The Declaration of Independence Day Bill 2017, brought forward by Fianna Fáil Senator Dr. Keith Swanick, will be taken at Report and Final Stages in the Seanad this Thursday. The Bill, if passed through both Houses of the Oireachtas, will provide for a formal recognition of the meeting of the first Dáil and the Declaration of Independence made on 21st January 1919.
The First Dáil met in the Round Room of the Mansion House in Dublin on 21st January 1919, at which it asserted the exclusive right of the elected representatives of the Irish people to legislate for the country. During the meeting, the elected members present adopted a Provisional Constitution and approved a Declaration of Independence. Dáil Éireann, a new national Parliament for the Irish nation approved a democratic programme, based on the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic.
The author of the Bill, Senator Dr. Keith Swanick commented, “Having witnessed the many fantastic commemorations over the past number of years, from the 1916 Centenary celebrations to the recognition of 100 years since women were afforded the right to vote, I believe it is not only appropriate but imperative that this momentous day in our history be formally recognised on an annual basis.
“There is no plan to designate January 21st a public holiday, but if the Oireachtas did pass this legislation it would allow schools, public bodies and community groups an opportunity to commemorate this hugely important day in an suitable and patriotic way. It would be extremely fitting that this legislation be in place in advance of the 100th anniversary of the day, next January.”