12/11/2014 Minister Humphreys joined by Taoiseach, Tánaiste and MoS Ó Ríordáin to launch Ireland 2016

1916 relatives to lead military parade as part of a series of State commemorative events

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, will this evening (Wednesday) be joined at the GPO by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, An Tánaiste, Joan Burton TD, and Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, for the launch of Ireland 2016; a national initiative which includes a programme of events to mark the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising.

Ireland 2016, led by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, will develop, coordinate and deliver a programme of activity to honour and remember those who fought and those who died in the 1916 Rising, to reflect on the legacy of that period and to look towards our future. A number of formal State events will be held over Easter weekend 2016, including a military ceremony to be led by 1916 relatives on Easter Sunday, 27th March 2016. Other key events will include a special State Reception for relatives on Saturday, March 26th, and a commemoration at Arbour Hill on Sunday, April 24th, to mark the date of the Rising.

Ireland 2016 is based on five intersecting themes:

  • Remember: recalling our shared history on the island of Ireland;
  • Reconcile: honouring all who have built peace and brought people together;
  • Imagine:  releasing the creativity of our people, in particular our young people;
  • Present: creatively showing our achievements to the world;
  • Celebrate:  family, community and friendship and renew our commitment to the Proclamation ideals of liberty and equality.

Ireland 2016 will encompass a range of initiatives including:

  • Permanent Reminders: €22 million in 2015 for seven flagship capital projects to be developed by Easter 2016
  • State Events: national ceremonies, parades and events will take place to remember those who participated in the Rising and will involve the relatives
  • Culture Programme: A rich cultural programme will be developed in co-operation with our National Cultural Institutions, the Arts Council and Culture Ireland
  • Young People: A special Education Commemorative Programme will be prepared with the Department of Education and Skills
  • Community: The Department of Arts will lead an extensive consultation programme with local government and community groups to facilitate ground up initiatives across the country
  • Diaspora: Through our Embassy network, talks, exhibitions, seminars and cultural events will be held to present Ireland 2016 to the world
  • Language: a number of projects are being progressed to reflect the esteem with which the Irish language was held by the 1916 Leaders
  • Commemorative Stamps: A special set of commemorative stamps and a series of coins will be issued.


Further details on Ireland 2016 are available on: www.Ireland.ie

A wide range of stakeholders will be present for this evening’s formal launch at the GPO, including relatives groups, County Managers, the National Cultural Institutions, representatives from sporting bodies including the GAA and the IRFU, Comhairle na nÓg, Enterprise Ireland, the Defence Forces, representatives from the education sector and many others.

Speaking before the invited guests, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, said:

“2016 presents us with a once-in-a-century opportunity to create events of celebration and remembrance that are of value in themselves but that also contribute to a greater sense of who we are, what we want to be as a people, what achievements we aspire to for ourselves and for our children.

“The formal State events of the Easter weekend and the centenary itself are the focal points of our commemoration programme. But we need 2016 to be much more than that.  2016 can be a year when we remember our shared history on these islands, reflect on our achievements and our failings and re-imagine our future.

“Remembrance on its own is insufficient to honour the ideals and achievements of the men and women who proclaimed our Republic. We can best honour the past by reflecting deeply and seriously on the present, by exploring and celebrating our achievements, and by creatively re-imagining how we should aspire to the ideal of the Republic as proclaimed in 1916.”

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, added:

“The 1916 Rising cannot be commemorated as a once-off event, which somehow led to a self-governing Irish state – it was part of a long, complex, creative but frequently painful process by which the modern Irish state and Northern Ireland emerged.

“A critical and open-minded exploration of these formative years in the history of modern Ireland is an essential step towards lasting reconciliation between the different communities and traditions which share the island of Ireland.

“It is my hope that these commemorations will leave a lasting legacy –in the form of community events involving local historical societies and community organisations, through historical research and by facilitating our National Cultural Institutions to make widely accessible collections of material which are relevant to the decade of commemorations.

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, said:

“Ireland 2016 is designed to remember, honour, inspire and motivate. I want to get the entire nation involved in 2016; together we can remember and honour our history, while also looking to the future and asking ourselves where we want the country to go in the next 100 years. A team from my Department will facilitate a series of county by county workshops to stimulate creativity and activity at local level.

“The arts will have a key role; my Department will work with the Arts Council and our National Cultural Institutions to develop a comprehensive programme of cultural events, including a series of concerts at the National Concert Hall celebrating Ireland’s musical, literary and cultural heritage.

“Relatives of the 1916 participants are being given a special role in a number of key State events, in recognition of the sacrifice made by their family members. I will also be reaching out to the Diaspora through our Embassy Network and Culture Ireland, to ensure Ireland 2016 reaches a global audience. Inclusivity is at the heart of my approach to the Commemorations; I want to encourage everyone to get involved in their own way so we can make 2016 a year of imagination and inspiration.”

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality and Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht with special responsibility for Equality, New Communities and Culture, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, said:

“This commemoration provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our past, to examine the issues in a dignified way and, in those moments of reflection, seek to better understand the motivating factors which led to the founding of this great Nation.

“Our past is complex.  It is a collection of many stories.  These stories were often layered and leavened with overlapping and conflicting elements which had a profound impact on our towns, villages and families.  Indeed, my own family was one of those families so affected.

“Our commemoration will endeavour to voice these stories, in a space removed from that time. It will provide us with an opportunity to examine what occurred one hundred years ago, but will also allow us to think about what we, as a nation, want to achieve over the next one hundred years – and the kind of society that we want for our children.”




Notes to Editors:

Please find below links to a series of documents:

Ireland 2016 Booklet


Ireland 2016 Pamphlet – with additional information on key initiatives:


Permanent Reminders – with details on the seven flagship capital projects:

https://www.chg.gov.ie/app/uploads/2015/07/IRELAND2016_Permanent_Reminders.pdfThe Initial Statement by the Expert Advisory Group:


For further information please check out www.ireland.ie (live after 7pm, 12 November, 2014)

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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