Arts Minister Heather Humphries’ Protestant background will help make the 1916 commemoration events more inclusive, the Minister for Finance said yesterday.
Michael Noonan said that the sensitivities of Ms Humphries’ Presbyterian co-religionists in the border counties would be acknowledged.
“The commemorations should help bring people closer together,” he said. “We must be cognisent of the past and that is the way Ireland will go forward. I am delighted the commemorations have got off to a good start.”
Mr Noonan was speaking at the launch of a programme of more than 30 commemorative events which will take place at Mary Immaculate College of Education (MIC) in Limerick.
These events will range from educational conferences to exhibitions and from public lectures to theatrical productions in the Lime Tree Theatre.
Highlights include a 1916-style classroom reconstruction illustrating aspects of the life of a child at school in 1916; a conference entitled ‘Memory and Vision’ which will compare Irish social and educational policy and practice in 1916 with policy and practice during the subsequent century; the Abbey Theatre’s new production of The Plough and the Stars, set amid the tumult of the Easter Rising; and ‘The Illusion of Consensus — Photographs of Limerick in 1916’, an exhibition featuring the multiplicity of life in Limerick in a time of transition and chaos with a focus on in the exceptional year of 1916.
Launching the programme, Mr Noonan said: “The college is of such central importance to the education sector at present and this importance dates back over one hundred years to the period in Irish history that we are now celebrating.
“There seems to be something for everyone in the year long programme of events. I expect that the people of Limerick and indeed the entire Mid-West region will attend the commemorative events in large numbers and I wish the college well for 2016”.
Michael A Hayes, president of MIC, said the college will “reach out to the community, our students and our alumni and ask them to share in our celebration of Ireland’s independence”.
Programme details can be viewed at www.mic.ul.ie
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