Sinn Féin social protection spokesman Aengus Ó Snodaigh introduced legislation for the creation of a national holiday to be called Lá na Poblachta, which would fall annually on 24th April – the day on which the Irish Republic was declared’ – noting that Ireland has nine public holidays, fewer than the EU average of eleven.
Ó Snodaigh told the Dáil that ‘many nations have a day or event in their history which, for the present day citizens, captures the spirit of the nation. In the many episodes of bravery, foresight and selflessness in Irish history, the 1916 Rising stands out, and is therefore the appropriate day to celebrate and commemorate as Ireland’s national day.’
The Government shot down the proposal, ‘despite the fact that when it was raised by Ó Snodaigh, in February 2013, at the all-part decade of commemorations committee meetings, it received the backing of the Government’s commemorations advisers.
Ó Snodaigh accused the Government of ‘turning its back on an opportunity’ and said it was not just about an additional holiday. ‘It aims to ensure that the vision of the Proclamation is considered and lived up to as much as possible or is, at the very least, the ideal to which we aspire.’
Sinn Féin’s Michael Colreavy said ‘2016 is being regarded as a once in a lifetime opportunity. Remembering 1916, its heroes and their ideas should not be a once in a lifetime matter. Every year, we should reflect on those who founded our nation and sought to bring about a free, independent Ireland.’
Image credit: 1916 Easter Revolution in Colour