Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly is calling on the Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht to clarify whether comments made by former Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael John Bruton about the 1916 Easter Rising are reflective of the Government’s position. Mr. Bruton is quoted in newspaper reports this morning as referring to the Easter Rising as “completely unnecessary”.
Senator Daly commented, “I have been contacted this morning by descendants of those who fought in 1916 who are upset by the former Taoiseach’s comments. They’ve been expressing an ongoing concern that they are being side-lined in the commemorations, and these latest remarks do nothing to instil them with confidence.
“There are around 150,000 direct descendants of the 1916 volunteers still living in Ireland. These are people whose mothers, grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers sacrificed their lives to ensure that Irish citizens of a republic were given equal rights and equal opportunities, and they feel upset that a former Taoiseach would imply that their cause was a waste of time.
“I am a member of the all-party working group on the decade of commemorations, which is chaired by Minister Heather Humphries. It would seem deeply inappropriate for the chair of the group tasked with organising the commemorations to hold the same views as those expressed by the former leader of her party this morning, and I am calling on her to clarify whether the whether the comments reported, which have caused such deep upset among the relatives of those involved in the Easter Rising, are reflective of her party’s attitude to the commemorations”.