Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 3 Dec 1997

Vol. 484 No. 1

Written Answers. - Commemorative Events.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin


10 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Taoiseach the commemorative events, if any, which will mark the bicentenary of 1798 sponsored by the national commemoration committee; and if the budget of the committee will be increased from the current sum of £250,000 to ensure that this important anniversary is marked appropriately. [19280/97]

The Government's 1798 commemoration committee, of which I am chairperson, has made substantial progress in devising the national programme of commemoration. To date a number of projects and events have been developed to mark this important period in our history.

In line with the objectives of the commemoration, as endorsed by this Government, it is the committee's intention to develop a broad-ranging, comprehensive and inclusive programme which commemorates the ideals of the United Irishmen and the "Fellowship of Freedom" that inspired them in 1798. With this in mind, it is felt that the commemoration programme should focus primary attention on the principles of democracy and pluralism which the United Irishmen advocated. The programme will focus attention on the ideals of the leaders of 1798 and will acknowledge the Ulster dimension and particularly the contribution of the Presbyterian tradition, with its emphasis on justice, equality and civil liberty. It is felt that particular focus should also be given to the international perspective of the United Irishmen and the enduring links which 1798 forged with America, France and Australia.

The Dublin-Belfast Choral Festival, an ecumenical service, a Dublin-Belfast international conference, a 1798 commemoration scholarship, documentary programmes by RTE and significant exhibitions to be mounted by the National Library and National Museum and by the Linen Hall Library, Belfast are some of the many worthy projects and events being funded by my committee. A full list of the events confirmed or under consideration is set out as follows.

There are many projects, should extra funding become available, that my committee would have an interest in developing. These projects would include some suitable local projects which are being organised in areas which were involved in 1798. I am currently in discussion with my colleague, the Minister for Finance, on this matter.
Government's 1798 Commemoration Committee National Programme
The Government's 1798 commemoration committee, which is chaired by Minister of State, Deputy Séamus Brennan, is currently devising the national programme of commemoration.
The committee, which is interdepartmental, will receive a budget of £250,000 to implement its programme in 1998. Some funds have already been committed out of that budget.
The confirmed 1798 events are:
Ecumenical Service — St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin on 14 June 1998 at 3.15 p.m.
The President and Taoiseach will be invited to attend — invitations will issue from St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Dublin-Belfast Choral Festival (Mozart '98 Requiem) — Organisers aim to bring together a large number of singers and instrumentalists from North and South to perform in Wexford, Dublin and Belfast. Tentative dates are 6-8 April 1998.
International Conference, "1798 A Bicentenary Perspective"— International Conference to be held in the Ulster Museum and Dublin Castle from 20-24 May 1998. Conference will look at all aspects of 1798 including national and international.
Wolfe Tone Diaries — Grant given to Liliput Press to assist with the publication of Wolfe Tone Diaries which will be published in late 1997. Minister will write foreword for publication.
National 1798 Centre, Enniscorthy — Government's 1798 commemoration committee is working in association with Comoradh '98 on Enniscorthy Centre, which will be opened in early 1998. Grant of £1.6 million provided by Bord Fáilte.
National Library Exhibition — 1798 Exhibition will run from January 1998 to end of year. It will be located in the National Library. Exhibition will look at 1798 from a national and international perspective.
Tour de France — To mark the commemoration of the 1798 Rebellion day three of the Tour de France will start in Enniscorthy.
School Competitions — National school banner competition and secondary school essay competition (junior cycle and transition year) are being planned in association with the Department of Education.
1798 Stamps — An Post will issue a series of stamps to commemorate 1798.
Humbert Summer School, Mayo — Funding of £5,000 will be made available to the Humbert summer school in 1998 towards the cost of the publication of the 1998 summer school proceedings.
Irish and British Governments 1798 Commemoration Scholarship — This two year scholarship which is being funded by both the Irish and British Governments will be at the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool and will be entitled "United Britons; The Influence of the United Irishmen on British radicalism during the 1790s".
Restoration of William Lawless Tomb in Paris — In 1995 the Government's 1798 commemoration committee made a grant of £5,000 available towards the restoration of William Lawless Tomb.
Bantry Bay Summer School — In 1996 a grant of £2,000 was made available to Bantry Bay summer school which was dealing with the theme of the French Revolution and its relevance to Ireland which was especially suitable as it was the bicentenary of the arrival at Bantry of the French Armada carrying Wolfe Tone.
International 1798 Conference Notre Dame, Indianna — A grant of £2,500 will be made available in 1998 to Notre Dame University to assist with a major international conference on the theme of 1798 which is taking place at the end of March of next year.
Lecture Tour of USA — Plans are under way to undertake a 1798 lecture tour of America in April of 1998. Proposed cities: New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Boston.
Lecture Tour of Australia — Plans are under way to undertake a 1798 lecture tour of Australia in September 1998. Proposed cities: Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Hobart.
Proposed Events are:
Scullabogue Ecumenical Service — Proposed ecumenical service will take place in the Church of Ireland in Old Ross.
Tree Planting — Commemoration Office is in discussion with Coillte regarding the possibility of marking 1798 with a national tree planting day.
Human Rights — 1998 is the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Fifth Anniversary of the UN Vienna Declaration. The Commemoration Office is working with the humanitarian desk of the Department of Foreign Affairs to find a suitable project for funding.
Joint Irish-French Project — Commemoration Committee is pursuing the possibility of adopting a joint Irish-French Defence Forces proposal to commemorate the Humbert landing in Mayo and travels through Ireland. This would also involve Longford.
Joint Education Pack — Discussions on the production of a Joint Education Pack on 1798 to be circulated to schools both North and South. The proposal was originally put forward by the Department of Education in Northern Ireland.
Local Projects — the committee will, budget permitting, make some small grants available to suitable local projects of national significance.