DUBLIN — Irish President Michael D. Higgins says he won’t attend a religious ceremony alongside Queen Elizabeth II commemorating the foundation of Northern Ireland a century ago. As part of Northern Ireland’s Good Friday peace accord of 1998, Ireland agreed to remove the territorial claim from its constitution. But that document still separately considers the head of state to be president of Ireland — representing Irish people worldwide, not merely the republic. The elfin 80-year-old has held the largely ceremonial post since 2011 and has often invited northern unionists to summer parties at his opulent official residence in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. “Each time President Higgins speaks about his boycott of this event, the rationale for his snub becomes more bizarre, backward and offensive,” said Democratic Unionist Party lawmaker Peter Weir.
Related:CBS NEWS - 2 men charged with murder of Lyra McKee, a well-known Northern Irish journalist
Two men appeared in court Friday in connection with the murder of Lyra McKee, a well-known Northern Irish journalist shot dead as she covered rioting in Londonderry in 2019. The New IRA, a small paramilitary group that opposes Northern Ireland's peace process, said its members shot McKee by accident while firing at police. Journalist Lyra McKee smiles outside the Sunflower Pub on Union Street during a portrait session in Belfast, Northern Ireland May 19, 2017. McKee was an increasingly influential journalist who had written powerfully about growing up gay in Northern Ireland. Sara Canning, partner of Lyra McKee, walks behind her coffin as it is carried out of St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast, northern Ireland, Wednesday April 24, 2019.