Fianna Fáil Cllr Jim O’Callaghan is putting his name forward for election as Lord Mayor of Dublin at tonight’s Dublin City Council meeting in an effort to stop Sinn Fein from taking over the role, as expected, during the 1916 centenary celebrations next year.

“2016 will be a very significant year for the city of Dublin. It marks the centenary of the 1916 Rising which had consequences for the entire island but which took place predominantly in Dublin. Fianna Fáil has a close association with the Easter Rising. However I accept Fianna Fáil has no greater claim on the Rising than anyone else and the commemoration belongs to all the people of Ireland. It would be wrong for any one party to seek to use it for its own advantage so it is for this reason that I am putting my name forward for election as Lord Mayor of Dublin,” said Cllr O’Callaghan.

“The one demand that Sinn Fein had last year was not that the Council reverse policies of austerity but rather that it would hold the office of the Lord Mayor during 2016. That was Sinn Fein’s one absolute demand. A year ago Fianna Fáil saw through this and refused to be part of the attempted hijacking of such an important event. Other parties however did not, namely the Greens and Labour.

“Although I have great respect for Cllr Criona ni Dhalaigh and I regard her as a very hard working councillor, everyone knows that Sinn Fein is a Party that operates democratic centralism. All decisions about next year will be made by a small cabal, mostly based in Belfast. My fear and the fear of my Party is that Sinn Fein will hijack this important year of commemoration to justify the 30 year pointless and counterproductive campaign by the provisional IRA. Sinn Fein will seek to associate the sacrifice made by the men and women of 1916 with the horrific violence and disrespect for human life that dominated the provisional IRA’s 30 year campaign. We can all see that the biggest obstacle now to uniting catholic, protestant and dissenter on this island is the pain and suffering and memory caused by the campaign of violence that dominated this island for 30 years and which eventually members of Sinn Fein accepted was pointless and counterproductive.

“It is the job of the new Lord Mayor to ensure that this important year of commemoration is not hijacked by people who will wish to use this commemoration for their own revisionist purpose so it is for this reason I am putting my name forward.

“Fianna Fáil has a genuine association with 1916. Constance Markievicz who was second in command at St Stephens Green during the Rising, was a founding member of Fianna Fáil and was elected as a Fianna Fáil TD in 1927. Eamon De Valera, who was in command of Boland’s Mill during the Rising, was the founding member of Fianna Fáil and the most significant Irish politician of the 20th century. Margaret Pearse, mother of Padraig and Willie, was also a founding member of Fianna Fáil. Another of her children, Margaret, a sister of Padraig and Willie, was elected as a Fianna Fáil TD. Jim Ryan, who fought in the GPO and as a young medical student treated James Connolly’s wounds, was a Fianna Fáil Minister.”