But, They’re Expecting You


President Michael D Higgins with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in Windsor Castle on his State Visit to the UK in 2014

This afternoon.

Further to President Higgins’ intention to skip a church service with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth next month to mark Northern Ireland’s centenary…

…via RTE:

Áras an Uachtaráin has not explained why President Higgins will not be at the service.

A spokesman for President Higgins said he is not in a position to attend the ceremony.

It is understood that the President’s attendance had been expected at the event.

The Catholic primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, will attend along with the heads of the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland and the Irish Council of Churches.

In a statement, the churches leaders said the service of “Reflection and Hope” will mark the centenaries of the partition of Ireland and the formation of Northern Ireland.

They said it was being held to contribute towards the work of building community and deepening relationships.

A spokesperson for Archbishop Martin said they had no further comment on the President’s attendance at the event.


President will not attend NI centenary service with Queen Elizabeth (RTÉ)

Earlier: A Limerick A Day


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19 thoughts on “But, They’re Expecting You

    1. Mr.T

      Modern diplomacy consists of lots of waffley language and going along with just about everything so as not to offend.

      Gone are the days when a head of state would take a proper stand against something like partition, at least, not in this country.

      1. U N M U T U A L

        …I think the needle on the national irony meter would melt, if he was to attend.

        “Having considered the Health (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2021, the President has signed the Bill and it has accordingly become law.”

    2. wearnicehats

      “NI was founded on Unionist bigotry, prejudice and hate” – been reading An Phoblacht again?

      Partition did mean, of course, that your relatives were spared being killed in World War 2.

      1. Rach

        Conscription wasn’t enforced in NI. More people from the south fought in WWII than people from NI. Ulster Unionists are great at declaring their loyalty and then scurrying away.

        1. Cian

          The numbers I can find are 50,000 NI versus 70,000 from RoI.

          Yes, NI sent fewer in total, but proportionally they sent more.

        2. wearnicehats

          The Belfast Blitz of 1941 killed 1100 civilians and destroyed over half of the city’s housing stock – primarily because the shipyards produced roughly 150 warships. 6 bombs fell accidentally in ireland

          I didn’t mention conscription but, while we’re there, it wasn’t enforced because the UK government felt that the fierce opposition to it from Northern Ireland Nationalists and the Catholic Church – and, in particular, the hold both of these held over America – was undermining morale and endangering relations with their allies. There was a reluctance from Nationalists to enlist because of the way they were treated by their own after WW1. There is no doubt that the number of unionist enlisters was comparatively low also – Churchill himself was scathing about it.

          You’re right that (approx 5000) more Irish enlisted although when you take that as a percentage of the population it’s not really comparable

          You also have to remember that a lot of these had family traditions to uphold, a lot were already enlisted in UK forces and a lot “deserted” from the Irish armed forces to the British. Primarily, however, it was money. Unemployment in Ireland at the time was a huge problem and the Irish and UK governments formed an unofficial agreement that allowed the Irish government to turn a blind eye to their own draconian rules that anyone under the age of 22 and anyone of any age in an agricultural role were forbidden to leave the state. Thus Irish people left, easing pressure on Irish unemployment whilst filling all the war jobs that Britain so desperately needed filled. It’s estimated that 250,000 people left the country for “war work” and inevitably a good proportion if them enlisted.

          Unfortunately many were met with hostility when they returned – primarily due to the kind of bigoted shinner nonsense that you seemingly hold so dear,

          1. Rach

            A United Ireland is very near. Especially after Brexit. But don’t worry, once that happens we won’t force you loyalists to stop breeding with your siblings. We’ll respect your tradition. You’ll still be able to bang your drums and burn your pallets and doff your bowler hats to your betters. We mean you no harm.

  1. Nilbert

    Will Prince Andrew be safe when he’s not hiding under Mater’s petticoats? Or will she have to bring him?

    1. paddy apathy

      He was at the funeral of Martin McGuinness, so yeah. And sure Mary’s from Belfast so of course she was up and down.

  2. Gringo

    Should be fun. A bunch of bible thumpers reflecting and hoping, for what? A better result from the next war? A circus of loons.

  3. paddy apathy

    They’ve been “building community and deepening relationships” for the last 60 years out of that 100 and still same divisions.
    Maybe the churches should stay out of it for a wee while, see how we get along.

    1. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

      well said Paddy, less of the church would give the North a fighting chance

  4. Cú Chulainn

    It’s the right decision not to go. Partition has been a social and economic disaster for this island. A leaving gift from British imperialism. Unionism is a toxic ism. One word they do understand – No.

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