Tuesday 17 October 2017

Royals will be invited to 1916 event

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

MEMBERS of the British royal family and government, as well as unionist leaders, are set to be invited to the 1916 centenary commemorations in three years' time.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore used a weekend speech to the British-Irish Association to say he hoped they could come to Dublin for 2016.

Mr Gilmore said it would naturally follow on from Queen Elizabeth's visit to Ireland last year, and take the lead "from the gracious and mutual respect shown by Queen Elizabeth and President McAleese".

"If we are true to the lead that they showed, then I would hope that we can host representatives of the royal family and the British government, along with the leaders of unionism, in Dublin in three years' time in remembering the Easter Rising," Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Gilmore said in his Cambridge speech.

"I hope also that three months later we can all respectfully remember those who gave their lives in British uniform at the Battle of the Somme."

The Tanaiste's spokesman last night said no official invitations had been issued yet, and Mr Gilmore was merely expressing a wish. He also said he intended laying a wreath in Belfast again this year to mark World War I commemorations on Remembrance Day in November.

"It is a responsibility to prepare and carry out our commemorations in a way that gives no offence and is mindful of the sensitivities of all citizens."

RESPONSE

Mr Gilmore's comments received a cautious response from Jeffrey Donaldson, a Democratic Unionist Party MP.

"What we don't know at this stage is the nature of any event that will be held around the Easter Rising centenary," Mr Donaldson said.

"We are very clear – whether we are talking about Castlederg or anything else – that events that glorify terrorism are not something we would want to be involved in."

Irish Independent

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