Ulster Unionist Michael Copeland has declined the offer from Bertie Ahern to attend the 90th Anniversary celebrations of the 1916 Easter Rising. He told the Irish Times (subs needed):”It is up to people of the Republic to celebrate their own past in whatever way they think appropriate. We have no problem with that, but their version of history would not be our version of history.”
“The Easter insurgency which took place during the Great War led to the death of approximately 30 rebels, 200 British servicemen and over 200 innocent Dublin citizens”.
“It took place at a time when 300,000 Irishmen of all religions were serving as volunteers in the British army, 50,000 of whom gave their lives.
“It heralded the end of the long and honourable tradition of constitutional Irish nationalism and brought to the fore the blood sacrifice ethos of armed republicanism which led directly to the partition of this island and the Irish Civil War.”