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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Michael D. Higgins criticised for declining invitation to church service with Queen Elizabeth

President Michael D. Higgins has received criticism for declining an invitation to a church service in Armagh where Queen Elizabeth will be present.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said it was a “disappointing and retrograde step” while the Alliance Party has asked Higgins to reconsider his decision.


Higgins did not provide a reason as to why he declined the invitation to the event but sent his best wishes to Queen Elizabeth and her family.

The church service, which is being organised by Christian church leaders, is part of a programme of events to mark the centenary of the partition of Ireland and the formation of Northern Ireland in 1921.

A spokesman for President Higgins stated, “The President is not in a position to attend the ceremony you mention, and this has been communicated to the organisers,”.


The event is scheduled to take place at the Church of Ireland cathedral in Armagh City on the 21st of October.

Donaldson stated, “In the absence of clarity around the reason for him not attending many may reach a conclusion that it is a decision based on politics.”

He added that because Higgins has not provided a reason for his absence, many may reach a conclusion that it was a decision based on politics.

Despite criticism, Higgins has also received a fair share of support for his decision, with independent assembly member and former Alliance Party member Trevor Lunn tweeting, “President Higgins has been a good friend to Northern Ireland. I wouldn’t criticise his decision not to join in a commemoration of the partition of his country. I don’t see it as a discourtesy to Her Majesty, just a correct if difficult decision.”

IMAGE – “michael d higgins” (CC BY 2.0) by The Labour Party – “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II” (CC BY 2.0) by Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office


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