Fianna Fáil Frontbench Spokesperson Billy Kelleher TD has today secured a debate on the centenary celebrations of Easter 1916 and the attendance of foreign dignitaries. His request, made to the Tánaiste at today’s Order of Business in Dáil Éireann, comes following media reports that members of Britain’s Royal Family are to be invited to participate.
Deputy Kelleher commented, “I welcome the Government’s concession to allow time for a proper Oireachtas debate on how we celebrate the centenary of Easter 1916.
“Across the political spectrum, Easter 1916 means a great deal to a great many people in this country. Fianna Fáil’s view is that the central focus of the Easter celebrations must be the ideals, aspirations and sacrifice of those who struck for Irish independence in 1916 and we must ensure that Government plans for the celebration do not distract from that.
“Fianna Fáil have worked very hard over two decades to transform relationships between Britain and Ireland and believe that the decade of centenaries should be an important next step in consolidating that work. The Centenary of Easter 1916 is a particularly important moment in this decade of events and it is crucial that Fine Gael and the Labour Party involve all political traditions in getting the event right.
“I am hopeful that Government will take the opportunity at the debate to spell out exactly what their plans are, what other foreign heads of state they are planning to invite and generally take a much more inclusive approach to planning the centenary than they have to date.”