President and Taoiseach expected to attend funeral of Queen Elizabeth

Simon Coveney calls for relations with the UK government to be reset in the wake of Liz Truss becoming prime minister

President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Micheál Martin are expected to represent the State at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth in London on Monday week.

Leaders from all over the world are expected to travel for the ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

The Government is also likely to send a representative to a memorial service for the queen in Belfast on Tuesday. The service is also due to be attended by Britain’s newly-proclaimed King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla, who will meet the new Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton-Harris and Stormont party leaders.

Meanwhile, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has held out the prospect of King Charles visiting Ireland, saying he hoped the monarch would visit early in his reign, possibly within a year.


“He is somebody who has been to Ireland virtually every year with the exception of the Covid years for quite some time now,” he said.

Mr Coveney told RTÉ's This Week that “as Prince Charles” the now king had pledged to visit every county in Ireland.

“I know because I’ve been on a number of those visits with him how much he wants to use his position to try to reinforce and strengthen the British-Irish relationship and I suspect he’ll want to do the same as king,” he said. “So yes, I will be very surprised if we didn’t formally invite him early in his monarchy to come and to build on the relationship that his mother I think so successfully impacted on back in 2011.”

Asked about the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, Mr Coveney said her 2011 Irish visit “really did impact Ireland in terms of how we viewed her and the UK”.

The Minster also called for relations with the UK government to be reset in the wake of Liz Truss becoming prime minister last week, noting Dublin and Brussels were ready for “serious” talks on the Brexit protocol.

On reports of tension with Ms Truss when she was a minister, Mr Coveney said personal relationships and political responsibilities should be differentiated. He knew her well so they spoke “plainly” when counterparts.

“The approach that she decided to take as foreign secretary towards the protocol was in my view very unhelpful and it was an approach that I challenged with her personally and that meant that we had some difficult conversations but that’s politics,” Mr Coveney said.

“I met Liz Truss, before she became prime minister, in Westminster a number of weeks ago and the relationship I have with her on a personal level is very warm,” he added.

“But of course we need to now, I hope, use the fact that her position has changed, her responsibility has changed.

“She’s now the prime minister, and we need to try to use that change to reset relationships and to try to together find a way of solving the outstanding issues linked to the aftermath of Brexit and the Northern Ireland protocol.

“I believe we can do that by the way, not only the Irish government but the EU also has indicated that if the British government wants to start a process of now serious and honest negotiation we believe that we can work through the outstanding issues that can respond to legitimate concerns from the unionist community in Northern Ireland but also protect the protocol itself which was put together for very good reasons.”

On preparations for the budget this month, the Minister said on RTÉ radio the Government had not ruled out moves to cap energy bills at the rates prevailing before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent prices surging. The possibility of people receiving three €200 energy credit payments was also “under consideration” in the talks, he added.

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley is Current Affairs Editor of The Irish Times

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times