The Ulster Unionist Party leader says the President's decision not to attend an upcoming religious centenary event that will mark the 100th anniversary of partition, and the foundation of Northern Ireland, is "disappointing and hard to fathom".
Doug Beattie says next month's church service in Armagh is an opportunity to promote reconciliation on the anniversary of partition, and can be marked without the need for celebration.
Michael D Higgins had stated the naming of the event wasn't a 'neutral statement', and said that it had become politicised.
Meanwhile a poll for today's Mail on Sunday shows 81 percent of people agree with the President's decision not to attend the ceremony.
UUP leader Doug Beattie hopes the government will still send a representative to the service, and doesn't believe it's too late for the President to reconsider: