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Patrick Cooney and James Connollly Heron on Moore Street Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
the 2016 row

1916 relatives are holding their own events for people "upset or annoyed" with the Government's plan

There’s been some sharp criticism of the Government’s official plans, which were announced by the Taoiseach at the GPO on Wednesday.

RELATIVES OF THE men and women who fought in the 1916 Rising are holding a public meeting today for anyone who was “upset or annoyed” with the Government’s official programme for the centenary celebrations.

It follows widespread criticism of Wednesday night’s announcement at the GPO.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Joan Burton and Arts & Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys announced at the event that the 2016 programme will have five themes: Remember, Reconcile, Imagine, Present and Celebrate.

A number of key ceremonies have already been announced, and members of the public are also being asked for their suggestions at the ‘Ireland 2016′ website.

A group with some 850 members — the 1916 Relatives Association — pulled out of the event just hours before it went ahead, citing lack of consultation.

In the last few days, there’s also been sharp criticism of the official website for the initiative, after it was found to contain ‘gibberish’ Irish, apparently derived via Google Translate.

And then there was also the small matter of the promotional video for ‘Ireland 2016’ — which failed to mention any of the signatories of the Proclamation.

Ireland 2016 / Vimeo

Today’s meeting is being held by the 1916 Relatives Group, some of whose members are also part of the larger Relatives Association.

“This is for anyone who’s not happy with the Government’s plans,” spokesman Patrick Cooney said.

James Connolly Heron, great grandson of James Connolly, is drawing up a broad programme of suggested events, and it’s hoped more suggestions will be discussed at today’s meeting. 
I’m sure there’s people who who don’t want to celebrate it. There’s peopele who will look at the Government programme and say ‘that will suit us’. There’s also people who will be unhappy with what they heard.

“We’re hoping people come along with their suggestions. This is public invitation, and we’ll be having a full public consultation before we launch anything.”

Cooney stressed that the commemorations should be about “the citizens of Ireland”

“This isn’t about the 1916 relatives.”

Relatives of The O’Rahilly, Thomas J Clarke , Eamonn Ceannt, and rank-and-file volunteers are expected to attend the meeting, which takes place at Wynns Hotel on Dublin’s Abbey Street at 3pm.

A number of relatives did attend the Government’s event this week, a spokesperson for Minister Heather Humphreys said on Wednesday night, and were “very supportive” of the plans announced.

Humphreys remains committed to engaging with them, the spokesperson said, “as the relatives are an important facet of our commemorations”.

“This is reflected in the fact that 1916 relatives will lead the military parade on Easter Sunday 2016. Ireland 2016 is focussed on community involvement and the Minister wants to encourage as many people as possible to get involved.”

Read: Our coverage of the 2016 announcements this week >






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