Irish President Michael D Higgins has come under fire for declining an invitation to attend a church service marking Northern Ireland’s centenary. The event which is to be attended by the Queen has been criticised by the President for being “politicised.”
He said his issue was the title of the service, which started out as a “religious service” but had “become a political statement”.
“I was also referred to as the President of the Republic of Ireland. I am the President of Ireland.”
Mr Higgins, who was in Rome on Friday for a meeting with the Pope, said he will not be revisiting his decision to stay away from next month’s event in Armagh.
“We are past the point now and I think it is unfortunate,” he told the Irish Times.
“There is no question of any snub intended to anybody. I am not snubbing anyone, and I am not part of anyone’s boycott of any other events in Northern Ireland.”