Fianna Fáil’s push to mark the 90th anniversary of the Easter 1916 Rising continues with Kerry NorthTD Tom McEllistrim calling for every primary school to be given a Tricolour and flag post to mark the event. Speaking on Today FM’s, the Last Word the man who shares a constituency with Sinn Féin’s Martin Ferris also seemed to have no objection to the idea of Ireland perhaps one day following the policy in American schools, where children pledge an oath of loyalty to the flag and the state it symbolises. On the Last Word, presenter Matt Cooper also mentioned that Fianna Fáil’s Tom Kitt wants the Irish national anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann, to be taught better in Irish schools. I fear Brian Kennedy’s less than gutsy rendition of the national anthem before the Wales match, when Ireland’s Eurovision representative had to read it from a text in a folder he was holding, might have something to do with this one.
It’s not just Kennedy who has had problems with the latest Irish republican wave. Earlier (subs needed) this month, seven Fianna Fáil councillors in Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown failed in a motion to have a copy of the 1916 proclamation “permanently and prominently displayed” in the chambers, along with the national flag. Apparently, the council is one of the few around the country that does not display the document.
Fine Gael and Labour councillors put forward several amendments, including suggesting the proclamation be instead displayed in the assembly hall and in Irish. They also suggested that a letter be sent to the Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin, calling on her to ask schools to display the proclamation.
The Green Party, for its part, suggested the EU flag should also be included in the chamber.
FF Councillor Cormac Devlin said they had not anticipated a lengthy debate.
“We didn’t expect it to be controversial,” he said.
However, Labour councillor Denis O’Callaghan accused Fianna Fáil of opportunism.
“This is part of a Fianna Fáil attempt to take ownership of 1916, a race with Sinn Féin to see who can claim it,” he said.
Councillor John Bailey (FG) said he voted against displaying the proclamation because it was too serious an issue to debate when so many of the council’s members were missing.