Relatives’ suspicions over coalition’s 1916 agenda


Relatives of Easter Rising combatants are still being kept in the dark about commemoration plans for the centenary. Meanwhile, concerns have mounted that the Dublin government will promote a pro-British version of the events of 1916, which launched Ireland’s fight for independence.

An agreed deadline for commemoration plans to be communicated to the relatives was ignored last month by government officials. Heather Humphreys, the recently appointed Minister for Arts, also this week snubbed an invitation to attend an inaugural special general meeting of the 1916 Relatives Association in Dublin.

“We are extremely disappointed that we find ourselves in a situation where we now have to fight to ensure that people whose sacrifice and bravery led to the birth of our nation are even simply remembered, let alone honoured,” group secretary Una MacNulty told a crowd of about 250 attendees.

The association, which has accused the government of the “utmost ineptitude” in planning the 2016 events, was set up this year in part to ensure the families’ participation in whatever ultimately takes place.

Reports have indicated that instead, members of the British royal family will be prominent guests at a ceremony which will see British victims of the battle honoured alongside the Easter martyrs.

Ms Mac Nulty called on the people of Ireland to “unite” with the 1916 Relatives Association to “ensure that their bravery and sacrifice is remembered and commemorated in a manner which they truly deserve.

“We will not stand idly by and allow the memory of our relatives and their extraordinary deeds to be denigrated and forgotten,” she added.

Sinn Fein has accused the Government of “indifference” and a “lack of preparedness” for the centenary. The claim was made by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams at a speech to a party gathering in Belfast last night, during which he also called for the involvement of the diaspora.

Mr Adams said the only idea mooted by Cabinet members so far had been to invite members of the British Royal Family. He added that there was also the prospect of the last HQ of the leaders of the Rising being demolished in advance of the anniversary.

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