Pearse Doherty says President Higgins was "absolutely right" not to attend centenary
"I think it would be wrong for the Cabinet to take the decision today to actually send Simon Coveney."
Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has said that President Higgins was "absolutely right" in his decision not to attend an event to mark the centenary of partition in Northern Ireland this month.
Doherty also said that the government shouldn't send Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to attend the service organised by church leaders due to take place in Armagh on 21 October.
"President Higgins was absolutely right in deciding not to attend that event,” Doherty told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
"This isn't about reconciliation, this is about commemorating partition, an act that had a devastating impact on our country."
Doherty added that he doesn't believe "any country in the world" would be involved in commemorating an event that had "such a devastating consequence on your island in terms of partition".
"I think the President was right, I think the public was behind the President's decision and I think it would be wrong for the Cabinet to take the decision today to actually send Simon Coveney," he continued.
Higgins chose to decline his invite to the event, which will be attended by the Queen of England, after months of consideration due to concerns over the neutrality of the gathering.
Doherty also said that Sinn Féin would not participate if a cross-party group were to attend the service.
"This is a service about commemorating partition. Sinn Féin would not be party to that," he said.
"In relation to reconciliation, you've seen down through the years many occasions where we've stretched ourselves, indeed we know that we have to stretch ourselves even further as the debate on Irish unity continues."
Main Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie.