THE Lord Mayor of Dublin has denied he is trying to block members of Britain’s Royal Family from attending centenary celebrations of the 1916 Rising.
Christy Burke took to the airwaves this morning to defend himself after media reports claimed he wanted to bar the Royals from Dublin in Easter 2016.
He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme that rather than a blanket ban, he wanted to ensure no Royals would be sitting in the front row for any commemoration events.
"I'm not setting out to block any member of the royal family from attending any event in Dublin,” he said.
“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."
Today’s Irish Times claimed that Mr Burke is to seek support for a motion blocking any British Royal presence at 1916 Rising commemoration events.
It reported that the Lord Mayor, a former Sinn Féin councillor who became independent in 2009, was not concerned about the signals his move would send to Britain.
His motion is to stress that that the centenary belongs to those who gave their lives in 1916 and will be tabled at a the forthcoming meeting of Dublin City Council, the first Mr Burke has chaired since being elected to office earlier this month.
Speaking on RTÉ, Mr Burke explained his concern that a British Royal presence could distract attention "away from the focus of what we're commemorating".
But 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.”