Celebrations of the 1916 Easter Rising will include a memorial to the British who died trying to crush the rebellion in a bid to make events more inclusive.
As the full programme of commemoration was unveiled, the Government was again attacked by some opposition figures for misjudging the tone of how to mark the centenary.
Under the plans outlined at Collins Barracks by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and other ministers, all schools will receive a tricolour and copy of the proclamation in order to try and spark debate on how Ireland should evolve. Schools will hold “proclamation day” on March 15 next year to project forward the idea of what revolutionaries today would call for.
Events in eastern Europe and Africa at the time of the 1916 Rising will also be examined by schools to showcase Ireland’s modern multiculturalism.
A major parade through Dublin will culminate at the GPO on Easter Sunday as the key event of the celebrations, though events on the actual anniversary of the rebellion will also be held.
Though the Government has quietly rejected the offer for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth to send a close relative to the commendations in Dublin, a special ceremony will be held to remember the British casualties who lost their lives trying to put down the rebellion.
Both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin have expressed concern at the scope of Government plans to mark the centenary and the two parties have outlined their own programme of events to run alongside the official plans.
With Mr Kenny insisting he is determined for the Coalition to run its full term, the commemorations could take place just before a general election in April 2016.
The anniversary will have seven strands which include: State ceremonials, historical reflection, promoting Irish as a living language; encompassing youth and imagination, cultural expression, community participation, and inclusion of the global diaspora.
There will also be special events to mark the role of women and to remember the children who died in the rebellion.
A number of legacy capital projects have also been announced with the Government also buying the national monument site at 14-17 Moore St where some of the last rebels held out.
The site was where the final council of war of the Rising leaders was held and the decision to surrender made.
Mr Kenny said that the centenary should be used as an opportunity to create national unity.
“There are some moments in history when a seed is sown and an old order changes forever. Easter 1916 was a moment when Irish nationalism joined forces with a revolutionary cultural and language movement to forge an irresistible campaign towards self determination.
“It is important that the Irish people have the opportunity to come together and celebrate and have pride in Ireland’s independence, and to honour those who gave their lives so that the dream of self-determination could become a reality.
“Ireland 2016 is a year of reflection and engagement for everyone on this island,” Mr Kenny said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved