy said, “She was the head of state of our closest neighbour, the UK, and just to acknowledge the high esteem she was held in particularly by the unionist community in the North.
The County Councillor went on to say Ireland and Britain were closely connected and highlighted Queen Elizabeth’s efforts in visiting Ireland in recent years.
“A conservative estimate on top of that would be that a quarter of British citizens at least have Irish ancestry and the numbers could be higher than that, so I think in recognition of the special connection between our countries, as well as of course the efforts she personally made through her visits to Ireland on her state visit ten years ago, such as bowing to the graves of our freedom fighters from the war of independence as well as addressing the president in Irish, small touches but I think in recognition of that I would like to propose that motion of sympathy.”
In response, County Mayor Danny Collins said:
Following these comments, Fine Gael Councillor Kevin Murphy who was mayor at the time of Queen Elizabeth's visit to Ireland spoke about meeting the Royal.
“I was Mayor when that royal visit took place in Cork city in 2011 and I was the last person to shake her hand before she boarded a plane at Cork Airport.
“I was privileged, in actual fact, she spent about three-quarters of an hour in the airport at that time, and it was very personal for the people who were there, and her husband Philip was interested in how old the Chain of Office was and he said he must be worth an awful lot of money.”