The 31 Local Authority Programmes for Ireland 2016 represent the outcome of many hundreds of hours of reflection, consultation and discussion involving thousands of people all over Ireland.
The most consistently expressed wish was that 2016 should be a year that belongs to everyone. The people of Ireland were emphatic that whatever one’s political affiliation or interpretation of historical events, 1916 should be regarded as the property of no one and the patrimony of everyone.
Equally remarkable was the widely articulated desire that 2016 should be about looking to the future more than looking back, and that the primary purpose of looking back should be to rediscover the ideals and contextualise the actions of the revolutionary generation in the present, as a guide for our future.
People of all ages and backgrounds expressed a wish to rekindle the idealism that in 1916 found expression in the desire to be free, to be the authors and carriers of our cultural heritage, and to be equal among ourselves and among the nations – in short to create a country worthy of the name Republic.
This spirit of generosity, optimism and open-minded enquiry finds ample expression in the breadth and diversity of events and initiatives contained in the 31 County Programmes. It is no surprise that the hundreds of arts and culture events have emerged as the foundation stone of the commemorative programme around the country: evidence that people wish to use the forthcoming year of reflection not to assert a claim on collective memory but to seek from the past the finest qualities of that time as inspiration for this generation.