I attended three such events and found them most edifying, cultured, and uplifting. I compliment teachers, pupils, and school management boards on their well presented programmes, with emphasis on the Proclamation, and its importance and significance to our everyday lives and how best to care and share, for the betterment of country and people.
No doubt children will have learned about the Proclamation read by Padraig Pearse just before the rising began on 24 April 1916.
Together with Pearse, six others had signed the Proclamation. They then went to the GPO in Dublin and began the Easter Rising. They knew that they could not win. The rising failed and we all know that they were all executed. This might seem like failure, but the Proclamation was to have a big influence on how the Irish Republic was formed. Those who died were extremely brave men. They had a vision for a just and free country, where everyone would have an equal chance. They were willing to sacrifice their own freedom for their country. In fact, they sacrificed their lives. On Proclamation Day 2016, we honoured those great and noble men.
Sadly, today we still do not have equal rights for everybody. Many people cannot get work, some having to emigrate to find work. Many people are homeless and poor, often sleeping on the streets. They have been ignored by our present leaders who are more concerned about looking after the well-off people. I don’t think the 1916 leaders would be proud of them.
Many of our leaders today are only interested in power. Leaders are meant to serve the people, not look after themselves. Today they are afraid to go into Government because they might lose power.This is selfish, not sacrifice, like the 1916 leaders. On Proclamation Day 2016, with schools throughout the nation, we raised the Irish flag. But on Proclamation Day we raised our flag with pride because, as President Higgins says: “The Irish Tricolour is an emblem of peace and brotherhood between the various communities who life on the island of Ireland.”
Ireland is a very different place from 1916. I hope and pray that the vision of our school children for a modern Ireland will embrace people from other nations and culture and that it will “cherish all the children of the nation equally”, especially those overlooked by Government, the poor and the homeless. God speed that day for the betterment of Ireland and its people.