Cameron's 1916 Invite; Kenny Will Ask British PM to Attend 100th Anniversary

Daily Mail (London), April 18, 2011 | Go to article overview

Cameron's 1916 Invite; Kenny Will Ask British PM to Attend 100th Anniversary


Byline: Senan Molony Political Editor

ENDA KENNY will fly to London today for his first formal meeting with David Cameron - and could ask the British prime minister to attend the Easter 1916 centenary celebrations.

The Taoiseach will also use the occasion to signal both governments' determination to support the North's peace agreement.

He and Mr Cameron will present a united front against an upsurge in terrorist activity by republican splinter groups, which earlier this month murdered PSNI constable Ronan Kerr.

The pair are expected to make a joint appearance in Downing Street after their talks, to convey their unity against the threat of dissident violence, which was reinforced by the discovery of an abandoned 500lb bomb in Newry last week.

Mr Kenny is also expected to ask Mr Cameron for access to intelligence files on the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings, in which 34 people died in a series of car-bombs.

Requests to see the files by two Irish commissions investigating the Republic's worst single day of the Troubles have been denied by British authorities.

The Queen is due to begin her historic four-day visit to Ireland on May 17 - the 37th anniversary of the bombs.

The Taoiseach has already received a letter from Justice for the Forgotten, which represents the families of the victims, in which the group says that access to the files would be a timely and appropriate gesture towards reconciliation. Mr Kenny also intends to raise with Mr Cameron the sensitivities surrounding the joint handling of potentially provocative anniversaries that are to occur in the next few years.

They include the centenary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant in 1912, the Dublin lock-out of 1913, the Bachelors Walk Masscare, and the Larne gunrunning of 1914.

The Fine Gael leader is also expected to touch on the importance of a British prime minister attending the formal Easter Rising centenary celebrations at the GPO in Dublin.

However, Britain must hold a general election by 2014 so both he and Mr Kenny could be out of office before then.

The Queen's wreath-laying at the Garden of Remembrance to the Irish patriots who fought George V's troops in 1916 and in the subsequent War of Independence will have laid the groundwork for the prime minister to come to Dublin to mark the anniversary.

Mr Cameron's apology for Bloody Sunday has already been welcomed by the Government.

The Taoiseach said yesterday: 'The purpose of my visit to London is three-fold. I want to meet with representatives of the Irish community and to recognise their contribution to our country and to life in Britain.

'And I will be meeting with the prime minister to emphasise our shared commitment to building on the peace process in the North and to deepening our bilateral relationship between Ireland and Britain, in all of its many dimensions.

'We will also share our views on current EU and economic issues.' And he said it was his intention to re-establish an Oireachtas consultation group, involving parties including Sinn Fein, on the commemorative programme to be brought forward for the centenary anniversaries.

'A substantial commemorative programme should be brought forward in respect of the events leading to the foundation of the State,' the Taoiseach said last week.

'With the passing of almost a century, most people in Ireland today have had little direct contact with the generation of that revolutionary era. It is important, therefore, that we commemorate the actions and acknowledge the achievements that have shaped modern Ireland.' He said he believed the celebrations should reflect not only the independence struggle's military history but the economic and social conditions of the period, and the 'cultural tides' that shaped the State's future.

Mr Kenny is also poised to make a protected area of the 'back lanes' of the revolution around Moore Street, where much of the drama took place after the GPO was evacuated. …

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