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State should rescue 1916 centenary celebrations from tribal hijacking

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Crowds watching the 90th anniversary commemoration of the 1916 Rising in O’Connell Street, Dublin in 2006.

Crowds watching the 90th anniversary commemoration of the 1916 Rising in O’Connell Street, Dublin in 2006.

Crowds watching the 90th anniversary commemoration of the 1916 Rising in O’Connell Street, Dublin in 2006.

The 1916 Rising has been described as the "triumph of failure", in that a clearly doomed revolt led to a resurgent nationalism and independence struggle. But the phrase also refers to the somewhat chaotic nature of the Rising's planning, the reliance on trenches in St Stephen's Green (!) and the fact that the insurrection was actually cancelled by Volunteers' leader Eoin MacNeill, before he was secretly overruled by Fenian militants.

Now it looks like our Government is seeking to emulate a similar sense of chaos and ill-preparedness in marking the Rising centenary next year. This week it was revealed just how last-minute these preparations were. Only the previous month Fáilte Ireland executive John Concannon was brought in to head up the project. A note from the office of the Minister for the Gaeltacht recommended the downgrading of the Irish language - despite the significant involvement of the Gaelic League in the actual Rising. To prove the point, the Irish version of the official 'Ireland 2016' website came from Google Translate and turned out to be mostly gibberish.


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