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1916 rising

The government insists it's not rewriting the proclamation

Enda Kenny put the cat among the pigeons today.

Updated 5.30pm 

THE GOVERNMENT HAS moved to downplay earlier comments from Enda Kenny that a new proclamation will be drafted as part of the government’s plans to commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

Speaking to reporters today, the Taoiseach said drafting a new proclamation is one of several initiatives being undertaken in the run up to 2016.

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A government spokesperson insisted this evening that “the proclamation is the proclamation” and that a new document would not be drafted or published, adding that Kenny was referring to a schools’ project.

The initiative will involve a ‘proclamation for a new generation’ being written with the input of school children from around the country.

There are already plans afoot to distribute a tricolour to every school in the country in the run-up to the centenary celebrations.

However, Fianna Fáil was NOT impressed by Kenny’s comments:

Fine Gael and Labour were previously criticised for a video they launched about 2016 in November, with UCD historian Diarmuid Ferriter labelling it “embarrassing unhistorical sh*t”.

The government is set to launch its commemoration plans at Collins Barracks in Dublin this evening.

Kenny said the coalition’s plans to mark this “seminal moment in Irish history” will be “comprehensive” and “inclusive”.

What we want to do out of the series of commemorative events is right across the country, engage our people – young and not so young – both in their reflections on the proclamation, on the drafting of a new proclamation … a whole series of issues in the Irish language, culture, music, literature.

Earlier today, Arts Minister Heather Humphreys confirmed the government is to buy 14 – 17 Moore Street for €4 million and turn it into a commemorative site.

She also told the News at One it will be a lasting tribute to the men of 1916, adding that relatives are “very pleased with this good news today”.

Humphreys noted there are no plans to invite members of the Royal Family to the commemorations. Last night, junior minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin told Claire Byrne Live such an invitation prospect would “probably be a major distraction”.

Small businesses

Kenny was speaking at the launch of Fine Gael’s new support initiative for small businesses, at Krüst Bakery in Dublin this afternoon.

A new website aims to help businesses avail of supports available to them, such as a mentoring database.

The government is considering giving self-employed people the same entitlements to dole payments as their PAYE counterparts. The payments are currently means-tested.

- additional reporting from Hugh O’Connell

Read: ‘A major distraction’: It looks like there’ll be no Royals at the 1916 centenary

Related: Micheál Martin: The IRA hijacked the Easter Rising, it’s time to take it back

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