Dáil debates

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

3:00 am

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 to 12, inclusive, together.

The commemorative programme organised for the 90th anniversary of the rising has been very successfully implemented this year. I am satisfied that the national response and appreciation justified the considerable effort. I thank the all-party Oireachtas group for its support in developing the programme. It contributed significantly to achieving the appropriate balance and content in the commemorations.

I propose that arrangements for 2007 and the years continuing toward the centenary be discussed by the all-party group before the Government adopts any particular proposals with regard to this important strand of our national history. Without prejudice to this consultation, I am inclined towards the development of an alternative military ceremonial, centred on the GPO, involving a sustainable commitment for the Defence Forces over the coming years towards the centenary. I would be satisfied to include the commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the first Dáil among the issues to be considered by the all-party group.

As we progress in the 21st century across the centenary anniversaries of the salient events of the social, cultural and political movement towards independence, it is important that we sustain a consensus view on a suitable commemorative programme. Our history is deeper and anniversaries arise of events across many centuries. There will be many other commemorative initiatives besides the centenary programme for the rising. Officials in my Department are looking at a number of interesting possibilities. Having regard to the many possible themes and treatments, including programmes of events abroad, and mindful of previous commemorations, separate announcements will issue in this regard over the coming months from my office and from other Ministers.


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