Thursday, 12 June 2014

Ceisteanna (135, 138)

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

135. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the commemorative activities that are being organised to mark the centenary of the passage into law of the Home Rule Act on 18 September 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25031/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Damien English

Ceist:

138. Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the commemorative activities he will undertake in September 2014 to mark the centenary of the passage into law of the Home Rule Act on 18 September 1914; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25161/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Arts)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 135 and 138 together.

The passing of the Home Rule Act was a milestone in the history of Ireland and the crowning achievement of the Irish Parliamentary Party. As Minister with responsibility for co-ordinating the Decade of Centenaries, I have been following the historical timeline closely, marking key stages in the progress of the 3rd Home Rule Bill through the parliament at Westminster. To mark the centenary of the introduction of the Bill, an exhibition was prepared that was hosted at Westminster in London, at the Houses of the Oireachtas and the National Library of Ireland in Dublin, and at Stormont in Belfast. This exhibition set the 3rd Home Rule Bill in its historical context and provided an insight into the political forces that drove, and restricted, the progress of the Bill. As the Bill was introduced in April 1912, I arranged, on its centenary in April 2012, the 'Redmond Memorial Lectures' in Waterford delivered by Frank Callinan SC and Dermot Meleady (see www.decadeofcentenaries.com for further information).

My Department also supported the production of a supplement to the Irish Times "Home Rule and Ulster's Resistance" that was distributed free of charge to schools. The provision of information, resources and primary source material has been a cornerstone of my strategy to commemorate important events and I am pleased to note that this week the RTÉ/Century Ireland project, supported by my Department, is publishing details of John Redmond's moves to forge close links between the Irish Parliamentary Party and the Irish Volunteers in June 1914.

I have attended a number of events in Westminster highlighting the historical importance and the enduring significance of the Home Rule campaign and legislation. In January 2013, in partnership with NIO Minister Penning and Lord Bew, we arranged for a special presentation to mark the centenary of the second passing of the Bill.

Indeed, I am pleased to say that on 1 July next, I will be attending again at Westminster for a commemorative event arranged by the Speaker of the Commons, John Bercow, MP. With contributions from John Bruton, Baroness Shirley Williams, Lord Paul Bew and Professor Michael Laffan, the event will attended by over 100 invited guests from parliament, media and academic life. I hope to arrange that the proceedings will subsequently be available online.

While I am keen to ensure that the life and work of John Redmond is given appropriate recognition in the Decade of Centenaries, the role of other distinguished members of the Irish Parliamentary party should also be reflected. Initiatives rooted in the areas and communities from which they were elected would be particularly welcome. The specific arrangements for the anniversary of the legislation on 18 September and the address by John Redmond at Woodenbridge on 20 September 2014 remain under consideration and will include publication of historical resource material.

As indicated in the recent announcement of capital expenditure on commemorative projects, I consider it appropriate that provision is being made to restore the burial vault of John Redmond.