Easter Rising commemorations scaled back due to coronavirus

President lays wreath at Áras and prayers read during small gathering at Dublin’s GPO

President Michael D Higgins laid a wreath at Áras an Uachtaráin on Sunday afternoon to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising.

Mr Higgins rang the Peace Bell at noon and then placed the wreath at a group of 16 birch trees, which were planted to commemorate those executed following the Rising. This was then followed by a minute’s silence.

The 104th anniversary of the Easter Rising was not marked through public ceremonies due to restrictions in place to limit the spread of Covid-19.

A prayer was read out at the inner courtyard of the GPO by head chaplain to the Defence Forces Fr Seamus Madigan.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Lord Mayor of Dublin Tom Brabazon and the Defence Forces Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Mark Mellett were in attendance.

Special remembrance

In his prayer, Fr Madigan called for special remembrance of those who have died as a result of the coronavirus outbreak

“As we commemorate the sacrifice of those who died during 1916 and gather in their memory we pray for our country, our people and the challenges of these times, remembering especially those who have died as a result of the Covid-19 virus,” he said.

The 1916 proclamation was then read out by Captain Darren Reilly outside on the GPO on O'Connell Street in Dublin.

In a statement released by Áras an Uachtaráin earlier this week, the President Higgins said this Easter will be “unlike any we can remember”.

“This weekend we must do things differently,” he said. “We must show our love for each other, our solidarity with the most vulnerable among us and our support for the thousands of women and men who have been working so hard to provide us with essential services and to keep us safe by staying at home, keeping our distance and supporting each other in ways that do not put anyone at risk.

"I believe that this is a most fitting tribute to all those who have given so much to Ireland and to the Irish people.

“This weekend we remember, with appreciation, those who laid the foundations of our republic and all those who are giving witness to the generous ideals of a true republic in their words and deeds during these most challenging times.”