Republic of Ireland news

Micheál Martin and Heather Humphreys will both consider invitations to controversial centenary church service

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys

MICHEÁL Martin has said he will give consideration to going to next month's church service in Armagh to mark the centenary of partition and the foundation of Northern Ireland.

President Michael D Higgins last week declined the invitation to the interdenominational service, which is due to be attended by Queen Elizabeth.

Unionists have criticised the president's decision.

The Republic's Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys, who has been mooted as a possible candidate to represent the Dublin government at the service, said she would be “very proud” to attend.

She said neither she or the taoiseach had received an invitation.

“Can I just say that if the government decided to send a representative and they did ask me to represent them, I would be very proud to represent the government as I have done in the past at many different events," she told Newstalk.

“So, as I said no invitation as yet and if there is one government will decide.”

She said she has never turned down the chance to represent the government.

"On every occasion, I have been more than proud to represent the Irish government at whatever event I was asked to attend,” she said.

President Higgins said a reference to partition in the title of the event "politicised" it and that it was therefore inappropriate for him to attend.

Mr Martin said he respected the president's judgement, adding that Mr Higgins had given “a lot of time and energy to commemoration”.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Republic of Ireland news