Bertie Ahern lined up for New Ross 1798 commemoration at Three Bullet Gate

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Photo: PA

David LoobyNew Ross Standard

FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has been invited to attend the Rebellion 225 event in New Ross on Sunday, June 11.

A budget of €5,000 has been sought for what is the main commemoration event in the New Ross district during which The Battle of Ross will be recalled in a lecture by keynote speaker, Prof Kevin Whelan.

One of the organisers, New Ross Municipal District chairman, Cllr Michael Sheehan said the details of the event are being finalised, adding that it is due to begin in the Three Bullet Gate area at 1 p.m. and finish at 4 p.m.

The area will be closed to traffic to ensure a safe, family friendly event.

“It’s hoped Bertie Ahern will be there to rededicate the Three Bullet Gate memorial park which he officially opened in 1998, 25 years ago. The event will be a mixture of academia and music, with local bands invited to perform.” Cllr Sheehan said the rules around funding the event are very tight.

“The department is adamant it has to take an academic format. There are a group of us working on this and we will have an action packed afternoon of events that reflect the history of the location and the stories of the era.”

He said the New Ross & District Pipe Band have been invited to perform, along with the Cumann trad band, FCA band and Danescastle musicians.

“The event will reflect what happened in the locality, an area forever synonymous with the rebellion. This is the value of having one of the most historic locations of the rebellion on our doorstep.”

The Three Bullet Gate is commemorated in the Irish National Anthem as The Bearna Baoil (The Gap of Danger) and in many other patriotic poems and songs.

Cllr Sheehan acknowledged that the scope of the event is limited considering how important The Battle of Ross was in the rebellion, saying there is no budget set aside for Mr Ahern.

“We feel this is a big opportunity to remember an important historical event. Each municipal district was awarded €10,000 so if there is any criticism it should be pointed at the Government rather than the local town council, but my door is open to anyone with any suggestions they’d like to add as I’d be delighted to hear them.”

Cllr Sheehan said there will be a colour party procession to the Three Bullet Gate, with a road closure licence secured.

He said other groups can still submit their suggestions for events, adding that there is a narrow window of time for these to be considered for funding.