No role for royals: 1916 events to be strictly ‘Irish only’ affair

Irish based ambassadors will be the highest level of foreign dignitaries invited to events marking the centenary of the 1916 Rising, it has emerged.

The decision by the government to keep the historic events effectively ‘Irish only’ – by inviting just those already based in embassies here – removes any lingering doubt that any member of the British royal family might have attended next year’s celebrations.

The programme of events to mark the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, called Ireland 2016, was launched last year.

An updated programme of events was later revealed after opposition parties and the relatives of the 1916 rebels criticised initial plans.

The Government had initially indicated the British monarchy could play a role in the celebrations, following the highly successful visit of Michael D Higgins to the UK last year and Queen Elizabeth’s historic visit to Ireland in 2011.

However, it was later decided such a visit could prove to be a “distraction” and take from the events, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny ruling out any involvement by the British monarchy.

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