On his last day in lovely Ireland, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco along with his fiancée, Charlene Wittstock, spent the latter part of the day with his cousins in Newport, County Mayo in Ireland.
According to the Irish Times:
The couple met Irish cousins in Newport House, and an honorary cousin for the day – one Minister of State for Tourism Michael Ring who had been instrumental in securing the Mayo visit. Afterwards they walked over the Newport river to the Gráinne Uaile pub, where both reportedly partook of pints of Guinness.
The prince’s fiancee didn’t seem put out by the weather. “It’s wet and raining, but it’s beautiful,” Charlene Wittstock said. André Connolly, a pupil at Cuilmore National School in Newport, was ecstatic as he helped form a guard of honour for the couple’s cup of tea in Newport House.
As much as the people of Ireland admire the Prince’s late mother Grace Kelly, I think the timing of his visit is inappropriate.
For, while pomp and ceremony may brighten up our gloomy political and economic landscape, it’s something we can’t afford at this time.
Here we are, a country on its knees and in receivership to the IMF and ECB, and we’re facing another two State visits in the next month — from Queen Elizabeth and US President Barack Obama.
The costs are going to be enormous and it will put a huge strain on the resources of the Justice Department and An Garda Siochana.
But we can justify the costs of the other two big visits.
Queen Elizabeth’s will be historic and healing, the final glue to cement the Good Friday Agreement and a major act of reconciliation between our two nations.
The visit of the most powerful man on earth, President Obama, is of extraordinary importance, culturally and financially, and is likely to pay dividends.
I can’t say the same about Prince Albert and his fiancée.
The closest Ireland benefits from Monaco is that it is home to expat millionaires who use the wealthy state as a tax haven, including Michael Smurfit. (The Herald)