Thursday, 1 February 2007
A commemoration will again be held this Easter Sunday at the GPO to mark the anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916. Following discussions at the all-party Oireachtas committee it has been decided that the format of this year's commemoration will be a military ceremony centred on the GPO with appropriate military honours rendered. There will not be a parade along the lines of the 2006 ceremony. However, there will be a reading of the proclamation and a flag-raising ceremony similar to what happened in last year's successful ceremony.
The exact details of the ceremony are being finalised at present by an interdepartmental committee involving my Department, the Defence Forces, the Department of the Taoiseach and all other relevant Departments and agencies. Therefore, I am not in a position to comment further on the details of the organisation.
Did the Minister say the ceremony will take place on Easter Sunday? Has he any idea of the numbers that may be involved? Does he foresee in the future a ceremony like the one that took place last year or would such an event have to wait until the centenary? I do not think he will be in his job for long enough but does he foresee a minor parade for the next few years?
The ceremony will take place on Easter Sunday. I cannot give the exact numbers but they will be considerably lower than last year. It will be a simple military ceremony, centred on the GPO and involving the raising of the flag and reading of the proclamation. I cannot control what is envisaged for the future but the committee met on 21 November and will meet again to finalise arrangements for Easter Sunday, when we can add to or subtract from them according to the Deputy's suggestions. At the moment a number of minor parades is envisaged for the immediate future. They may grow as we build towards the centenary. I will let the Deputy know what the committee proposes and will listen constructively to his suggestions.