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1916 leaders event 'diluted by politicians'


President Michael D Higgins

President Michael D Higgins

President Michael D Higgins

It had all the solemnity of previous commemorations but some of the relatives of the Easter Rising leaders believe their role in the annual 1916 Leaders Commemoration Ceremony has been "diluted".

President Michael D Higgins laid a wreath in memory of the leaders in Arbour Hill yesterday, where he was joined by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the Cabinet and religious leaders.

However, Pearse O'Hanrahan, a grand-nephew of Micheal O'Hanrahan who was second-in-command at Boland's Mill, said the role of relatives had been "diluted" at this year's ceremony - with more prominence given to politicians.

"This year, 16 people were selected by lottery to represent the families, who led the procession out of the church; then the politicians, the President, the Taoiseach and the Cabinet, and then the rest of the families.

"Before last year, all the families went out first. It was a family mass and a family occasion and then the politicians came after. But it's been politicised now by diluting the role of the families," he said.

Mr O'Hanrahan, from Dundalk, Co Louth, has attended the commemoration each year for the past 50 years.

Mr Higgins, who attended the ceremony with his wife Sabina, was seen with a large bandage on his chin - understood to be the result of an accident while shaving.

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