Church service in Armagh to mark Northern Ireland centenary

·2 min read

A church service in Armagh will take place on Thursday to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland’s formation.

The Queen had been due to attend as part of a visit to Northern Ireland, but her trip was cancelled on Wednesday after she “reluctantly accepted medical advice to rest for the next few days”, Buckingham Palace said.

The service became the centre of a row last month after the president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, declined an invitation to attend because he believed it was not politically neutral.

The Queen
The Queen has decided not to travel to Northern Ireland (PA)

The Irish government will be represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and chief whip Jack Chambers.

Earlier this month, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said his government’s stance “doesn’t in any way undermine the position of the president”.

He said the president, as the head of state, “comes at these issues from a different perspective”.

The prayer service at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral has been organised by the four main churches to mark the formation of Northern Ireland and the partition of Ireland in 1921.

Church leaders expressed their sadness after learning the Queen would not be attending.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop John McDowell and Rev David Bruce will all attend
Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop John McDowell and Rev David Bruce will all attend (PA)

“We are very sorry to learn that it will not be possible for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to be present for the Service of Reflection and Hope in Armagh tomorrow,” they said in a statement.

The statement was signed by Presbyterian moderator David Bruce, Church of Ireland primate John McDowell, Catholic primate Eamon Martin, president of the Irish Council of Churches Ivan Patterson and president of the Methodist Church in Ireland Sahr Yambasu.

“We wish to convey to Her Majesty our good wishes and, in doing so, to acknowledge the significance of her commitment to the work of peace and reconciliation, which has meant a great deal to people throughout this island.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting