herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

Relatives to be included in 1916 ceremony plans

RELATIVES of those who fought in 1916 are to be included in planning for the national commemoration of the Easter Rising.

Family members recently voiced their anger about being left out of ceremonies held to remember what their ancestors had achieved.

A newly founded group, the 1916 Relatives Association, met with Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan TD yesterday to explain their disappointment at being left out of the planning.

Barry Lyons, a spokesperson for the group said that the main issue was "a lack of information and a lack of clarity".

"People who were living abroad weren't being given enough time or notification to organise trips back to Ireland for various ceremonies".

He also explained that on several occasions, people missed important events that were organised without letting family members know they were taking place.

"We found out that there were things happening that either weren't publicised or publicised very badly.

"I found out by accident the day before a celebration of the Irish Volunteers that it was happening," he added.

In 22 days, a ceremony will be held to commend those who took part in the Howth gun-running.

Invitations

However, Barry said that there has been a "complete lack of public notice" and that "invitations that should have been issued to certain people were never issued."

Minister Deenihan promised that families will now be involved in any discussion regarding the national 1916 commemoration.

Mr Lyons said the meeting was "surprisingly positive" adding: "He (Mr Deenihan) did seem very positive and he was very receptive about all of our suggestions.

"He clarified that the Government will liaise with families and that all lines of communications will be open from now on," the spokesperson said.

He added: "We understand that this is the first in a series of meetings which the government has requested our input into.

"Our next meeting is mid-September. We look forward to engaging in extremely positive dialogue in the weeks and months ahead."

Prison

Nine members of Barry's family were involved in the 1916 Rising, including his grandfather Edward Lyons, who would have celebrated his birthday on the same day as the meeting.

"My grandfather was based in the Jacob's factory and he went to prison for his participation, as well as taking part in the War of Independence".

Barry's grandmother Nora Kelly was a member of Cumann na nBan and three of her brothers were volunteers in the Irish Citizen Army.

Speaking about the group's hopes for future ideas, Barry said "we'd love to see our relatives receive the respect that they deserve, greater public awareness and greater public involvement.

The next meeting between the relatives association and the Government will be in September, when plans will be unveiled for the upcoming celebrations.

hnews@herald.ie

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