Former Tipperary politician supports President’s decision to decline Northern invite

(c) Pat Flynn

A former South Tipperary TD and Minister of State has supported the President’s decision not to attend a centenary event marking the partition of Ireland.

President Michael D Higgins declined an invite to a church service in Armagh, which would mark the formation of Northern Ireland.

Speaking on Tipp Today this morning, Martin Mansergh, who had a role in formulating the Good Friday agreement, supported the President’s decision, saying that attending such an event would have caused a lot of division.

“The President represents the State and the danger, obviously, is that if he had accepted, this would have caused a lot of controversy and some people, in fact many people, might have been unhappy about it and find it difficult to explain exactly what he was doing.

“I suppose my fundamental attitude is a pragmatic one, it’s perhaps a bridge too far, a bit too ambitious and I think we need to be a bit careful about pressurising people to do this, that and the other in the name of peace and reconciliation.”

He added that former Taoiseach John Bruton should not have come out in criticism of the President’s decision.