Northern Ireland

Church of Ireland bishop attends Easter Rising commemoration

Bishop Pat Storey at Arbour Hill commemoration Image copyright Rte
Image caption Church of Ireland Bishop Pat Storey (left) said the decision to invite her was courageous

A Church of Ireland bishop has praised the decision to invite her to a 1916 Easter Rising commemoration in Dublin.

Bishop Pat Storey said the invitation to a "female, northern Protestant to speak at a Catholic, republican commemoration" was "courageous and generous".

Among those at the annual commemoration were Irish President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Bishop Storey said the decade of historic commemorations, a year before the centenary of the Easter Rising, was an "opportunity for not only remembering the past but creating and shaping the future".

Image copyright RTE
Image caption Church of Ireland Bishop Pat Storey addressed the Church of the Most Sacred Heart at Arbour Hill

She told the Arbour Hill commemoration on Wednesday that while the Easter Rising against British rule in Ireland was "not a part of my story," she wanted and needed to try to understand it.

"I need to walk in your shoes generously," she said.

"That means listening when I would rather speak; hearing your story when I would rather tell mine; relating to the commemorations of your community when I would rather remember wrongs done to mine."

The bishop, who grew up in Belfast and was a rector in Londonderry before she was elected, added: "Could we, together, commit to walking in each other's shoes for a time? Could we vow to be generous when we commemorate?

"It would take personal sacrifice, especially when you have endured personal loss, but perhaps this is the time to mend, and the time for generosity."

Bishop Storey, who was elected in 2013 by the Church of Ireland as Bishop of Meath and Kildare in the Republic of Ireland, said reflecting on history was a time for mending broken and wounded relationships.

"If Ireland is about anything, it is about relationships ... yet how often we have specialised in welcoming the tourist and the outsider, and deeply wounded one another," she said.

The 1916 Easter Rising saw Irish rebels attempt to seize the capital from British imperial forces.

British troops put down the rebellion and a number of its leaders were captured and executed.

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