| 13.3°C Dublin

Thunderous protesters drown out 1916 centenary launch

Close

Anti-water charges protesters demonstrate outside the GPO last night. Photo: Arthur Carron

Anti-water charges protesters demonstrate outside the GPO last night. Photo: Arthur Carron

Heather Humphreys with Enda Kenny and former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave at the GPO in Dublin last night for the launch of Ireland 2016. Photo: Maxwells

Heather Humphreys with Enda Kenny and former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave at the GPO in Dublin last night for the launch of Ireland 2016. Photo: Maxwells

/

Anti-water charges protesters demonstrate outside the GPO last night. Photo: Arthur Carron

A THUNDEROUS onslaught of screaming and window-banging plagued the launch of draft plans for the 1916 Easter Rising centenary events.

The front doors of the GPO on Dublin's O'Connell Street had to be held shut as dozens of water charges protesters gathered outside at around 8.30pm last night.

The commotion was heard throughout speeches by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tanaiste Joan Burton and Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys.

Relatives of men who fought in the rising boycotted the event after claiming they were "hoodwinked" by Ms Humphreys.

Under the newly unveiled programme, entitled 'Ireland 2016', the Government will invest €22m in 2015 for seven flagship capital projects.

A military ceremony led by 1916 relatives will take place on Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016, while other key events will include a special State reception for relatives on Saturday, March 26, and a commemoration at Arbour Hill on Sunday, April 24, to mark the date of the Rising. U2's former accountant Ossie Kilkenny will produce seven televised concerts at the National Concert Hall, while gardens of remembrance will be created nationwide and throughout the US, with Stateside events organised by newly elected congressman and Irish descendent Brendan F Boyle.

The centenary events will be based on five intersecting themes, including Remember, Reconcile, Imagine, Present and Celebrate.

The 1916 Relatives Association refused an invitation to last night's launch, attended by the Taoiseach, Tanaiste and Ms Humphreys, as they felt they were invited "merely to act as pawns in a political stunt that wants us there simply as a photo opportunity".

Spokeswoman Una McNulty said details of the plans bore no resemblance to what had been discussed at a private meeting with Ms Humphreys this week.

Ms McNulty said Ms Humphreys appeared to have "no clue" about the plans at the meeting, adding that a senior official from the office of the Taoiseach had then stepped in to provide a "skeleton framework".

"As far as we are concerned, (the) meeting was like a day at the dentist as it felt like trying to pull teeth when trying to get answers from the minister.

"Minister Humphreys appears to have no clue as to what is going on. We would ask whoever is really in charge to step forward and stop the flow of misinformation coming from the minister's office with regards to the plans for 2016."

A spokeswoman for Ms Humphreys said it was "disappointing" that some relatives turned down the invitation. Senator Mark Daly added: "Everyone will have a chance to give an input into the wider programme."

Gardai said they were aware of a public order incident at the GPO last night.

Irish Independent