“The Government decision to officially commemorate the 1916 Rising is a positive and mature development for our nation. It is, in fact, in keeping with practice and precedent in all countries which value their own independence and sovereignty. To commemorate the heroism and sacrifice of those who won for us control of our own destiny is not only a selfless appreciation of those brave men and women but is essential to the wellbeing and morale of the nation.”
This was stated by Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú when he called for a sincere and authentic commemoration in 2016 of the 1916 Rising.
Senator Ó Murchú said that Ireland today enjoys an unique status in the world. In many ways, we are seen as a model for other countries which are travelling the same path of freedom and opportunity. Obviously, in the midst of affluence there must be time for reflection on the characteristics which make us and inspire us as a distinctive nation. Our cultural heritage in particular, which was a strong motivating factor for our patriots, is deserving of special attention. To this end the new-found official status for the Irish language, which is now enshrined in national and european legislation, marks our maturity as a nation. The unity of purpose which underpinned the campaign to achieve this status for Irish held huge potential for other areas of national interest.
I do not believe that this generation or future generations will thank us if we allow the dual opportunities of the 1916 Commemoration and the good will which exists for our native language to be squandered. why should we underestimate the acquiescence of discerning Unionists when our State seeks to honour the memory of our patriots?
Why should the ‘new’ Ireland have to be subservient to the lowest common denominator when it comes to national identity? It should not be presumed that young people in the education system or immigrants to our country expect the diminution of our history, native language or other distinctive cultural characteristics. They know from experience that it would not apply in any other country. we should assume that they will be generous enough to respond positively rather than negatively to the challenges which face them.
Speaking at the Douglas Hyde Summer School in Ballaghadereen, Co. Roscommon, which he officially opened, Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú said:
Dr. Douglas Hyde, first President of Ireland, is a powerful role model for the new Ireland where various traditions inspire co-operation rather than conflict. 'His was a life of dedication to his country, her people and her heritage.
As President of Conradh na Gaeilge, he epitomised the desire of countless generations to salvage from extinction our native language which inspired patriots, poets and philosophers. He placed our distinctive cultural characteristics on a pedestal, safe from the ravages of contemporary confusion. He practised to the full his belief that our cultural identity as a nation was older and more cohesive than our political and other divisions.