herald

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Royals should not be invited to Rising events, says Hanafin

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

The newly-elected Blackrock councillor said 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 her remarks in response to plans by the Government to invite some royals to Ireland to participate in some of the remembrance events.

The prospect of royal participation emerged during the state visit to Britain by President Michael D Higgins last April.

Following the resounding success of that trip, government sources suggested that Prince Charles might attend some of the events, while some Fine Gael figures said they would like to see an involvement by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge.

Speaking to the Herald, Ms Hanafin said she is firmly against a royal involvement in commemorations that are focused on Ireland's fight for freedom from British rule.

"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," she said.

oppression

"It was built on a proclamation that starts off talking about 800 years of oppression. I think if anybody stood in front of the royal family and read them out the 1916 proclamation, they wouldn't want to come."

Ms Hanafin said she had met several of the British royals in an official capacity, including Queen Elizabeth, 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," she said.

Ms Hanafin's remarks are sure to reignite the debate over whether the Government should issue an invitation.

Other prominent politicians have reservations too. They include the North's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Dublin's Lord Mayor Christy Burke.

Family members of some of the participants in the Rising have also said they are opposed to a royal involvement.

noconnor@herald.ie

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