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Dublin: 16 °C Tuesday 25 June, 2019
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Sinn Féin wants a new public holiday - but the government isn't keen

What if 24 April was a national public holiday every year?

The Proclamation
The Proclamation
Image: NLI

THE GOVERNMENT IS to oppose a Sinn Féin bill that would establish the exact date of the Easter Rising, 24 April, as a national public holiday.

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has proposed the Public Holidays or Lá na Poblachta Bill, which is due before the Dáil this Friday.

The bill would make 24 April, the actual date of the 1916 Easter Rising – which is also incidentally Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s birthday – a national public holiday every year.

The bill also proposes to establish a Bord Lá na Poblachta which would annually promote, encourage, coordinate and fund a programme of events to commemorate the historic Rising.

Or as Sinn Féin’s bill puts it:

… the contribution made to the Irish nation by those who, during the centuries of occupation of Ireland by a foreign power, gave their lives and liberty to pursue the freedom of the Irish nation.

The state board would also seek to raise awareness and promote dialogue and analysis of the ideals and aspirations contained in the 1916 Proclamation.

However, Arts Minister Heather Humphreys advised the government to oppose the bill at cabinet today. She and the government believe that the existing Easter Bank Holiday provides an opportunity for a major public celebration.

While a proposal to make 24 April next year a once-off national public holiday was considered by the 1916 commemorations advisory group, it was decided that a sufficient number of commemorative events have already been planned.

Read: Incredible photographs show devastating impact of the Rising

Read: Gerry Adams thinks Ireland needs “another Rising”

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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