Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has unveiled the party’s programme of events to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The launch took place at the Royal College of Surgeons on St. Stephen’s Green, the same site occupied by the Irish Citizen Army during Easter week under the command of Countess Markievicz and Commandant Michael Malin.

The programme of events outlined by Fianna Fáil will take place over the coming year at both local and national level. The events include an Ard Fheis with a commemorative theme, a national 1916 concert of remembrance and a summer school focusing on development of the Irish language. A special commemorative medallion is also being issued to mark this historic occasion for Ireland.

Following the launch party leader Micheál Martin TD commented, “Today we have outlined a comprehensive programme of events to mark one of the most defining moments in Irish history. The independence that our forefathers fought for allowed us to invest in our people through education, health and social services. It is important that we continue to recognise the sacrifice that they made in allowing Ireland to achieve its independence.

“It was an honour to have a number of relatives of those that fought in the Rising here with us to unveil our programme. The venue for our launch, the Royal College of Surgeons, is also the same building that Countess Markievicz occupied during Easter week. Subsequently she went on to become a founding member of Fianna Fáil.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív TD is the chairperson of the Coiste 1916 Commemorative Committee. He said that Fianna Fáil is working to ensure its series of events are open to the public.

Deputy Ó Cuív said, “The Easter Rising is a seminal moment in Irish history. It and the election of 1918 brought into being an independent Irish parliament – Dáil Éireann. This should be commemorated by all Irish people.

“In commemorating the rising we remember the sacrifice of those that gave their lives for Irish freedom and we celebrate the independence of our nation that is now recognised around the globe.

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to steer the party’s series of commemorative events. Our focus is on developing materials and events that bring to life the reality of the Rising, rather than attempting to leverage this great event for party political advantage.

“Our events will be open to the public to allow the history of the rising to be explored by all. I will work to ensure that as many people as possible attend the events so that the Rising gets the recognition it deserves.” said Deputy Ó Cuív.