State’s 1916 centenary plans to cost €26m

Private sponsorship of State events ruled out by Minister for Arts during US visit

Heather Humphreys

Speaking on a trip to an Irish Famine commemoration in New Orleans, Ms Humphreys said that sponsors could also become involved in initiatives similar to the digital archive of Ireland’s 49,000 war dead in the first World War, supported by internet search engine Google.

“That is a very effective method of sponsorship. I still want to make sure that the commemorations are respectful and inclusive and appropriate,” the Minister said.

Involve people

She rejected any suggestion that the main 1916 commemoration events could be sponsored by a drinks company, for example.

“Absolutely not,” she replied, but added that there may be certain sponsorships that could work and that they would be looked at.

“I don’t have the ideas, but I am just giving you the example of how Google sponsored that,” she said.

A local supermarket supporting a local or community 1916 commemoration was something that could be considered, she said.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Ms Humphreys are due to unveil the Government’s plans for 2016 events on Wednesday. They are expected to cost about €26 million in 2015 and to include a renovation of Kilmainham Courthouse and an interpretative centre at the GPO.

Rejected criticism

Sinn FeinGerry Adams

“I don’t agree with him, obviously,” she said. “We are working on it and the plan and what’s important about the plan is that it is going to be sort of an overarching plan that will allow consultation.”

The Minister said she wanted the commemorations to “belong to the people” and not to “any one particular section of society”.

Ms Humphreys said that the commemoration should be used as an opportunity to evaluate the past 100 years and to look forward on “where we want to go as a nation for the next 100 years”.