"The Government decision to officially commemorate the 1916 Rising is a positive and mature development for our nation. It is, in fact, in keeping with practice and precedent in all countries which value their own independence and sovereignty. To commemorate the heroism and sacrifice of those who won for us control of our own destiny is not only a selfless appreciation of those brave men and women but is essential to the wellbeing and morale of the nation." 

This was stated by Senator Labhras Ó Murchú who was Guest Speaker at the Annual Dinner of the 1916-1921 Club in McKee Barracks, Dublin. 

Senator Ó Murchú said that Ireland to-day enjoys an unique status in the world. In many ways, we are seen as a model for other countries which are travelling the same path of freedom and opportunity. Obviously, in the midst of affluence, there must be time for reflection on the characteristics which make us and inspire us as a distinctive nation. Our cultural heritage in particular, which was a strong motivating factor for our patriots, is deserving of special attention. To this end the new-found official status for the Irish Language, which is now enshrined in national and European legislation, marks our maturity as a nation. The unity of purpose which underpinned the campaign to achieve this status for Irish held huge potential for other areas of national interest.  

“I do not believe that this generation or future generations will thank us if in an election atmosphere we allow the dual opportunities of the 1916 Commemoration and the goodwill which exists for our native language to be squandered. 

Why should we underestimate the acquiescence of discerning Unionists when our State seeks to honour the memory of our patriots? Why should the ‘new’ Ireland have to be subservient to the lowest common denominator when it comes to national identity?” 

“It should not be presumed that young people in the education system or immigrants to our country expect the diminution of our native language or other distinctive cultural characteristics. 

 They know from experience that it would not apply in any other country. We should assume that they will be generous enough to respond positively rather than negatively to the challenges which face them.”