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Is it time Ireland had its own Independence Day?

It’s proposed 21 January – the first sitting of the Dáil – should be marked as Ireland’s Independence Day.

Richard O Neill (10) from Kildare on St Patrick's Day in 2015.
Richard O Neill (10) from Kildare on St Patrick's Day in 2015.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THERE ARE MOVES to have a day in January recognised as Ireland’s Independence Day.

Every year, the US marks its independence with fireworks, while it wasn’t until last year that Ireland began its national commemorations of our move towards a Republic.

So, what day could Ireland choose?

According to Fianna Fáil Senator Dr Keith Swanick, who has proposed the introduction of the Declaration of Independence Day Bill, Ireland’s Independence Day should be formally marked as 21 January.

This was the date of the very first meeting of the first Dáil and the Declaration of Independence.

Members of the first Dáil met in the Round Room of the Mansion House, Dublin.

On the same day, the Dáil also approved a Democratic Programme, based on the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, and read and adopted a Message to the Free Nations of the World in Irish, English and French.

Swanick, a GP who lives in Mayo, told that it has received very positive feedback about the bill from party members across the country.

If passed, it would provide for a formal recognition of this crucial political and historical event in Ireland, ensuring the formal designation of 21 January as Declaration of Independence Day.

What will the new law do? 

The legislation will ensures that 21 January is officially recognised as Declaration of Independence Day, irrespective of the day on which it falls.

However, before you get excited, there’s no plan to designate it as a public holiday. This means no day off work.

If the Oireachtas did pass this legislation it would allow schools, public bodies and community groups an opportunity to commemorate the event, said Swanick.

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“It would be extremely fitting that this legislation be in place well in advance of the 100th anniversary of the day in two years’ time,” said Swanick.

Following the success of last year’s 1916 centenary commemorations, the senator said now would be a good time to mark the day, two years away from the 100-year anniversary.

What do you think?

Poll: Do you think Ireland should formally recognise an Independence Day? 

Poll Results:

Yes (5415)
No (1983)
I don't know (274)

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