Abbey director warns of ‘paralysis’ over 1916 centenary plans

Fiach MacConghail suggests a UN general assembly be convened in Dublin

Government anxiety about how to commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Rising is leading to "commemoration paralysis", the director of the Abbey Theatre has claimed.

Senator Fiach MacConghail said there was considerable anxiety emanating from Government regarding the commemoration of this decade of centenaries, but in particular how to commemorate Easter 1916.

“This commemoration anxiety has been going on for a while, and will I believe end up in commemoration paralysis,” he said.

Speaking at the annual John McGahern seminar, which concluded yesterday, the former adviser to the Minister for Arts said historians were now publicly fighting over whether royal visits should or should not happen.

“We should be planning and announcing our celebrations for the Easter Rising now,” he said, suggesting that a general assembly of the United Nations be convened in Dublin in 2016.

Much other discussion at the weekend event focused on the fate of Leitrim man Jimmy Gralton with the Ken Loach film Jimmy's Hall about his life due to premiere at the Cannes film festival this week. Shot in Sligo and Leitrim last year, the film is in the running for the prestigious Palme d'Or prize.

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh, a contributor to The Irish Times, reports from the northwest of Ireland