President Higgins leads 1916 Rising commemoration

Posted By: April 12, 2020

RTE. Sunday, 12 Apr. 2020 

President Michael D Higgins has led a televised commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising from Áras an Uachtaráin.

There was no public involvement this year due to the restrictions imposed to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

The president began the commemoration by ringing the Peace Bell at Áras an Uachtaráin.

He then laid a wreath, followed by a minute’s silence for those who died in the Rising.

The wreath was laid at a group of 16 birch trees in a meadow at Áras an Uachtaráin, which were planted to commemorate those executed after the Rising.

The minute’s silence was also held for those who died due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Elsewhere, Captain Darren Reilly of the Defence Forces read the proclamation outside the GPO on Dublin’s O’Connell Street.

Inside the GPO’s inner courtyard, Defence Forces chaplain Fr Seamus Madigan led a remembrance prayer service for Ireland.

It was attended by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Lord Mayor of Dublin Tom Brabazon, Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, and Defence Forces Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Mark Mellett.

In his Easter message on Friday, President Higgins said the severity and magnitude of the Covid-19 pandemic is in our hands.

He said that by cooperating and working with the measures suggested to combat the virus, we will have saved lives that otherwise would have been lost.

President Higgins also paid tribute to people in the health services and elsewhere who were working to keep people healthy and safe.

In an Easter message posted on Twitter, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it was possible that we have not yet reached the peak of the Covid-19 crisis and when it comes later this month we will experience some of our darkest days.

The Fine Gael leader said people need to maintain discipline and resolve in the knowledge that better days were to come.

In a special Easter statement, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said it was “a time when we remember the sacrifice made by those who fought to establish our independence as a nation.

“This year, we remember particularly those who have lost their lives as a result of Covid-19. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones in particular, as all of our deeply ingrained and hugely important rituals of grieving and comforting are put on hold.”

Mary Lou McDonald also released an Easter message, praising Irish people for pulling together “through very difficult times”. 

The Sinn Féin president said: “The failure by successive governments to address the issues of housing and health over many years has made our fight against the Covid-19 all the more difficult …

“We will get through this pandemic together and we will build that better Ireland envisaged by our heroes of Easter week.”