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Former minister Mary Hanafin: Don't let royals visit for 1916 events

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Mary Hanafin

Mary Hanafin

Mary Hanafin

Former Minister Mary Hanafin has criticised government proposals to involve members of the royal family in the 1916 commemorations.

The newly-elected Blackrock councillor said that all of the components of the 1916 rising are "anti British", adding that the centenary "has nothing to do with the royal family".

Ms Hanafin made the remarks in response to plans by the coalition to invite a small number of royal dignitaries to Ireland next year to participate in some of the remembrance events.

The prospect of a royal visit emerged during the State visit to Britain in April by President Michael D Higgins.

But speaking to the Irish Independent, Ms Hanafin said she is against a royal involvement in commemorations that are focussed on Ireland's fight for freedom.

Uprising

"I just don't understand it. Of all events, 1916 was an uprising, it was revolutionary, it was built on political feeling and literature and writing and poetry - all of which was anti British," the former cabinet member said.

"It was built on a proclamation that starts off talking about 800 years of capital oppression.

"I think if anybody in front of the royal family and read them out the 1916 proclamation, I think they wouldn't want to come," she added.

Ms Hanafin said that she has met a number of members of the royal family in an official capacity, including the Queen, Princess Anne, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew.

"I'm happy to recognise their contribution to improving relations between the two countries, but not the 1916 rising," Ms Hanafin stated. Her comments will reignite the debate about whether the Royal visit should take place.

Irish Independent