herald

Tuesday 23 September 2014

1916 relative against plan to invite royals

RELATIVES of those who died in 1916 are unhappy with proposals that members of the British royal family are to be invited to the centenary commemoration.

Queen Elizabeth II herself indicated that members of her family may attend the memorial, in her speech during President Michael D Higgins' state visit.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was "very pleased" by her comments and would like to see a visit by the Queen.

He said it was the Government's intention – where appropriate – to invite members of the royal family to attend commemorations and it would be consulting with "authentic historians" on "the best way to do these things".

Historian Diarmaid Ferriter, who is a member of an advisory committee to the Government on the 1916 commemoration, yesterday questioned the "appropriateness and the wisdom" of the move.

"Will it mean that in 2016 the big focus and the big story will be the royal presence in Dublin?" he asked.

"I wonder whether we need any royals. I'm not making a political point here, I'm speaking as a historian and I don't want the history to get lost."

MEMORY

Now James Connolly Heron, great-grandson of James Connolly, has said the royal family should stay away, saying the ceremony outside the GPO in Dublin will be in memory of all those who died and "their dream remains unfulfilled".

He also said that since Queen Elizabeth is "titular head of the British Army", he does not believe it would be appropriate for her to attend.

"I presume there will be guests and ambassadors from all over the world and in that sense if the British government were to be represented we could not object, but that would be different from a member of the royal family.

Mr Connolly added that the Taoiseach "might want to liaise with the descendants of the executed leaders in relation to what is an unprecedented proposal".

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