Calls to mark Easter Rising centenary in Mid and East Antrim

Mid & East Antrim Councillor Patrice Hardy. (Editorial Image).
Mid & East Antrim Councillor Patrice Hardy. (Editorial Image).

A civic event should be held to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising, a Mid and East Antrim councillor has suggested.

Sinn Féin’s Patrice Hardy made the comments during last Monday night’s meeting of the local government authority.

During a report on civic events in the council area generally, the Bannside representative said: “The council should be taking steps to commemorate all events contained within the decade of centenary projects, including not only the Battle of the Somme but the 1916 Easter Rising.

“It is imperative that this council respectfully remembers those pivotal historical events and assists other organisations within the borough who wish to do so.

“I’m aware of the ‘On the Brink’ museum project and their role in looking at the Rising and the Somme together; however I feel that this council needs to take a further step and hold a civic event to commemorate the Easter Rising.

“I would ask the Chief Executive to come back with a report at her earliest convenience outlining plans on how we are going to mark this event. Can I add that this would be a matter or urgency, as the anniversary of the Rising is in April.”

UUP councillor Stephen Nicholl said he would be travelling to Dublin for the occasion as he had in other years, “to commemorate those brave soldiers who died in defence of freedom against the Uprising.”

Marking the Easter Rising centenary would show a more “even-handed” approach by the council, according to SDLP councillor Declan O’Loan.

“It’s one of the major events to be commemorated next year and it is important that this council shows itself to be even-handed through a significant civic event,” he added. “I urge council to proceed to make the plans to do that.”

It was generally agreed on the suggestion of Cllr Billy Ashe that a report be brought back to council.

Responding to the move, Cllr Hardy said: “This is a small island and whether we are a Republican or Unionist our history is shared. I am delighted that the council will bring back a report on how this can be done in a way that threatens no one but helps us understand our past.”