12/12/18

‘Ceiliúradh agus Comóradh Céad Bliain 1916 – 1916 Centenary Commemorations and Celebrations’ a book of 35 1916 themed speeches by the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins

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A Uachtaráin, a Ard-Mhéara, a dhaoine uaisle

Táim fíorchaoin buíoch díbh ar fad atá i láthair tráthnóna don ócáid speisialta seo agus an tUachtarán linn.

I want to thank President Higgins for joining us tonight on this very special occasion.

‘Ceiliúradh agus Comóradh Céad Bliain 1916 – 1916 Centenary Commemorations and Celebrations’ holds 35 speeches by President Higgins. They were delivered all around Ireland over a 2 year period straddling the core centenary year of 2016 at both local and national events.

From Banna Strand in Kerry to Corrymeela in Co Antrim and from Westport in Co. Mayo to Edinburgh University in Scotland, President Higgins touched on every aspect of the Rising in a very accessible and moving way. For that reason, this book deserves a wide audience.

Thank you all for taking up the invitation to join us in the GPO this evening.  This historic site, the cradle of our modern independent State, is the perfect place to launch this very special collection of considered and thoughtful speeches commemorating the Centenary of the 1916 Rising.

The book was produced by my Department in co-operation with the Office of the President and will be free to download as an eBook from president.ie from this evening.

Our partners BigO Media and Impress Printers have produced an attractive high quality volume and I wish to thank Eleanora and Ian at Big O and Pat Cotter at Impress in particular for their creativity and professionalism.  I am grateful to all of you that provided images for reproduction in the book, each image used successfully complements the text and we owe a special word of thanks to Julie Flanagan in the Commemorations Unit of my Department for her work in sourcing and coordinating all of the imagery.

The Taoiseach recently remarked that “the best commemorations are the ones that use the past to educate us about the present so we can work for a better future”.  The thread running through the speeches by the President informs this view, with the President’s firm belief in the importance of ‘ethical remembering’ as a vital foundation and resource “to enable us to make a fist of living together in the present”.

The book is the final initiative planned in the very successful and well received Ireland 2016 Programme, which forms part of the wider Decade of Centenaries programme of commemorations 2012-2023 that I lead on behalf of government.  I am fortunate to have the support, advice and good counsel of both the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations and the All-Party Consultation Group on Commemorations in informing the planning and development of the programme.  I am grateful also to my officials and our many partners, particularly the local authorities, and stakeholders for their great work in delivering the programme to date.

We are about to enter a very different phase of the Decade of Centenaries. It will cover the centenary commemoration of a combination of significant milestones on our path to full independence and some very contentious, difficult and sensitive elements. The success in delivering the Ireland 2016 programme will greatly assist during this new and different phase.

Each of you here have a hard-copy of the book and we are very fortunate to have Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh join us this evening to introduce the book to you. Professor Ó Tuathaigh is widely recognised as a contributor of originality and rare insight on the Irish experience. So, it is my great pleasure to welcome Professor Ó Tuathaigh to the lectern.

ENDS

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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