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Higgins should have attended City Hall event

Published 08/04/2016

Like many other Belfast citizens, I was terribly disappointed that President Michael D Higgins had withdrawn from the civic event at Belfast City Hall commemorating the Easter Rising.

Apparently, his decision was motivated by so-called "democratic" unionists, who declined invitations to the event. In that light, advisers felt his attendance would be controversial.

Might I offer a piece of advice to President Higgins? Bowing to intolerance is not the way to build an inclusive society.

Did those well-paid advisers even consider the feelings of the people of Belfast who regard Michael D Higgins as their president?

Those same people would have been delighted to have seen him at Belfast City Hall.

Belfast contributed in no small part to the Easter Rising. Charlie Monahan, from Short Strand, was the first volunteer to die in Easter Week. Two of the seven signatories, James Connolly and Sean Mac Diarmada, had strong connections.

Perhaps, in this centennial year, it is time the government in Dublin started to acknowledge the responsibility and, indeed, the debt of gratitude it has to Irish citizens in the north, rather than kowtowing to the ungraceful bluster of the naysayers who claim allegiance to another state?

EDDIE WHYTE

Sandefjord, Norway

Belfast Telegraph

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