Sinn Fein has launched its own program to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising next year, saying the Irish government’s efforts to mark the centenary were a “bad joke.”
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has accused the government parties, Fine Gael and Labour, of being “embarrassed” by the commemorations and the Proclamation, the Irish Times reports.
Sinn Fein has issued its own video in response to the government’s much-criticized Ireland Inspires 2016 video, which made no mention of the Rising or the Proclamation and has since been withdrawn.
Speaking at the launch in Wynn’s Hotel in Dublin, Adams said the centenary of the Rising will be a time to “rededicate ourselves to the achievement of the politics of Wolfe Tone, of Pádraig Pearse and James Connolly, of Maire Drumm and Mairead Farrell, and of Bobby Sands.”
The Irish Times reports that commemorations will begin in August of this year starting with a re-enactment of the funeral of veteran Fenian Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa with a procession from City Hall to Glasnevin Cemetery, and a recreation of the famous graveside oration by Pádraig Pearse.
Sinn Fein is also funding a 33-week long exhibition, featuring a day-by-day account of the 1916 Rising and its legacy, at The Ambassador Theatre, O’Connell Street, which will open on February 27th next year.
The party will mark the chronological centenary of the rising from April 24th to 29th with sound and light projections on the facade of the GPO, and is working with the Citizens’ Initiative supporting The Reclaim the Vision of 1916 Celebration on Sunday, April 24, 2016.
Dawn vigils will be held outside Kilmainham Gaol on each of the dates coinciding with the centenary of the execution of the leaders of the Rising.
Sinn Féin will participate in an Irish Citizen Army parade to be held on Easter Saturday next year from Liberty Hall to St Stephen’s Green.
The main State commemoration is on Easter Sunday 2016, March 27th.
Adams said Sinn Féin will also participate in the State commemorations, but he criticized the government for not securing the buildings in Moore Street where the Rising leaders surrendered.
Also in attendance at the Sinn Fein launch were relatives of those who fought in 1916.
Spokesman James Heron Connolly, James Connolly’s great grandson, said they had produced their own proposals for the commemoration of the Easter Rising and believe Sinn Féin has taken many of them on board.
Although he denied that the relatives were aligning themselves with Sinn Fein, he did say that there was a “complete lack of urgency” on the part of the State in regards to the commemorations.
“We don’t see this as divisive in any way. Sinn Féin has taken a lead. It is now up to others to follow.
“We don’t align ourselves to any political party. We will give our support to any organization that is seeking to save thelast extant battlefield of the Rising, Moore Street.”
He said the centenary “belongs to nobody in particular, it belongs to everybody. It should be a citizens’ celebration, a coming together of all our citizens.”