The Irish Government have expressed that it is “extremely unlikely” that a member of The Royal Family will attend the 100th anniversary commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising next year. Given the nature of the events, it was agreed it would be best not to invite The Royal Family to the events during Easter week 2016.
Minister of State, Aodhan Riordain, is responsible for centenary’s of commemorations and is also vice-chair on the all party committee on commemorations and it was he who confirmed the decision on the presence of Royals. He commented, “It’s extremely unlikely that there will be a Royal presence for events on O’Connell Street and the GPO. As we get closer, my concern (and it is shared by others) is that it will take up an inordinate amount of time, space and debate. If all we are doing is debating the presence or otherwise of a member of the British Royal Family within the GPO it would be a distraction.”
Mr Riordain has said that he believes it is a shame that Ireland is not in a position to commemorate these anniversary’s in the presence of Heads of State of other countries, including former foes. Mr Riordain was referring to some of the commemorations in Belgium to mark the key battles in the First World War. He insisted that Ireland was not yet in that position.
The Easter Rising 1916 was an armed insurrection in Ireland which began on Easter Monday, 24th April 1916, and lasted for six days. The rising was mounted by Irish republicans to put an end to British rule in the country, secede from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and establish an independent Irish Republic. The 1916 rising was the most significant uprising in Ireland since the 1798 rebellion and saw members of Irish Volunteers and Cumann na mBan seize key locations in Dublin.
The Minister of State is on the understanding that the British Government recognised the sensitivities involved. He concluded, “I understand there is no indication that they will be offended by any eventuality where The Royal Family was not present at events.”
Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh made a state visit to the Republic of Ireland in 2011 at the invitation of President, Mary McAleese.