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Taoiseach defends decision of Government to attend NI centenary event

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has defended a decision by the Government to attend a church service marking the centenary of Northern Ireland.

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.

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

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.

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

“There is a difference there between the head of state and the Government,” Martin said.

“In our statement last night we said the president’s decision was properly taken and consistent with views he had articulated earlier in that process leading up to the invitation.”

“We fully support the president in that regard.”

IMAGE – “Dáil Éireann – Election of Taoiseach – 27 June 2020” by Houses of the Oireachtas is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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