Monday 21 May 2018

FG proposal for Republic celebration

Leo Varadkar. Photo: INM
Leo Varadkar. Photo: INM
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said a national celebration should be considered to mark the 75th anniversary of the 1949 Declaration of the Republic.

He was speaking at a Fine Gael meeting called to begin a debate on how to commemorate next year's 70th anniversary.

The Declaration of the Republic by the government of Taoiseach John A Costello was the first such announcement that was recognised internationally.

Mr Varadkar said that by 2024 the decade of centenaries will have been completed, but that it may end on a "downbeat note" with events marking the bitter Civil War.

He also noted that the 1949 Declaration of the Republic was met with crowds gathering at midnight on Dublin's O'Connell Street, a 21-gun salute and open-air céilis. He said: "I'm not sure we can organise a similar spectacle for midnight this time next year, or in 2024, but it is an idea we can consider."

Mr Varadkar added that it shouldn't just be in Dublin but there should be events throughout the country. The Taosieach said he believes the 2024 anniversary will perhaps be a more significant occasion than next year's anniversary and that marking it with a national celebration could be a way of bringing the commemorative programme to a close with optimism. He proposed suggesting it to the Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations.

Mr Varadkar said it would be important to seek cross-party support for any such event and that it couldn't only be associated with Fine Gael.

Irish Independent

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