Plans are unveiled for ‘Easter Rising 1916’ commemorations

An old newspaper picture showing the aftermath of the fighting in Dublin during the rising of 1916.
An old newspaper picture showing the aftermath of the fighting in Dublin during the rising of 1916.

Antrim and Newtownabbey councillors have paved the way for Easter Rising commemorations to take place in the borough.

Councillors agreed on Tuesday night to form a working group to look at creating a “proportionate” commemoration programme for the Rising’s centenary.

A motion brought forward by Sinn Fein Councillor Michael Goodman, seconded by Councillor Annemarie, to create a working group to establish an Easter Rising commemorative programme and fund, created lengthy debate across the council chamber.

Cllr. Goodman said the thinking behind the proposal was to “create better understanding”.

Cllr. Logue said the idea was to create something for interested parties such as schools and community groups who wanted to “celebrate the centenary”.

DUP councillors Philip Brett and Nigel Kells voiced concerns over the proposal, with the former saying Cllr. Goodman’s motion created “issues that could be of concern”.

He also took exception to Cllr. Logue’s description of “celebrating” the Easter Rising, saying it reinforced his concerns baout the overall issue.

He pointed out that organisations wanting to commemorate the Easter Rising centenary could always apply for funding under the council’s Good Relations grant funding scheme.

Cllr. Brett also highlighted that the Irish government had created a fund for events to mark the centenary.

Putting forward an amendment to the Sinn Fein motion, Cllr. Brett called for council to instead note the centenary and highlight that funding is available to local groups through the Irish government’s fund.

His motion was seconded by Cllr. Kells, but when put to a recorded vote was quashed by 20 councillors voting against it, compared to the backing of the 15 DUP councillors.

Alliance Alderman Tom Campbell said he hoped that something could be done to create agreement across the chamber and put forward a new amendment calling instead for a working group to be established made up of councillors and council officers to establish a “proportionate Easter Rising commemoration programme”.

SDLP Councillor Brian Duffin seconded Ald. Campbell’s amendment saying it was an opportunity to promote good relations in the borough.

Ald. Campbell’s amendment received the backing of the majority of the chamber, with only the 15 DUP councillors voting against it.