Thursday, March 17, 2011


God Serve The Queen, Because She Won't Be Served Here
By David Hinckley

Got a big stretch of empty wall and a simmering resentment over the Irish potato famine?

Well, just tune in WBAI (99.5 FM) starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, which of course is St. Patrick’s Day, and you may be able to solve both problems.

During WBAI’s annual St. Pat’s day special, which runs until 3 p.m., host John McDonagh of “Radio Free Eireann” will be auctioning off a semi-famous 40-foot banner that until hours ago hung outside a bar called the Players Lounge in Fairview, just north of Dublin.

It declares that Queen Elizabeth is not welcome in this establishment and will not be served should she venture in and fancy a pint.

Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to visit Dublin in May, the first official state visit to what is now the Republic of Ireland since it was granted independence from Britain in 1921.

McDonagh notes that this bar owner, John Stokes, is among the Irish who have not forgiven the British for several centuries of maltreatment and contend the Brits are still occupying the six counties of Northern Ireland.

Hence the banner.

Irish authorities, however, were not amused. “He was told that if he didn’t take the banner down, he could be denied liquor licenses,” says McDonagh. So, since the sign has to come down anyway, Stokes arranged with WBAI to put it up for auction, with proceeds to charity.

Stokes will also be a guest on the WBAI show.

“There are people on both sides of the [British] issue,” says McDonagh. “There are also plenty of other bars in Dublin with signs that say welcome the queen and they haven’t been told anything. I guess it’s just this particular sentiment the authorities don’t like.”


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