A new group has been established to mark the 1916 Easter Rising centenary in what they are describing as an “appropriate and fitting” way.
The new group emerged following the families' objections to the government's November launch of the state's plans for commemorating the Rising. The government provided only a skeletal outline of its plans to mark the seminal moment in the struggle for Irish independence.The “Reclaim the Vision of 1916” group will work alongside the relatives of those who died during the Rising to mark the 100 year anniversary. The group will be officially launched at Easter 2015.
Sponsors of the group include the playwright Brian Friel and Professor Declan Kiberd.
One of the organizers, internationally acclaimed artist Robert Ballagh, explained why they felt the need to start the initiative.
He told the Irish Examiner, “One of the things we felt very strongly is that the event and the participants in the event should be marked, should be commemorated, but it shouldn't stop there.
"We should look at why these people did what they did almost 100 years ago. What were their aims? What were their objectives? What were their dreams?"
An open letter, published by the organizers on the Communist Party of Ireland website, reads:Reclaim the Vision of 1916: A Citizens’ Initiative for 2016
A group of concerned individuals has established “Reclaim the Vision of 1916—A Citizens’ Initiative for 2016,” in order to reassert the political principles and objectives that animated the 1916 Rising and to show their continuing relevance for Ireland today.
In 1916 the Proclamation of the Irish Republic declared the right of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies. They wanted to realize this in a sovereign, independent Irish democracy that would have the welfare of all the citizens as its guiding principle. This vision has never been achieved, and the Irish people have borne the consequences of this failure.
We believe that the 100th anniversary of the Rising presents an opportunity to open a meaningful dialogue among the citizens about the principles of 1916 and how they can be applied to the task of building an Irish democracy in the twenty-first century. In a genuine Republic the people would have full control over their own lives; the common good would be at the center of decision-making; and all the citizens would reap the benefits of a fully human society.
Reclaim the Vision of 1916 intends to organize three national events: a National Parade of Celebration on Sunday 24 April 2016, a national seminar in the spring of 2016, and a significant publication. It is hoped that many individuals and groups throughout the country will affiliate to the Initiative and participate in the national events, as well as organizing their own activities. We invite those who are interested in joining us in this project to contact us now, and we wish to co-operate with those who share our concerns and are organizing their own events.
The Citizens’ Initiative has set out its ideas and aspirations in a Proclamation for a New Irish Republic, together with a Political Statement. Alongside the program outlined above we want to encourage wide discussion and debate about the ideas contained in these documents.
The Proclamation for a New Irish Republic states:
We affirm that the only solution to this failure and crisis will be found in a sovereign, independent Irish democracy that puts the common good at the heart of government and where sovereignty rests with the people and democratic power is exercised by them.
We want Ireland to develop a culture that fosters and encourages independence of thinking and action. We recognize that there may be differences between us about how our vision can be implemented, but we insist that everyone who believes in the democratic right of the people to govern themselves should support our shared struggle for a better society for all.
In such a democracy, the common good would come before the freedom of capital and the markets or the pursuit of private profit. The wealth of the country belongs to the people, and the natural resources, industries and services must be utilized in the interests of all the people and subjected to their democratic control.
At the end of this initiative we hope there will be a deeper understanding of the need for a real Irish democracy and what that would mean, and that as many people as possible will have been drawn into the circle of discussion, thinking, and participation.
Reclaim the Vision of 1916—A Citizens’ Initiative for 2016 will be officially launched at a public rally in Dublin at Easter 2015. We will be contacting the widest range of individuals and groups to discuss these ideas and to see how we can work together to ensure that the centenary of the 1916 Rising is properly celebrated.