SCOTLAND'S former justice minister has joined the criticism of senior local government figures over their claims a call to mark the centenary of the Easter 1916 Rising was overly controversial.

Kenny MacAskill described the insurrection by Irish Republican rebels a century ago as "an important historical moment that should be commemorated", making particular reference to Edinburgh-born Rising leader and socialist James Connolly.

The SNP MSP has already lodged a motion on marking the centenary and Connolly's role in the Scottish parliament, securing the support of several Labour members and many from within his own party.

His comments come after the country's pre-eminent historian Professor Sir Tom Devine slated senior figures at Glasgow City Council, accusing them of historic ignorance following warnings over how a motion on the most significant event in modern Irish history could be construed.

Professor Sir Tom's intervention followed claims by the authority's opposition SNP group that it was pressurised by one of the authority's most senior officials into withdrawing elements of its motion for next week's full council.

The SNP claimed a line stating that "Irish Republicanism at this time was also heavily linked with both the labour movement in Ireland and the push for women’s suffrage" was too contentious for council officers who warned of its possible public impact.

The council claims it did not raise the words "Irish Republican and did not recommend that they be removed" but confirmed it advised the SNP group "to consider whether the motion could be regarded as controversial".

Mr MacAskill said: "I have no problem on the 1916 Rising. It is an important historical moment that should be commemorated. Connolly was born in the capital and lived his very early years here. His birthplace should remember that as should elsewhere in Scotland.

"The 1916 Rising is nothing to do with football tribalism. His was a revolutionary argument irrespective of religion or sectarianism. As I recall his wife was both English and a Methodist. Connolly also fought in the Irish Citizen Army if I was to be pedantic."

He added: "The 1916 Rising is a major historical event in Ireland but also in Scotland and elsewhere in the world. We have specific links with those who fought and especially with Connolly. It is right to celebrate it."

Stephen Coyle, secretary of the 1916 Rising Centenary Committee (Scotland), which launched its plans for a series of commemorative events at the Irish Consulate in Edinburgh earlier this year, said: "The Committee has the backing of the mainstream Irish cultural, heritage and sporting organisations.

"We have organised an ambitious programme of events to mark the centenary of the Rising, with funding from the Irish Government. We are politically neutral, non sectarian and inclusive. ?We work closely with civic Scotland including governmental and academic institutions.

"The Easter Rising was the single most important event in modern Irish history, and for that reason alone it is worthy of commemoration."

The Easter Rising was an armed insurrection centred around Dublin in April 1916 by various groups of Irish Republicans seeking to militarily bring an end to British rule in Ireland.

Quickly suppressed by the British Army and leading to the execution of the rebellion's leaders, it did however fuel support for independence and Republicanism, with independence for 26 of Ireland's 32 counties granted six years later.