Thursday, 17 April 2014

Questions (16, 17, 21)

Sandra McLellan


16. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will provide an update on the planned 1916 centenary events and an update on any other related works planned for completion before the centenary of the Rising in 2016. [17784/14]

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Seán Ó Fearghaíl


17. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht his plans to commemorate the involvement of Irishmen and women in the First World War this year; when the 1916 Rising exhibition and visitor centre for the GPO will be completed; when he expects the Moore Street site to be completed; the further plans his Department have for the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17790/14]

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Maureen O'Sullivan


21. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the funding available for groups and communities undertaking projects to commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising the procedures and criteria for applying; the decision making process on the applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17984/14]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 16, 17 and 21 together.

Consideration of proposals is ongoing at Government level on the development of projects relating to the centenary of the Easter Rising. Through consultation with the Oireachtas All-party Working Group on Commemorations and the Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations, I have sought to prioritise projects that are of educational and historical value, that provide a lasting legacy and that are appropriate in tone and scale to the events being commemorated.

To date, a number of capital projects have been identified as priorities in this regard for completion by Easter 2016. These include the development of a suitable permanent facility for the Military Service Pensions Archive, the renovation of Kilmainham Courthouse to enhance the visitor experience at Kilmainham Gaol, the development of a permanent exhibition space and interpretive centre at the GPO, and the development of visitor facilities at Teach an Phiarsaigh, Ros Muc. Among the further projects under active consideration are developments at the National Archives and the National Concert Hall, as well as the renovation of Richmond Barracks and the development of a Tenement Museum. The progress of these and other initiatives will be contingent, inter alia, on the availability of resources.

In relation to the national monument at Nos. 14-17 Moore Street, in July 2013 I made a determination under the National Monuments Acts on the consent application and related Environmental Impact Statement submitted by the owners in relation to their proposals for the national monument. My decision provided, inter alia, for the full repair and restoration of Nos. 14 to 17 Moore Street and the creation of a commemorative centre to honour the leaders of the 1916 Rising. The completed designs for the approved works have now been submitted to my Department to verify that they are in compliance with the decision I made on the consent application in July 2013. The National Asset Management Agency has recently confirmed to my Department that it will make the necessary funding available for the works covered by my consent. This adds considerably to the prospects of a fitting tribute to the 1916 leaders being in place in Moore Street in time for the centenary of the Rising.

Complementing the many special presentations, reports and discussions prepared by the national cultural institutions, colleges and community groups, the centenaries this year of the founding of Cumann na mBan and the import of arms by the Irish Volunteers are being marked by official ceremonies. The arrangements for Cumann na mBan included a commemoration led by the President at Glasnevin and an academic conference hosted by the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks. The import of arms in July 1914 will be marked by special presentations in the Asgard Gallery at Collins Barracks and a special programme at Howth harbour. A second online release of historic records from the Military Service Pensions Archive will support research and enhance our understanding of the republican movement. The continuous reporting and analysis of centenary news by Century Ireland will offer a sense of the period to interested readers.

The programme to commemorate the First World War is developing. In partnership with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Teresa Villiers, I laid the foundation stone for a memorial cross at Glasnevin Cemetery on 31 March last. This 'Cross of Sacrifice' was arranged in partnership between Glasnevin Trust and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The dedication of the Cross will take place in late July in remembrance of all the soldiers from Ireland who died in the Great War. A special Cathedral Service of Remembrance on 3 August will mark the entry into the war and be followed closely by further events in Britain and Europe in early August. The First World War centenary programme will continue on the historic timeline until 2018, marking the salient anniversaries of particular significance for Ireland.

Information on the developing commemorative programme will be available on my Department's website and individual announcements will issue for specific events. I remain, as always, grateful to hear from Deputies with any views on commemorative arrangements.