Bertie speaking tonight in Killarney. (will this event attract more people to Sinn Fein or Fianna Fail?)
As Taoiseach, on behalf of the Government, I want to inform you tonight of what we are planning. Next Easter Sunday, we are reintroducing a parade to commemorate 1916. Our Defence Forces – the only legitimate army of the Irish people – will parade to commemorate this historic event and their proud contribution in the service of the State. We in this State will proclaim our republicanism. We will recognise and praise the vision of the Volunteers of 1916 and indeed the War of Independence. We will show that our Defence Forces are the true successors of the volunteers. The Irish people need to reclaim the spirit of 1916, which is not the property of those who have abused and debased the title of republicanism. But a one-day commemoration is not enough. We need to reflect our esteem for the men and women of 1916 in a more permanent way. Therefore, the Government is establishing a 1916 Centenary Committee. Its brief is to begin to plan now for a major centenary celebration of the 1916 Rising. I want next Easter to be an expression of our pride as a nation. We want to commemorate the greatest generation we have ever produced. We want to celebrate the freedom we achieved. And we want more publicly to recognise those who gave us the opportunity to acquire and develop that freedom. This is our State’s inheritance. We must protect it from those who will abuse it and from the revisionists who would seek to denigrate it.