THE NORTH of Ireland’s new First Minister is set to attend an Easter Rising event tomorrow – just weeks after calling the Rising “a very violent attack on the state”.
Though she said she would not attend any commemorative events for the centenary of the Rising, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster is attending the Church of Ireland-run event in Dublin’s Christchurch Cathedral tomorrow.
The event, which examines the historic impact of the Easter Rising on Ireland, is “not a commemoration”, the First Minister said in a statement.
The “lively discussion”, as Ms Foster called it, will be chaired by Queen’s University Belfast historian Dr Fearghal McGarry and will feature several of Ireland’s most prominent history academics.
Ms Foster insisted she was not going back on her word – but said that the event was in line with what she said she would be willing to attend.
“This event is not a commemoration of the events of Dublin in 1916 but is in line with the type of event I indicated that I would be happy to attend,” Ms Foster said in a statement yesterday.
A Church of Ireland spokesperson reiterated that the event was not being staged as a "commemoration" of the rebellion, but was "designed to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising by exploring it historically".
Ms Foster took up her post in the Northern Irish Government last month, replacing former First Minister Peter Robinson.
The talk, entitled' Ordinary People in Extraordinary Circumstances', will take place in Christchurch Cathedral tomorrow evening at 7.30pm.