The points made by the Deputies concerning the need to more effectively and strongly commemorate women were well said and it is well merited. Turning to the events at Jadotville, I do not want to pre-empt the review, but I am familiar with the case. I met all those involved, I have seen the film about the events as well and have read about the background to all of this. I sincerely hope that those men will get the recognition they deserve. Moving on to the question about other events, it has been a great pity that Covid-19 has really impacted our capacity, nationally and locally, to have a whole series of events to mark the Truce and the War of Independence period. For example, we could not mark the centenary of the burning of Cork last year, just prior to Christmas 2020.
In July, History Ireland will deliver the 2021 decade of centenaries hedge school programme, which will look at the Truce and subsequent negotiations up to the Treaty. UCC and RTÉ are developing an online initiative entitled "The Irish Civil War" for October 2022. A three-part television documentary series based on UCC’s Atlas of the Irish Revolution will be broadcast in October 2022 to mark the centenary of the Civil War. As part of the decade of centenaries, "The Irish Civil War" series will examine the critical years of the Irish State's foundation, from the Truce period to the highly-charged Treaty debates and the split, to the outbreak of the Civil War, the conduct of that war and its short-term and long-term legacies.
The communities strand, as referred to by Deputy McDonald, will see Dublin City Council commemorating the Truce. The "Commemorating the Truce, 1921" online lecture series took place from Monday, 5 July to Friday, 9 July. Galway County Council will hold an online lecture with Dr. Conor McNamara, with the details to be confirmed. Westmeath County Council's commemorative events include a podcast about the Truce with Professor Marie Coleman from Queen’s University Belfast, who is a native of Castlepollard in County Westmeath. Fingal County Council is holding a festival of history lecture series in September 2021.
The "History at the Castle" day, which will be held in Swords Castle, will include five or more speakers and performances based on this year's chosen topics, namely, the truce, the end of the War of Independence, events local to Fingal, the destruction of coastguard stations and the opening of the Howth tram. The Government has at all times been informed and guided by the expert advisory group on centenary commemorations, chaired by Dr. Maurice Manning and Dr. Martin Mansergh.
The history of this period belongs to us all and we are very mindful of the complexities and sensitivities that lie ahead. It is very important that our history is faithfully presented, even when the historical record is distressing. We must acknowledge the great tragedy of all those who died or whose lives were transformed by the events that occurred during this time. I welcome, commend and encourage the continuing research of historians and custodians of records whose work enhances our understanding of these events, which have so significantly shaped our modern world. It is key that in all the centenary commemorations, we give due regard to excellence in academic research and recall, giving insight to people in the broadest possible way into what happened. In remembering this period in our history we will acknowledge both the military aspects and the constitutional parliamentary traditions and democratic processes underpinning all traditions on this island. We will explore a range of issues in that regard, including the social and cultural changes that were taking place and the role of women during the revolutionary period.
On the social and cultural changes, Dr. Ida Milne has done work on the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, as it was called. I was often struck by how little attention that pandemic got in history books and on the curriculum. It is only in more recent times that scholarly research has opened up the extraordinary impact that pandemic had on social and cultural life in Ireland over 100 years ago.
There are other aspects to this as well, such as the treatment of women during the period, poverty and child poverty in particular. The role of Cumann na mBan needs to be properly commemorated. My late grandmother was a very active member of Cumann na mBan and a firebrand activist in her own right. Very often, these women did not speak about themselves too much afterwards but they played a crucial and very effective role in the movement for independence.
More broadly, it is important that the social context is articulated very strongly in the centenary recall and commemorations as well. I note what both Deputies have said in respect of that. Perhaps we could revert to the advisory group about the role of women more broadly. It is also important to point out that many women suffered hugely during that period, particularly because of the impact of the First World War on many families. Many husbands and partners were killed in that war, leaving many families in considerable poverty. There is a very good book written by John Borgonovo on this period in Cork. It brings home the social impact of all these issues and the strife, stresses and strains of different political communities, as well as the role of women in both, and how that manifested itself on the streets of Cork in 1917-18, 1919 and 1920. It is a fascinating period but very often the social contexts did not get the same priority as constitutional and political issues do. That needs to be corrected to some degree, as do issues such as the Spanish flu pandemic and the extraordinary impact that had on so many lives.