Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny has proposed inviting members of the British Royal Family to Dublin to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.
The Fine Gael leader made the proposal during an interview with BBC television broadcaster Andrew Marr.Kenny used his appearance on national television in Britain to raise the prospect of a royal visit to Ireland at the time of the centenary of the 1916 Rising.
Kenny stated, “It should be possible for members of the royal family to visit Dublin during those centenary commemoration ceremonies in 2016.
“It would be another event in the continuing closeness and closer relationship between both our countries.
“We’ve got to move on and not be blocked by the past. The queen herself spoke in Dublin Castle, which was the symbolic head of the British Empire in this country for several hundred years.
“She said if you looked at history, there were some things you might do differently and some things you might not do at all, and her contribution in Dublin three years ago closed a circle of history.”
Kenny made his remarks as he prepares to accompany Irish President Michael D Higgins on part of his historical state visit to Britain, the first by an Irish president.
Former IRA leader Martin McGuinness, now Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister, will join the queen at a state banquet in honor of President Higgins at Windsor Castle this week.
And the Irish PM has welcomed McGuinness’s decision to accept the queen’s invitation to dinner.
He told the BBC, “This is all part of the building of relationships between the two countries and peoples on both sides of a divide.
“He’s an elected member of the executive services, Deputy First Minister. Symbolically, it’s of enormous importance, but also practically in that it brings the relationship between the two countries and the two peoples to an unprecedented level.
“This was unthinkable 20 years ago and it’s happening next week. So, it’s of enormous significance ... for the efforts Her Majesty made when she came here on her royal visit and on the participation and, indeed, excitement of the Irish people living throughout Britain.”
President Higgins has also expressed his wish that such visits would become ‘frequent and regular’ in respect of both states. He said, “The busy itinerary points to the enthusiasm and generosity of our hosts and an expression of the importance of the visit.
“This is really the opening of a whole new chapter in our relationship.”