Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams encourages participation in 1916 Commemorations
Sinn Fein has launched its plans to commemorate the 1916 Rising – but party leader Gerry Adams urged all people to join in, saying the Commemorations are “bigger than Sinn Fein.”
The party’s commemoration celebrations have received the support of relatives of the 1916 leaders, who said they are still waiting for the official State commemorations programme to be rolled out, warning that the Government is running out of time.
Sinn Fein’s programme will begin this August, with the 100th anniversary of O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral – at which Padraig Pearse’s famous graveside oration acted as a call to arms for the Rising that followed at Easter 1916.
Sinn Fein’s programme co-ordinator Bartle D’Arcy said it had taken four or five months to put a programme in place which met the satisfaction of relatives, saying: “It wasn’t rocket science.”
An exhibition, Revolution 1916 Eiri Amach will open at the end of February 2016 and will run for 33 weeks at The Ambassador Theatre at the top of Dublin’s O’Connell Street.
The building is significant to the commemoration because it is where the men of 1916 signed up for the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and where patriots like Thomas Clarke and a young Michael Collins were held overnight in 19916 following the surrender.
The role of women in the Rising will be recognised with an event on International Women’s Day, March 8.
It will honour Cumann nan Ban and all the women who took part in the Rising, fighting for Irish Freedom and Women’s Rights.
Over 22 women fought in the rising in total.
Meanwhile Easter Weekend will see the focus switch to the diaspora, with plans for them to take part in a series of special events.
Easter Saturday at 11am will see a major march, billed as the Irish Citizen Army Parade from Liberty Hall to St Stephen’s Green.
There are plans for a major visual spectacular, Son et Lumiere at the GPO, running nightly from April 24 to April 29 2016 – the actual commemorative dates of the Rising and will depict through a 3D video the story of the Rising. The GPO will appear to come under shell fire and become engulfed with flames and viewers will be able to see photo footage of the rebels escaping and their last stand.
This visual arts project using modern technology will also reach a worldwide audience, via the internet.
Meanwhile there are plans to hold dawn vigils at the start of May 2016 outside Kilmainham Gaol to commemorate the executions – which were carried out in secret.
Gerry Adams said the government had “decided to ignore 1916” and said the government’s plans have been “singularly lacking in ambition and substance.”
While MLA Martin McGuinness called on the Government to secure the future of the historic Moore Street site for future generations, saying it was “not a gift for developers,” saying it must be designated as a national monument.
James Connolly Heron, the Great-grandson of 1916 Leader James Connolly welcomed Sinn Fein’s programme for the Commemoration, saying the relatives support the initiative.
However they are still awaiting the official State programme to be rolled out, he said.
“This highlights the fact that there is still no official programme for Commemoration,” said Mr Heron.
“We’ve asked for an official programme,” he added, saying it was not too late.
“There is a lack of urgency there that’s alarming and our message as relatives is that it’s little over a year away and time is running out.”