Irish President declines invitation to Northern Ireland’s 100th Anniversary event Queen I came 6 months after the review.
Michael D. Higgins said he expressed concern about the proposed title of church service from March of this year to next month.
“Because it’s the beginning, the decision is the result of consideration, not a sudden decision,” said the president.
Mr. Higgins who had an audience with the Pope on Friday Rome Faced with criticism from Northern Ireland members for refusing to invite them to 100th Anniversary Service in Armagh, organized by four major Northern Ireland churches.
The president said the title of the event, which referred to the division of Ireland and the creation of Northern Ireland, was not politically neutral and therefore felt inappropriate for him to participate in the service.
In an interview with the RTE in Rome, Higgins said he was “no problem” with other performances in Northern Ireland alongside the Queen, claiming he wasn’t involved in the “boycott” of events related to the 100th anniversary. Did.
Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin He said he would respect the president’s decision not to attend the service.
“I respect the president’s decision and understand where he comes from,” he told Cork reporters.
“I think he made it clear and stated his reason. We know that the president has given a lot of time to commemorate and take it very seriously.
“He is also very enthusiastic about reconciliation. There is no need to doubt his good intentions in that regard, and people should not.
“He has a long-standing relationship with island peace and reconciliation.
“I think he has made his decision now, and as he said himself, we should move on.
“The relationship between Britain and Ireland has changed over the last three decades and I don’t think this will do any harm.
“The President looks forward to working with the Queen in the future, along with the Head of State of Britain, and hopes to continue to build North-South relations. That’s where we are now.”
Archbishop Eamon Martin, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, expressed surprise at the president’s decision, claiming that service was “totally non-political.”
“I think it would have been very special if the president could attend, and I was a little surprised when I heard that he couldn’t come,” he said.
Earlier, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said his department was involved in talks with the president about the invitation, but said the decision to decline it was his own.
Mr. Coveny, who himself attended the 100th Anniversary event in Belfast on Friday, did not provide Mr. Higgins with “clear advice” as to whether his department should go to church service. Said that.
In his criticism of Mr. Higgins, DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson was wondering if it was a political motivation as a result of advice from the Irish government.
Mr Coveny was asked about the degree of involvement between the government and the president on this issue.
“There was talk between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Alas (Presidential Residence) on this issue and many other issues, but I can assure you. President Higgins is like making his own decisions, “he said.
“He listens to all perspectives and then makes his own decisions.
“And you know, he made his decision on this. He explained the rationale for that decision, and I think we need to respect it.”
“I’m not going to guess the Irish president’s decision again,” the minister said.
“He makes his own decisions, he calls for his own judgment, and I respect it.”
Mr Coveny said he hoped the controversy would not set back North-South relations.
“I hope it’s not a setback at all,” he told the Presbyterian Church’s 100th Anniversary event on Friday.
Both Martin and Coveny said the Irish government had not yet received an invitation to an Armagh event. They said it would be considered if received.
In an interview with the Irish Times on Thursday, the president denied he was snubbing the Queen.
“There is no doubt about snubbing for someone,” he said. “I’m not snubbing anyone, and I’m not part of a boycott of other events in Northern Ireland.
“I hope for their service well, but they understand that they have the right to exercise discretion over what I think is appropriate for my attendance.”
Mr Higgins also challenged the Democratic Unionist criticism.
“Frankly, it’s a little hard. I went to Northern Ireland to attend the event,” he said.
“There isn’t much traffic from the DUP people who are currently criticizing me.”
The president also worked to clarify Thursday’s report, which claimed that the organizers of the event called him the president of the Republic of Ireland rather than the president of Ireland.
He said it was actually the Democratic Unionist Party that called him the President of the Republic of Ireland, not the organizer.
“I may be responsible for causing a small mess, which the organizers writing to my office always call me the President of Ireland,” he said.
Higgins said he had already agreed to host the Irish Statistical Social Research Association at his official residence in Alas a Uahataline, Dublin, on the day of service.
Sir Jeffrey accused President Higgins of “retrograde” measures.
“We are very disappointed with what President Higgins had to say,” he said.
“This service is about hope and reconciliation, and that is the theme.
“Hosted by four churches, which are themselves cross-communities, show the settlement in Northern Ireland in a realistic and concrete way, but it’s a shame that the president feels he can’t participate in it. . “
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said Mr. Higgins made the “right” decision when declining the invitation.
“Irish independence was a catastrophe for our people and our country,” she tweeted.
“The division of Ireland costs us to this day, restrains us and divides us.”
The president declined to invite the 100th anniversary event after “a few months of consideration”
SourceThe president declined to invite the 100th anniversary event after “a few months of consideration”