Arlene Foster declines invitation to Pope’s speech
Irish Government had asked the DUP leader to attend the pontiff’s speech in Dublin Castle
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader and former Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster said she would be away with her family at the time. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The Irish Government had asked her to attend a speech by the pontiff in Dublin Castle on Saturday, August 25th.
A DUP statement said: “Mrs Foster appreciates the invitation but regretfully will be away with her family at that time.
The head of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Moderator Dr Charles McMullen, earlier said he was “very pleased” to accept an invitation to attend papal visit events at Dublin Castle and Croke Park.
Stormont powersharing between the DUP and Sinn Féin is suspended in a row over identity issues like the Irish language, during which Mrs Foster has faced criticism from republicans.
She has also met Irish speakers and watched Gaelic games as conciliatory gestures.–PA