Saturday 16 December 2017

1916 leaders 'had no legitimacy', says Foster

Arlene Foster. Photo: Arthur Carron
Arlene Foster. Photo: Arthur Carron

Rebecca Black

The Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster has said she believes that those who wrote the 1916 Easter Proclamation "had no legitimacy and weren't speaking for anybody but themselves".

She declined to attend the commemorations in Dublin at the weekend, describing the republican rebellion "as a violent act that killed many hundreds of Irish people".

"As such, I don't think it was right to commemorate an attack on a state that I believe in," she said.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny expressed his disappointment at her refusal to attend.

"I don't know how he was disappointed or indeed surprised, given that I am a very strong unionist," Mrs Foster of the DUP said.

The First Minister added that she did acknowledge that everyone who was killed, including British soldiers and police officers, had been recognised on Easter Sunday, adding: "At least that was progress." And Mrs Foster did attend a Church of Ireland event in Dublin last month to mark the centenary of the Rising, which included contributions from historians from across Ireland.

President Michael D Higgins said on Easter Monday that the 1916 leaders were "advanced thinkers, selfless women and men".

Mrs Foster disagreed, saying: "I think a lot of them were egotistical and were doing it to bring glory upon themselves. I don't see them as selfless individuals at all."

Irish Independent

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