Friday, April 21, 2006


Looking ahead to 2016

2016 commemorations should be on a grand scale With last Sunday's parade in honour of the 1916 Rising still fresh in our memory, I figured I'd move away from that and look forward to the really important commemoration - the centenary of the Rising in ten years time.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny stated that last Sunday's parade ought to be considered a long dress rehearsal for centenary commemorations in 2016.

Also referring to the centenary commemorations, the Taoiseach told RTÉ:

"I have no difficulty with how it should evolve. I think there have been some good suggestions that perhaps it should turn into a commemoration of what would then be 100 years since the foundation of the State."

With that being the case, I felt it would be a good idea to put this question to you all - how should we mark the centenary of the Easter Rising?

I figured I'd toss out a few of my own ideas:

- A week-long festival - I think there should be more of a focus on the cultural aspect of Irishness in ten years time. Last Sunday's parade tended to emphasise the military aspect of the Irish State and was largely focused on the historical aspect of the Rising. I think for the centenary celebrations there should be more emphasis on all the different cultures that encompass Irish culture today - Chinese, Polish, etc. as this signifies proper Irish republicanism which is what the Easter rebels epitomised.

- Involvement from kids - Last Sunday's parade was partly a mark of respect to the Irish troops who are peace-keeping abroad. I had no problem with that. However, you couldn't exactly have young kids getting involved in a military parade. If we had festivities that focused on Irish culture though, as I suggested above, then all the schools throughout Ireland could be allowed contribute and some kids could even participate in the festivities. Make it a real community event.

- Military parade - I would favour a military parade again but I don't think it should be the showpiece of the centenary celebrations the way it was last Sunday for the 90th anniversary.

- Re-enact the Rising - Not literally of course! In America they often do re-enactments of the Civil War at fairs and festivals and so forth so how about a re-enactment of the events of the Rising, obviously toning down certain bits for the youngsters, perhaps even at the GPO itself? I think it could be very entertaining and fun as long as it was handled in a delicate fashion. As well as that, schools around the country could do plays on the Rising before the Easter break.

- Build a statue - I would be in favour of building a statue dedicated to Padraig Pearse. In the seventies, this was set to happen but the Provisional IRA's campaign was in its bloody stages in the North and so as a result of this minority of Irish people appropriating the words of Pearse some fifty or so years after his death, plans for the statue were shelved. Since last Sunday was supposed to be about "taking back" the Rising from these people however, why not build the statue to be ready in ten years' time? Wouldn't that be the best way to get the message across that Pearse is not the property of the Provos? If there was no desire to erect a statue in memory of Pearse then I would favour one in honour of all seven rebel leaders.

Those are just a couple of ideas off the top of my head. What do you think though? What would you like to see take place at the centenary celebrations in 2016?


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