Press Statement:
- One Year on from the Official State Visit and not much to show for it -

17 May, 2012

Today marks the first anniversary of the official state visit to Ireland by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain. Widely regarded as a success, in addition to constituting an historical watershed, there appears nevertheless to be little formal acknowledgment in official circles of its importance and impact. 

Certainly that is what one group of publishers discovered when they attempted to bring out a souvenir album [see Note 1] to mark the first anniversary of the occasion. Despite assistance and expressions of support from various quarters including Áras an Uachtaráin, the Department of the Taoiseach, Buckingham Palace, the British Embassy in Ireland and others, the project eventually floundered. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have asserted copyright over all official photographs that were taken over the four days in May 2011, when for the first time in over a century, a reigning British monarch paid a visit to this part of the island of Ireland. It is understood that, for security reasons, other individuals and organisations were prevented from having their own photography at the various stages and events included in the itinerary of the official state visit. This would mean that the official photographs and video footage, over which the state claims ownership, represent the only permanent memento of the historic occasion. 

Reasons offered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, for denying permission for official photos to be used in the format of a commemorative album include:  
  • Other parties involved in the visit might object to their use in this manner.
  • Individuals or entities might make a profit from what would be a commercial venture. [This apparently without regard for the fact that the country as a whole might benefit, not least through the export earning potential of such a product.]
  • They had not  foreseen that anyone would want to publish a print souvenir of the visit, so they had not made any provision for one.
 
According to Josephine Duggan, author of a highly praised biography of Sophia of Hanover, [see Note 2] who also acted as editor of the proposed souvenir album:
 "Surely these photos belong to the people of Ireland who paid through their taxes for the visit and made it such a success through their goodwill and interest. These photos should be made available to any citizen who wishes to put them to their proper use. The only purpose of publicity photos is to be publicised, and these photos show Ireland, its people and its produce at our very best. Why is the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade so determined to keep them under wraps?" 
 
The decision of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade means that no durable souvenir exists of this visit, which generated international attention. It means that no effort is being made to build on what was achieved. [see Note 3]

Ends



Notes for Editors:

1. A Royal Visit is the title of a proposed commemorative album intended for publication in March 2012 by The Manuscript Publisher. ISBN 978-0-9571157-0-5. The project has been unable to go ahead due to copyright issues.
 
2. Sophia of Hanover: from Winter Princess to Heiress of Great Britain, 1630-1714 by J.N. Duggan is published by Peter Owen, London 2010. The author’s official website is at BooksbyJNDuggan.com
 
3. This press statement is issued by The Manuscript Publisher, provider of publishing solutions for the digital age. Contact details available from the publisher's website - www.TheManuscriptPublisher.com
 
Contact for Interviews, etc:
Oscar Duggan (The Manuscript Publisher) - 01 8569566 or 087 7604547