Monday 23 September 2019

Easter Rising events a success as they weren't 'hijacked', says Kenny

Enda Kenny said no political party dominated the events Picture: Arthur Carron
Enda Kenny said no political party dominated the events Picture: Arthur Carron
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said one of the successes of the 1916 commemorations was that they weren't "taken over" by any political parties.

Looking back at the year of events to honour those who took part in the Easter Rising, Mr Kenny said they also showed that "the true power in Ireland lies in communities".

Much of the events were centred on Easter Week, including a ceremony in the Garden of Remembrance and a parade led by the Defence Forces outside the GPO.

The 100th anniversary of the World War I Battle of the Somme was also marked during the summer.

There had been fears that the Rising commemorations would be "hijacked" by political parties pressing their own agenda.

However, Mr Kenny said he did not think any party dominated the proceedings.

"Government worked hard to try to ensure that all of the centenary commemorative events would be owned by the people, not to be taken over by any individual party or parties," he said. "I think that was largely very successful."

Mr Kenny praised the Defence Forces' "objectivity and professionalism". He said that the commemorations "demonstrated to me something that I have observed over many years; that the true power in Ireland lies in communities".

He said this inspired the Government to follow up with its €5m Creative Ireland initiative.

The wide-ranging plan will see children given access to tuition in art, music and coding by 2022, culture teams appointed to local authorities, and Ireland marketed as a hub for film and TV production.

"In my view, this actually has the capacity to hold together communities that could otherwise fracture because of all of the events that are taking place internationally," Mr Kenny said of the plan.

He said he believed that communities around the country would welcome the decision "to have the arts as a central part of public policy from now on".

Irish Independent

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