1916 relative says families should consider boycotting 2016 commemoration

Anger among relatives of those involved in the Rising as they received no assurances they would be invited to the 2016 ceremony

Joe Kelly, who fought in the GPO in 1916, ended up back on duty there in the 1940s when he got a job as a doorman. He died in 1969. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Joe Kelly, who fought in the GPO in 1916, ended up back on duty there in the 1940s when he got a job as a doorman. He died in 1969. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Mon, Jun 16, 2014, 01:00

The son of a Dubliner who fought in the GPO in the 1916 Rising has said that if families are excluded from the 2016 commemoration they should consider boycotting or picketing the event.

Joe Kelly, whose father, also Joe, was 16 at the time of the Rising, said there had been little consultation with families about plans for the centenary.

Mr Kelly, who has three siblings, said there was anger among relatives of those involved in the Rising as they had received no assurances they would be invited to the 2016 ceremony.

“Sons and daughters should definitely be included,” said Mr Kelly, who will attend a meeting for the 1916 families in Wynn’s Hotel next Sunday.

He said he would be suggesting that if the Government left families out in the cold, they should stage an alternative commemoration.

His father Joe fought in the GPO in 1916 while his uncle Tom was in Bolands Mills. “I am very proud of my father,” said the retired teacher and Sinn Féin member.

‘Amazing’

Mr Kelly said his father had spoken little of the events of the Easter Rising or his later imprisonment in Dartmoor in England.

“He told me once that he spoke to Connolly who was lying on the floor and asked him how he was and Connolly said: ‘I am fine, go back to your post, son.’”

Joe Kelly, who died in 1969, ended up back on duty in the GPO in the 1940s when he got a job as a doorman there.

Yesterday, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht yesterday invited relatives interested in attending the centenary commemoration to make contact.

A spokesman said that the commemorative arrangements were still under development, but would acknowledge the service and achievements of the personnel involved “with a special consideration to include their descendants and relatives”.