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Marie Louise McConville: Everyone has a right to their own opinion about Queen Elizabeth

While we all have our views on the queen, it's important to be respectful to each other. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Marie Louise McConville

What a week.

Born and raised in west Belfast, I will admit the queen and the royal family were rarely mentioned in our house or at school but that doesn't mean I wasn't touched by the news of her death.

I suppose it's the journalist in me that had me hooked on the rolling news and I was filled with nothing but admiration for the wonderful Huw Edwards on the BBC.

I think he did a fantastic job filling airtime in the circumstances and then when he announced the news of the monarch's death, he was as professional as ever.

While we knew that this news was always going to divide the people of Northern Ireland - I'm just saddened by how much it did.

In this day and age, with social media is the only place to be seen and heard, the news spread like wildfire but so too did the venom.

While the public watched TV footage of members of the royal family viewing the huge number of floral tributes and meeting with well-wishers, in the online world, it was a mess.

This week, I have lost count of the number of relationships which have broken down online as a result of the queen's death.

I saw some people comment online about how they had felt moved to block certain people because of their views on the subject.

And I have to say, having seen some of the posts, I felt sick, not because I'm a secret royalist but rather a human being with a good heart.

My own news feed was filled with various stories about the queen's death, some professing sadness, some professing happiness, others doing all they could to make no reference to it whatsoever, but each to their own.

I will admit that while I myself didn't agree with some of the things being written, I respected the right of people to have their own opinions.

Like many, I have friends from various religions and backgrounds and most of the time, neither have any bearing on what we talk about but suddenly, after the queen's death, some people became very political and dare I say it, bigoted.

It was very sad to see some arguing and then resorting to horrible name calling and really, I expected more of people.

I respect the right of people to have their own opinions but I also expect them to be mature about it.

It's sad to think that there are some among us who are still stuck back in the dark days. I really thought we had made more progress than that.

While there are some among us who are heartbroken by the loss, equally, there are others who also have the right not to mourn and not to express sadness.

Each of our experiences are different but let's try and do our best to respect each other during the next few days.

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The most anticipated spooky countdown of all time is on - and there's just 13 days to go.

Hocus Pocus 2 arrives on Disney+ on September 30 and I can't wait.

When three young women accidentally bring back the Sanderson Sisters - played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker - to modern day Salem, they must figure out how to stop the child-hungry witches from wreaking havoc on the world.

And according to reports, there could well be a third instalment after Hocus Pocus 2 director Anne Fletcher said she has "left it wide open for any sequel".

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Competition

There's only one thing better than finding a good book and that's finding a good book written by a local author.

Co Tyrone writer Claire Shiells will this month release her debut novel, After Dad, and I have three copies to give away to readers.

Set in modern day Northern Ireland and Co Donegal, After Dad is described as "a beguiling, modern love story full of humour, suspense and a huge amount of heart".

The book follows Millie, whose father was killed by the IRA.

When her life in London begins to unravel, the journalist retreats to the family home in Co Tyrone.

During a visit to the family cottage in Donegal, she meets the enigmatic Finn McFall, a Catholic from west Belfast.

In this new modern Ireland, Millie believes religion is no longer a barrier for love.

But when she finds Finn's past is inextricably linked to her own, she is heartbroken and must decide between love and loyalty.

Can love really conquer all?

I have three copies of After Dad to give away.

If you would like the chance to win a copy, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with

the answer to the question below – to competitions@irishnews.com.

Closing date for entries is noon on Tuesday September 20.

(Q) Who wrote After Dad?

Normal Irish News rules apply

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