IRELAND’S MINISTER for the Diaspora has assured relatives of those killed in the 1916 Easter Rising that they will play a central role in the 100th anniversary commemorations.
Jimmy Deenihan addressed concerns made by some members of the 1916 Relatives Association – including Jim Connolly Heron, great grandson of James Connolly – who felt relatives had been left in “limbo” by the Irish Government over what they see as delays in the commemoration’s event outline and guest list.
They said Mr Deenihan, in his role as Minister for Arts and Heritage, had back in July committed to giving an outline by mid-September and that this had not been forthcoming.
The Relatives Association are hoping to have an event outline planned for next spring in order to assure a “dry run” can take place one year before the centenary celebrations of the 1916 Easter Rising against British Rule.
It’s part of a series of major events is being mooted by Dublin City Council to commemorate the Easter Rising.
Mr Deenihan told The Irish Post: “I have explained quite clearly where I stand and that was that the relatives would be very central to the commemorations.
“That was the way I was preparing for 1916 commemorations.”
He added: “I don’t think it’s any different now. It’s just because the person that replaced me – Heather Humphries – it took her a few months to get used to the office and to be brought up to date with various initiatives.”
The minister added that a “substantial allocation” had been made for funding in Ireland’s budget, which was announced earlier this month, including an event on Arbour Hill, an exhibition in the GPO and the upgrading of the Richmond Barracks.
Mr Deenihan added: “But I’m confident that the relatives will be included and will be very much a part of the commemoration. Also, I would hope to do something as Minister for the Diaspora because this is such an important issue for the Diaspora who would have had relatives involved in 1916.”
“They will get due recognition for the sacrifices that their relatives made and it’s going to be a very special occasion.”
The minister said it was “only proper and fair” that relatives would play a central role in the commemorations.
“I’m convinced and confident we’ll be ready for 2016,” he added.
Last week it was reported that no invitation to the 1916 celebrations has been extended to the British royal family.
A spokesperson for Minister Humphries told The Herald: “Minister Humphreys is of the same view of Minister Deenihan on this issue.” The spokesman noted that “no one person or body had been contacted about the celebrations as of yet” adding “No invitations have been issued to any group or organisation for 1916 commemorative events.”
Meanwhile a committee has been launched at St Michael’s Irish Centre in Liverpool to mark the involvement of the men and women who played important roles in the 1916 rebellion.
As well as a publication, The Liverpool Easter 1916 Commemoration Committee also plans to erect a monument in the Merseyside city.