Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Commemorative Events

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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226. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the examination that has taken place into the possibility of annual State commemorations for figures with significant positive contributions to Irish culture and heritage. [32180/22]

Photo of Catherine MartinCatherine Martin (Dublin Rathdown, Green Party)
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My Department has considered this matter in the context of the most recent Decade of Centenaries Programmes and has informally consulted with the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations.  This is a sensitive and complex issue, which merits careful consideration.  The challenge for the State in identifying specific individuals for remembrance with an annual State-led commemoration is particularly complex.  As the Deputy will appreciate, this is a very personal matter for the family members of individuals who may be considered for remembrance in this way and any attempt at identifying these individuals could risk undermining the inclusive nature of the State’s approach to commemorating the Decade of Centenaries to date.

Currently the view is that such matters are best left to local authorities and other partners, who have autonomy to develop commemorative initiatives that help us look objectively at the events of our past in a non-judgemental way and provide authentic opportunities for engagement and remembrance.  I have provided funding of almost €2m to support local authorities in driving community-led commemoration this year.  There is scope for a rich diversity of interesting and engaging commemorative initiatives to be curated from within this allocation.  Each local authority is best placed to determine what is appropriate for their local area, in light of local history and expertise, and to make decisions concerning initiatives to be supported, including remembrance of figures of local significance where this is deemed appropriate.  My Department advises that all initiatives should be aligned with the principles and guidance of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations, and has provided comprehensive guidance for the allocation of funding to assist local authorities. 

Many figures and groups who have made positive contributions to all aspects of Irish life have been remembered throughout the Decade of Centenaries.  This will continue to be the case without the need for annual State-led commemorations.  It may be noted also that the Second Statement of Principles of the EAG (published in 2017) highlights the ‘danger of excessive official commemoration, which would not be practically or economically feasible.  Not everything to do with this Decade can be commemorated at State level’.

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