Fianna Fáil Arts Spokesperson Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD has called on the Taoiseach to explain why the Opposition Arts Spokespeople and local TDs were not invited to participate in the launch of the national ‘Flags for Schools’ initiative to mark the commemoration of the 1916 Rising.
He commented, “The Government has repeatedly assured the public that they will not seek to hijack the national commemorations of the 1916 Rising for narrow party political advantage. The decision to launch this national event, developed for our school children, with only Government representatives present, raises a serious question mark over this commitment.
“Fianna Fáil has made it clear that we fully support the Flags for Schools initiative – we see participation of our school children as a key component of a successful commemoration. We are also strongly supportive of anything that encourages a greater and positive sense of ownership of our national flag.
“It is therefore extremely disappointing that the Government would launch the initiative with the Taoiseach, the Arts Minister and the Education Minister officiating and not show the basic courtesy of inviting opposition Arts spokespeople.
“The 1916 Rising does not belong to any party or any sectional interest. It belongs to the entire Irish nation. The Government should not be using key events like today’s launch for party political purposes and I would like the Taoiseach to explain how today’s event fits with the previous commitment to keep the commemoration non-political.”