The Irish government has been accused of forgetting those who died in the 1916 Rebellion – a year ahead of planned centenary celebrations of their bravery.
Relatives of those who sacrificed their lives in the Easter Rising have claimed the Dublin government’s plans for the 100th anniversary are a ‘shambles.’
They now plan to hold their own celebration in Dublin and invite Bill Clinton or one of the Kennedys as their special guest.
The relatives attended a special general meeting of the 1916 Relatives Association to discuss broken promises made by the Irish cabinet.
About 250 direct relatives of those who died in the Rising attended the meeting in a Dublin hotel.
The Irish Times reports that they heard organizers accuse the government of the ‘utmost ineptitude at basic planning and management of the forthcoming centenary commemoration.’
Organizers were also critical of the failure of new Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys to take up their invitation to attend the meeting.
The relatives heard that before a recent cabinet reshuffle the organization's committee was told by former Minister for Arts, Heritage and Culture Jimmy Deenihan that it would have the plans for the commemoration by mid-September.
Committee members informed the meeting that this has simply not happened.
Association secretary Una MacNulty said: “We are extremely disappointed that we find ourselves in a situation where we now have to fight to ensure that people whose sacrifice and bravery led to the birth of our nation, are even simply remembered, let alone honored.
“Our association has not been able to get a meeting with the new Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys to discuss the plans.”
In a statement issued after the meeting, Minister Humphreys said she was ‘unfortunately unable to attend today’s meeting.’
She did stress that is ‘very happy to meet the relatives group and listen to their views.’
The Minister also said her department is working to prepare a draft program of events which she intends to publish as soon as possible.
She added: “These plans will be put to public consultation to ensure all interested parties can make their views known.
“I want the commemorations to be inclusive, appropriate and respectful and I am committed to widespread consultation.”
Despite the statement from the Minister, the 1916 Relatives Association is to press ahead with plans to hold its own event at Kilmainham Gaol or at Richmond Barracks.
They hope to invite Bill Clinton or a member of the Kennedy family as guest speaker.
However, the majority of those who attended the meeting were not in favor of issuing an invitation to the British Royal family to attend their commemoration.
Historian Dr Shane Kenna told the meeting that such a move would be inappropriate, a view met with vocal support from the floor according to the Irish Times.
The paper also quotes Casey McNerthney, who traveled from Seattle with his father Patrick and said that his grandmother Lily Kempson was believed to have been the last surviving veteran of the Rising and died in 1995.
He told the paper: “I didn’t actually realize how difficult it was for the families to be recognized until we came here.
“I know many of my family would like to come here for the centenary.”