HE made headlines yesterday after criticising the government's controversial proposals to invite the British royal family to the 1916 Rising centenary celebrations.

But Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke insists his stance has been accepted by senior British representatives.

Burke, who left Sinn Fein to become an Independent councillor in 2009, held a meeting in Dublin yesterday with the British Ambassador and the Deputy Mayor of London, in which he discussed his concerns over extending an invitation to the royals.

And speaking after the talks, he said the senior British officials fully understood his position and his intention to table a motion to block any British royal presence at the event.

In an interview with TheJournal.ie, he also insisted he had not intended to offend anyone, but was merely articulating the views that a lot of people had made to him.

He said: "They [British Ambassador and Deputy Mayor of London] accept my position and understand my comments.

"No offence was intended by me. I explained that at the meeting this morning and if I offended anyone, I apologise."

Cllr, Burke, who was elected to office earlier this month, will be meeting with some of the families of 1916 personnel on Sunday to discuss plans for the celebration, which will take place in March 1916.

But he stressed that a number of Irish citizens had already voiced their concerns that the presence of members of the British Royal Family at the event would divert the attention away from the true significance of the commemorations.

He explained: "A lot of citizens expressed concerns that if the royal family were sitting up front at the GPO for the commemorations, they would take the focus.

"This is our nation's history and the relatives of those who died in the 1916 Rising should be up front."

Burke's latest comments follow a reports that he will seek support for a motion at the next Dublin City Council meeting to block any British royal presence at the event out of respect to those "who gave their lives in 1916".

Proposals to invite royals, including Prince Charles and Camilla, are seen as a reflection of the warming ties between the two countries.

But the moves have already stoked the fires in political circles, with Fianna Fail member Billy Kelleher stating: "It is nothing against the British monarchy, but the primary purpose of this commemoration is to celebrate the 1916 Rising.

"There are lots of complexities in Irish history and before we start inviting heads of state from around the world, let's have our own discussion."

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