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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Simon Coveney will attend NI centenary event after President Higgins declines

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Chief Whip Jack Chambers will represent the Government at an event in Northern Ireland to mark the partition of the country later this month.

The news comes after President Michael D. Higgins turned down an invitation to the event last month.

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The event will take place at St. Patricks Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh on October 21st and will be attended by the Queen of England.

President Higgins declined the invitation because it had transformed from a religious event to a political statement, therefore it would be “inappropriate” for him to attend.

The President also took issue with being referred to as the President of the Republic of Ireland, rather than the President of Ireland.

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The Government announced on Thursday: “The government has today considered the invitation which it received from The Church Leaders Group (Ireland) to the Service of Reflection and Hope which the Group is organising in Armagh later this month.”

“In considering the invitation, the government noted that its role in this matter is clearly distinct from that of the President.”

“In that regard, the government reiterates its full support and understanding for the decision made by President Higgins with regard to his attendance at the event.”

“The decision was quite properly made by the President and was based on concerns that he had consistently expressed.”

“Cognisant of that important distinction and in recognition also of the spirit and intentions of the Church Leaders in organising the event, the government has decided that it will be represented at the event by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and by the Government Chief Whip.”

IMAGE -“President Michael D Higgins” by The Labour Party (CC BY-ND 2.0)/“Simon Coveney TD, Tánaiste and Minister” (CC BY 2.0) by Chatham House, London

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