85. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the detail of her Department’s programme to commemorate the 1918 election and the election of Countess Markievicz; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3070/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018)
Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): My Department is finalising the State’s commemorative programme to mark the significant historical events and themes of 1918, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and in consultation with the Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations. I will be making announcements in this regard very shortly.
Politically, 1918 was a year of profound transformation in Ireland when the focus shifted from the Irish Parliamentary Party towards the rise of radical Irish nationalism and the consolidation of the Ulster Unionist vote. The anti-conscription campaign and the associated general strike were significant milestones in this movement, which culminated in Sinn Féin’s landslide victory in the General Election of 1918 in the South and the consolidation of the unionist vote in the North. International events also impacted upon Irish politics and society during this time and these events, at home and abroad, had a significant impact on all communities across the island of Ireland. Women, played a very significant role in these events.
The 2018 commemorative programme will comprise a number of State-led or State-supported initiatives, including formal commemorations and other smaller scale events organised by local authorities working with local community groups or commemorative committees, academic institutions, the National Cultural Institutions, the artistic community and other interested parties.
I am also exploring new partnerships and initiatives which may arise during the year, given the significance of this centenary anniversary and anticipated public interest. My Department will also liaise closely with the Oireachtas in relation to its commemorative programme over the year.