Stephen Collins: Higgins didn’t follow through on McAleese’s message of hope

President’s decision on partition event has breathed new life into a narrow nationalism

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney and British prime minister Boris Johnson were among those in attendance at St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh for a service to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland. Video: Reuters

The unavoidable absence of Queen Elizabeth from the church ceremony in Armagh to mark the 100th anniversary of partition may have spared the blushes of the deliberately absent President Michael D Higgins, but it has not assuaged the embarrassment felt by all those who believe in a genuine parity of esteem between the two traditions on this island.

What precisely the President found so offensive about the event organised by the four leading Christian denominations in Ireland, billed as a Service for Reflection and Hope, is still not clear but his refusal to attend has raised a number of uncomfortable questions about the commitment of the Irish State to genuine reconciliation.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.