A KEY event marking next year’s 1916 commemorations in Dublin will be postponed until 2017, council officials have been forced to admit.
The commemorative 1916 Parade - which takes place along O’Connell Street every Easter – cannot take place in 2016, it was revealed today, as “necessary repair and regeneration work” has been scheduled for the iconic location during the period.
The O’Connell Street Improvement Scheme - a road and footpath resurfacing and regeneration project, which is due to get underway on March 20, 2016 and be completed by April 4, 2016 – will undertake long-awaited repair work along the busy Dublin thoroughfare, a Dublin City Council spokesperson told The Irish Post today.
“The City Council’s Road Construction & Design Division intends to close the following roads to facilitate the O’Connell Street Improvement Scheme,” they said.
“O’Connell Street Upper & Lower (Parnell Street to Bachelors Walk /Eden Quay), Dublin 1 from 6am on Monday, March 20, 2016 to 8pm on Monday, April 4, 2016.”
With Easter falling unusually early next year – with Good Friday on March 25 and Easter Sunday on March 27 - the Improvement Scheme restrictions will be in place across the entire Easter week - on the 100 year anniversary of the Easter Rising.
Ann Gree, of the Dublin 1916 Community Commemoration Organisation, told The Irish Post: “It’s a shock to say the least to get this news. At the moment there are many ideas being thrown around for 1916 commemorations next year, but the one thing we thought was guaranteed was the annual 1916 parade along O’Connell Street – the heartland of the battle for independence.”
She added: “A postponement to 2017 just does not cut it and we will be lodging an appeal against the planned resurfacing works with Dublin City Council.”
The Easter restrictions, which will see traffic diversions in place for public and local transport, and limited pedestrian access throughout the two-week period, mean the 1916 parade and related events cannot take place in the area during that time next year.
However Council officials claim the project was scheduled with the people of Dublin in mind - as students will enjoy an extended three week Easter holiday period in Ireland next year.
“We have to take decisions that will disrupt transport links in public places very early on,” a spokesperson told us.
“This decision was taken with the Easter holidays in mind – which are extended next year, due to the holiday falling so close to St Patrick’s Day.
“While it is unfortunate that this clashes with the Easter Rising anniversary, with many people leaving the city to take holidays in late March this period is where the least disruption would be caused to the public and local businesses for this necessary work to be undertaken as planned in 2016.”
Refusing to comment further on the clash with the planned 1916 commemorations – a hefty programme for which is being revealed by the Irish Government this week – the Council spokesperson claimed the public should instead look forward to “an even better parade” in 2017, due to the improvements being made to O’Connell Street in the €2.5million regeneration project.
“After waiting 100 years, surely waiting another year isn’t really that big a deal,” he added.