Arlene Foster to attend 1916 Rising event

Arlene Foster at Parliament Buildings
Arlene Foster at Parliament Buildings

The DUP First Minister is to attend an Easter Rising event.

Arlene Foster is on record saying she was not prepared to “celebrate” the events of 1916, but said the Church of Ireland-organised event was “a more considered discussion” about the rebellion.

Entitled ‘A state of chassis – Ordinary People in Extraordinary Circumstances in Dublin in 1916,’ the panel discussion is being hosted at Christ Church Cathedral.

In a statement, the Church of Ireland said the group would “mark the centenary of the Easter Rising with an evening of engaging presentations by leading Irish historians”.

Last month, Mrs Foster said she would not attend any centenary commemorations of the “very violent” Irish rebellion.

On Monday, she said: “I made it clear previously that whilst I will not celebrate the events of the Easter rebellion I would be open to attending a more considered discussion about events in 1916.

“This event is not a commemoration of the events of Dublin in 1916 but is in line with the type of event I indicated that I would be happy to attend.”

Mrs Foster added: “I will be attending this event and look forward to an opportunity of gaining a deeper historical knowledge of events and to hear the stories of ordinary people coming from a range of differing viewpoints.”

The discussion will be chaired by historian and broadcaster Dr John Bowman, and will feature Dr Fearghal McGarry (Queen’s University Belfast) and Dr Jason McElligott (Marsh’s Library, Dublin).

According to the Church of Ireland, Dr Fearghal McGarry will “set the Easter Rising in context and also focus on what new sources and research tell us about the experience of rank-and-file rebels and ordinary Dubliners during Easter Week, including a discussion of Church of Ireland experiences”.

On Monday night the Church of Ireland clarified that their original press release had been “mistakenly” titled ‘Church of Ireland to Commemorate Easter Rising’.

A spokesman said the word ‘commemorate’ was used in error.