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Republic to offer unionists 'hand of friendship' over 1916

By Katherine Donnelly

Published 03/04/2015

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with actors in period costume yesterday at the 1916 Easter Rising event in Clifton House, Belfast, including Bartle D’Arcy (left), who is helping organise the centenary plans
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with actors in period costume yesterday at the 1916 Easter Rising event in Clifton House, Belfast, including Bartle D’Arcy (left), who is helping organise the centenary plans

The Republic's Arts Minister Heather Humphreys has said the Irish government will be extending "a hand of friendship" to unionists in relation to the 1916 commemorations.

But there has been no discussion yet about invitations to any of the ceremonies.

Ms Humphreys said there been "great engagement" with communities in Northern Ireland about the World War One centenary and the 2016 programme would be pursued in the same "spirit of openness".

The minister was speaking at the launch of University College Dublin's Decade of Centenaries programme marking the events of 100 years ago.

Meanwhile, Tanaiste Joan Burton warned that Sinn Fein will look to "claim ownership" of next year's Easter Rising commemorations, adding that the term 'republicanism' does not belong to any one group.

The Labour leader also claimed signatories of the 1916 Proclamation would "deeply regret and resent" the IRA sex abuse controversy that has engulfed Sinn Fein.

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