As the Minister with responsibility for leading the State commemorative programme for the second half of the Decade of Centenaries, my constant priority is to bring forward commemorations that are inclusive, respectful and authentic.
The Government will continue to be supported in its approach to remembering the significant historical events between 1918 and 1923 by the guidance of the Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations, chaired by Dr Maurice Manning and by the All Party Group on Commemorations once established.
My predecessor, Minister Heather Humphreys T.D., launched a public consultation process last October, in order to assist the Advisory Group in its work to provide advice to the Government over the remainder of the Decade. The objective of this process is to give interested parties the opportunity to submit their views and ideas around how the events between 1918 and 1923 might be appropriately and respectfully remembered, in line with the principles expressed in the Second Statement of the Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations. The public consultation process was originally due to close on 31st January 2018 and the closing date was extended until today (28th February) to give all interested parties who would like to make submissions the opportunity to do so. Over 50 submissions have been received to date and the Expert Advisory Group will consider these submissions in providing their advice and guidance to Government.
The number of staff involved in planning, preparing and delivering State commemorations up to 2021 will vary depending on the volume and intensity of the work on hand but currently stands at a core team of seven staff. This team also liaises with relevant colleagues in a number of other Government Departments including the Departments of the Taoiseach, Defence, Foreign Affairs and Trade and Education & Skills, along with the Office of Public Works as appropriate.
The 2018 Commemoration Programme comprises four thematic strands commemorating the significant historical event which took place in 1918:
- the death of John Redmond and the decline of the Irish Parliamentary Party
- the end of World War 1
- the introduction of voting rights for women and their right to stand in Parliamentary elections
- the emergence and divergence of Irish identity in 1918.