SINN FÉIN will host an event this weekend to commemorate the centenary of the historic first meeting of Dáil Éireann.
Only Sinn Féin MPs attended the meeting on January 21, 1919 in the Round Room of Dublin’s Mansion House, following the party’s landslide election victory a month earlier.
Despite being dubbed ‘futile and unreal’ by one Irish newspaper at the time, the event proved to be a crucial step en route to Ireland’s independence from Britain.
The party will host a commemorative event at the Mansion House this Saturday, January 12, to mark ‘an unequivocal act of national self-determination’.
An exhibition from 11.30am will be followed by the main event at 2pm, which will include an address by Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD.
'Desire for united Ireland'
“The meeting of the First Dáil Éireann was an unequivocal act of national self-determination,” said Sinn Féin spokesperson for Heritage and Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD.
“This followed the landslide election victory for Sinn Féin in 1918, which was an overwhelming endorsement of the desire for an independent and united Ireland.
“The Irish Republic established here 100 years ago was based on the proposition that the people are sovereign and that the public right and welfare comes before the interests of private profit and property.
“Never was that principle of the Democratic Programme needed more than it is now.”
This event is open to the public with entry permitted on a first come first served basis. The venue holds 550 people and doors open from 11.30am.
Lord mayor and state events
Next weekend, Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring will again open the venue to the public to mark the centenary.
The Mansion House will be open on Friday, January 18 from 10am to 8.30pm and from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, January 19 and Sunday, January 20.
Visitors will be able to walk through the historic public rooms and view an exhibition and memorabilia.
On the centenary itself, Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD will preside over a special centenary sitting of Dáil Éireann in the Round Room.
TDs will be joined by members of Seanad Éireann, descendants of those elected to the first Dáil and former Dáil members.
The special sitting will be marked with an address from President Michael D. Higgins, a collective motion that recommits to the ideals of parliamentary democracy, musical performances and video presentations.