Belfast Telegraph

Friday 27 May 2016

Easter Rising: DUP's Foster will have nothing to do with centenary of rebellion in Ireland

By Rebecca Black

Published 08/01/2016

Scene from O'Connell Street in Dublin, during the Easter Rising
Scene from O'Connell Street in Dublin, during the Easter Rising
INDH27 Easter Rising 1916: British troops barricade City Hall. Published 1920. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH23 Easter Rising 1916: Troops inspecting car on Mount Street Bridge. Published 1916. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH26 Easter Rising 1916: Troops searching bread van for arms. Published 1916. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH22E Easter Rising 1916: Troops being marched to barracks, 1916. Published 1916. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH22B Easter Rising 1916: O'Connell bridge and street, 1916. Published 1916. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH22 Easter Rising 1916: Coliseum theatre, Henry Street, destroyed following the 1916 Rising. Published 1916. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH29 Easter Rising 1916: British troops searching a car. Published 1920. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
Easter Rising:Anniversary/Standard bearers head the parade into Milltown Cemetery, Falls Road, BELFAST, for the graveside ceremony. 12/4/1966
INDH22C Easter Rising 1916: Ruins of Freeman Press and Telegraph, 1916. Published 1916. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH22A Easter Rising 1916: Head office of ITGWU, destroyed following the 1916 Rising. Published 1916. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH28 Easter Rising 1916: British troops loading vehicle. Published 1920. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
Patrick Pearse
GPO in ruins 1916: Soldiers survey the interior of the post pffice in Sackville Street, Dublin, during the Easter Rising of 1916. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The GPO in Dublin which was seized by the rebels during the Easter Rising of 1916
Sir Roger Casement
Arlene Foster
The GPO in Dublin which was seized by the rebels during the Easter Rising of 1916
Mass destruction: The GPO in Dublin was the centre of the Easter Rising in 1916
Interviews with volunteers who took part in the Irish War of Independence including the Easter Rising could be made public
Standing tall: old revolutionaries commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in 1966
Library filer dated 10/06/1932 of Eamon De Valera on the steps of 10 Downing Street, London. British diplomats could not refrain from gloating over the absence of world leaders at the funeral of the Irish republican leader Eamon de Valera according to official papers made public Thursday December 29, 2005. Ireland's former prime minister and president, who had been jailed by the British after the 1916 Easter Rising, died in 1975 at the age of 92.

First Minister in waiting Arlene Foster has vowed she will not be associated with anything to do with marking the centenary of the Easter Rising.

Her stance has been blasted as "disappointing" by Sinn Fein, just days before she is sworn in as First Minister.

Arlene Foster
Arlene Foster

Republicans across Ireland are preparing to celebrate the centenary of the Dublin-based rebellion against the then British administration. Although the rising was a failure, it sparked a wider effort which resulted in Ireland getting its independence a few years later.

Plans for commemorations in Northern Ireland have already sparked rows at a number of councils.

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said he will not attend any Rising commemoration events, but his party is planning its own event to "challenge the causes and consequences of Easter 1916".

In her New Year message Mrs Foster struck a conciliatory note when she said: "We will reflect on the centenary of the Easter Rising and the role events in Dublin in 1916 had in the creation of Northern Ireland."

But in an interview this week with the Impartial Reporter, she gave her personal view when she was asked if she would attend an Easter Rising event

She said: "I certainly would not commemorate a violent attack on the United Kingdom. I can understand why those of a republican deposition would want to commemorate that event but I certainly wouldn't want to be associated with it."

"You have to remember that the rebellion led to a loss of hundreds of lives, Irish people being killed, I would say needlessly at that time," she said.

Mrs Foster explained: "The rebellion which took place 100 years ago this Easter was directly to attack the State to which I owe my allegiance. I don't think I would be invited, but even if I was invited, I certainly would not be going to commemorate a violent attack on the United Kingdom."

Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015
The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Irish Republican Socialist Movement Easter Commemoration Parade Pictured the Irish Republican Socialist Movement Easter Commemoration Parade as it makes its way through west Belfast to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly during The Easter Rising parade which makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 Republican Sinn Fein parade at Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is Niall ? Donnghaile during the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is Lord Mayor of Belfast Arder Carson during the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is Lord Mayor of Belfast Arder Carson during the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is Gerry Kelly duringthe Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Irish Republican Socialist Movement Easter Commemoration Parade Pictured the Irish Republican Socialist Movement Easter Commemoration Parade as it makes its way through west Belfast to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Irish Republican Socialist Movement Easter Commemoration Parade Pictured the Irish Republican Socialist Movement Easter Commemoration Parade as it makes its way through west Belfast to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Irish Republican Socialist Movement Easter Commemoration Parade Pictured the Irish Republican Socialist Movement Easter Commemoration Parade as it makes its way through west Belfast to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Irish Republican Socialist Movement Easter Commemoration Parade Pictured the Irish Republican Socialist Movement Easter Commemoration Parade as it makes its way through west Belfast to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Irish Republican Socialist Movement Easter Commemoration Parade Pictured the Irish Republican Socialist Movement Easter Commemoration Parade as it makes its way through west Belfast to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Irish Republican Socialist Movement Easter Commemoration Parade Pictured the Irish Republican Socialist Movement Easter Commemoration Parade as it makes its way through west Belfast to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Sunday 5th April 2015 - Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast Pictured is the Main Easter commemoration Parade in West Belfast that made its way from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery Picture Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Pacemaker Press 5/4/2015 The Easter Rising parade makes it's way along the Falls Road to Milltown cemetary this afternoon on the 1916 uprising anniversary. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

The new DUP leader also spoke about her "excitement" at taking over as First Minister from Peter Robinson next week.

Sinn Fein MLA Chris Hazzard voiced his disappointment at Mrs Foster's stance.

"This is an important year of commemorations as we mark the centenaries of the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme," he said.

"Both of these events are landmarks in our history and Sinn Féin has made it clear that both anniversaries should be marked inclusively and respectfully. Doing so would demonstrate a genuine political maturity.

"Therefore it is disappointing that Arlene Foster has said she does not want to be associated with any events commemorating the Rising.

"The Easter Rising commemorations will not only mark the anniversary in a dignified and respectful manner, but will also provide an opportunity to engage in positive and constructive dialogue with a wide range of opinion from across the political spectrum."

An Ulster Unionist spokesman said: "Mike Nesbitt has already made clear the Ulster Unionist Party will not be celebrating the Rebellion, but nor will we ignore the event that started the chain of events that led to the partition of the island and the creation of Northern Ireland.

"We will continue our practice of recent years of visiting Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin to lay wreaths at the graves of some of the British soldiers who lost their lives in 1916.

"We are also planning to hold our own event which will challenge the causes and consequences of Easter 1916. This is not something that can be ignored because the impact still reverberates today and we should accept the challenge of how to deal with its legacy."

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