EAMON O’CUIV, the former Fianna Fáil minister and grandson of Eamon de Valera, has poured cold water on the idea of inviting a member of the British royal family to the official 2016 events.
The Government has proposed the move as part of efforts to make the 1916 centenary more inclusive — with Taoiseach Enda Kenny saying earlier this year that such a visit “would be another event in the continuing closeness” between Ireland and Britain.
Other Fianna Fáil figures have also raised issues with the suggestion in recent months, calling for all-party consultations to take place before an invite is extended.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie at the National Ploughing Championships this afternoon, O’Cuiv said he believed the move would be “seriously distracting”.
When you look at the proclamation they talk about our gallant allies in Europe — so are you going to ask the family of the Kaiser? I think these are tricky enough issues.
“I think there’s a time and a place for inviting the royals to events. I welcomed and was part of the decision that was made by the previous Government to invite the Queen here on a State visit.”
O’Cuiv said he feared the presence of a royal would ”take away from the centrality of the message of 1916″.
It might open other issues up, because there were other people that were central to 1916 as well as the British — there was an arms shipment sent over… there’s a certain country mentioned, allies mentioned in the Rising and I think that that might cause some embarrassment if you were to level the playing pitch in that regard.
The debate over how the centenary of 1916 should be marked has heated up again in recent days, after former Fine Gael taoiseach John Bruton said he believed the Rising did not meet the criteria for a just war.
Separately, Senator David Norris described the leaders of the 1916 in the Seanad last week as “traitors to their own cause”.