'Ireland 2016' Launches In UK

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan has launched 'Ireland 2016', a "busy and exciting programme of creative, community and commemorative events to take place in Britain to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising and historical events of 1916".

Part of the Global and Diaspora programme for Ireland 2016, the programme is being organised by the Embassy of Ireland in London, Culture Ireland and the Irish Consulate in Edinburgh.

Minister Flanagan said: "The Irish Embassy team and Culture Ireland are working with partners on a range of flagship events and a wide array of projects for 2016. With even more to come, that list already runs to 87 events! The programme will take place in venues across Britain – from institutions of major cultural significance like the Southbank Centre, Wigmore Hall and the Barbican, to community spaces from Glasgow to Camden to Liverpool."

"This is an exciting and busy programme. It offers an occasion to reflect on what happened in Ireland a century ago and on its impact on relationships on these islands. These reflections will also acknowledge the richness and complexity of these historical events by focusing on their cultural, academic, economic and artistic strands, as well as the broader political narrative."

Reflecting on the approach to commemorations and the complex and diverse relationships between Ireland and Britain, Minister Flanagan said: "Our approach to Ireland 2016, and to the Decade of Centenaries, has been guided by the principle that all commemorative activity should be inclusive, appropriate and respectful.

"The Decade of Centenaries has offered us the opportunity to reflect on important aspects of our sometimes shared and sometimes contested history, from the Home Rule Bill of 1912 to Gallipoli, and from the Easter Rising to the Somme. The commemorative programme acknowledges and honours the past in all its complexity but also seeks to look ahead to the future direction of relations between our two countries."

Engaging with the Irish community in Britain is central to the programme and Minister Flanagan highlighted this at the launch:

"Reaching out to and engaging with our Irish diaspora is a key strand of the 1916 commemorations, including recognising their contribution to Ireland over the last 100 years. I am particularly pleased that 19 community projects will be funded through the Embassy’s Community Fund.

"Stories will be at the centre of the commemorations and the Embassy are supporting what I am sure will be fascinating projects which offer great insight into the period including a digital collection day and a major photography exhibition. These will enhance our understanding of our shared and overlapping histories.

"Throughout 2016, the Embassy will ensure that the major events of that fateful year are reflected, whether they relate to Easter week in Dublin, the battlefields of the Somme or the trial of Roger Casement here in London. This is a moment of great opportunity to reflect on and advance further the productive journey of reconciliation on which our two countries have been embarked for some years now."

Mary McCarthy, Chair of Culture Ireland's Expert Advisory Committee, speaking at the launch, said: "The Culture Ireland supported events are part of the I Am Ireland programme, which speaks of a contemporary Ireland, of young and established artists, influenced by Ireland's geographic position, history and cultural journey over the past one hundred years. The special focus on Britain recognises our historic and cultural ties and also the importance of Britain as a key global place for artists to present work."


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