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Saturday 3 December 2016

1916 commemorations must be free of political agendas - Pearse relative

Minister Simon Harris – flanked by Brian Crowley of The Pearse Museum and Gabriel Doherty of the UCC Department of History – views the O’Donovan Rossa Funeral Oration Exhibition
Minister Simon Harris – flanked by Brian Crowley of The Pearse Museum and Gabriel Doherty of the UCC Department of History – views the O’Donovan Rossa Funeral Oration Exhibition

The agendas of political parties should have no role in the 1916 commemorative celebrations, a descendant of Rising leader Padraig Pearse has said.

Speaking at the launch of a new exhibition at the Pearse Museum in Rathfarnham, Pearse's great grand-nephew, said political party angles have no place in any of the commemorations.

"There are a lot of angles from the political parties - and it's not about that at all," Eoin Mac Lochlainn (56) told the Herald.

"I wish political parties did not involve themselves in it in that way."

Graveside

The new exhibition, PH Pearse and the O'Donovan Rossa Funeral Oration, commemorates both the funeral and Padraig Pearse's now-iconic graveside oration.

Pearse's oration, delivered on August 1, 1915, caused a sensation and roused Irish republican sentiment.

The oration ended with the lines: "They have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace."

The original manuscripts of Pearse's speech are now on display in the museum. The exhibition was officially opened by Minister for the Office of Public Works, Simon Harris.

According to Mac Lochlainn, Pearse was mainly interested in "protecting Ireland's rich culture".

Minister Harris described the reaction to the exhibition as "a resounding success".

"You really measure that by the number of people that turned up to the events.

"It shows the eagerness of the Irish people to really get involved in the coming year of the commemorations," he said.

The exhibition opened on Saturday at the house where Pearse once lived and taught students.

Commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the funeral of Jeremiah O'Donovan-Rossa were held in Glasnevin Cemetery on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Sinn Fein held a re-enactment of the funeral with a procession along the original funeral route from City Hall to Glasnevin.

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