“This is a day when we should remember the sacrifice of our Republic’s founders, we celebrate and commemorate what they achieved, reflect on far how country has come in the last century and look forward to how we reimagine and build on the proclamation in the years and decades ahead.
“What was achieved in Easter Week 100 years ago was the very definition of a revolutionary event. It changed everything. It opened new possibilities and started a distinct new tradition which drew on the past but reflected modern realities.
“1916 inspired the Irish people to win their independence and it should inspire us just as much today. It reflected a modern and progressive idealism which was rising through much of the world. It was not some traditional throw-back as some of those who continue to misrepresent this event would have us believe – it was the exact opposite.
“The leaders were profoundly republican in their belief that the role of the state was to represent and serve the people as a whole. A belief that continues to inspire and guide us today.
“This year we look anew at our founding document, the Proclamation and are reminded of the modern and progressive vision of a republican Ireland which it so effectively projects. It sets a positive and inclusive vision of a state which serves all the people. “It demands that those who promote the Republic not dishonour it by using illegitimate means. It also insists on the full rights of all Irish people irrespective of gender, religion or privilege – a vision and imperative as relevant and urgent in a modern context as it was a century ago.
“The Irish people have every right to be proud of a rebellion which led quickly and directly to the founding of an independent state. The most powerful empire the world had ever seen was forced to accept the loss of most of its oldest colony and independence struggles throughout the world were inspired by this.
“It was a violent rebellion, but it opened up the possibility for the democratic republican tradition which has been the dominant political belief of the Irish people for many decades.
“That commitment to democratic Republicanism saw our country stand resolutely against the ideological extremes which caused so much tragedy in the 20th century. We have one of the world’s oldest continuous democracies. We have the first democratic republican constitution ever adopted in a free referendum – a constitution that our people continue to be fiercely protective and proud of.
“These and many other factors are what we have directly inherited from the men and women of 1916. These were no narrow-minded, backward looking revolutionaries – they were warm-spirited, open and modern people.
“While no party has any claim on the heritage of the Rising, Fianna Fáil is deeply proud of its direct roots in the rebellion of 1916. Our first leader, and the most successful Irish political leader of the 20th century, was the most senior leader of the rebellion to survive.
“Indeed, the entire founding generation of our party was made up of people who risked everything for the cause of their country in 1916. We are proud of our heritage and we also acknowledge the heritage of others.
“Hundreds of thousands of people across our country will participate in their own way in local and national events celebrating the centenary. Every one of them will have their own perspective on what it means and what we can learn from it. As a political party representing every community across the Republic, Fianna Fáil continues to be inspired by the forward looking and inclusive Republicanism of the Rising and our founders and we recommit ourselves again to delivering in full on the promise of the 1916 vision.”