Arlene Foster: Easter Rising talk a serious historical reflection

First Minister Arlene Foster speaks to the media at Wednesday night's event in Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin
First Minister Arlene Foster speaks to the media at Wednesday night's event in Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin

The fact that 17 Irishmen were fighting in the Great War for every one involved in the 1916 rebellion was the most striking aspect of a historical discussion in Dublin, Arlene Foster has said.

The First Minister attended the Church of Ireland-organised event at Christ Church Cathedral on Wednesday night.

Mrs Foster said afterwards that she was pleased to have taken part in the event, and again stressed that it could not be described as “commemorating” the events of 1916.

“I have already indicated that I will not be taking part in any commemoration events. Last night’s event was a serious historical reflection conducted in a dignified and respectful manner and I thank the organisers for inviting me to listen to the discussion.

“I was pleased to be able to join with the Church of Ireland at this historical lecture event to listen to different views on events of Easter 1916 and beyond.

“The historical presentations gave a perspective to the events of that time and placed them in the context of wider circumstances.”

Mrs Foster added: “Perhaps the most striking aspect of the evening that struck me was the comment that for every one Irishman involved in the Easter 1916 rebellion 17 Irishmen were out fighting in the Great War.

“For me that puts the Dublin Easter week into perspective and these facts help challenge those who present a simple republican narrative of history.”