Dublin mayor denies attempt to block royals from 1916 celebrations

Thursday 19 June 2014 15.26
Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke (C) said he had been asked to make representations to the Taoiseach
Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke (C) said he had been asked to make representations to the Taoiseach

Dublin's Lord Mayor Christy Burke has denied he is attempting to block members of the British royal family from attending the 1916 Rising centenary celebrations.

Mr Burke told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that he just wanted to ensure no royals were placed in front row positions when the celebrations take place.

He also said he has been in consultation with some of the families of 1916 participants.

Mr Burke was responding to a story in today's Irish Times which claimed the Mayor was seeking support for a motion at next month's meeting of Dublin City Council prohibiting the British royals from participating.

Mr Burke said this was not his intention.

He said: "I'm not setting out to block any member of the royal family from attending any event in Dublin.

"I'm asking the Taoiseach if he would consider not putting any members of the royal family in the front row or strategic positions during the 2016 commemorative, given the fact that relatives of men and women of 1916 have yet to be told that they will be even in attendance."

The Lord Mayor said he had been asked to make representations to the Taoiseach on the issue, amid concerns that the presence of members of the British royal family could deflect media attention "away from the focus of what we're commemorating".

He said he had "no beef" with anyone, and did not hold anyone in contempt.

He added: "If the Taoiseach is going to invite members of the Royal Family to dinner, or (President) Michael D (Higgins), that's fine by me. Who am I to stop it? The Queen arrived in Ireland."

Mr Burke is an independent councillor and was formerly a Sinn Féin representative before he left the party in 2009.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he has noted Mr Burke’s comments.

Mr Kenny said the mayor may have been "a bit over-enthusiastic in expecting that members of the British royal family would be standing outside the GPO on Easter Sunday 2016".

He said the Government was trying to put together a series of commemorative events that would be inclusive, comprehensive, sensitive and fair.