Our CEO, Jillian Brennan, attended the annual 1916 Commemoration Ceremony at Arbour Hill on Wednesday 4th May. Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, hosted the ceremony, and President Higgins and the Taoiseach were also in attendance. The annual commemoration at Arbour Hill is the longest running State ceremony to commemorate the Easter Rising and the executed leaders of 1916 who are buried in the grounds of the Church of the Sacred Heart.
In addition to the President and the Taoiseach, attendance at the ceremony included the Lord Mayor, members of the Government, members of the Oireachtas, the Council of State, the Judiciary, relatives of the leaders and relatives of others who fought in 1916.
At the commencement of the ceremony, Jillian participated in a candle lighting ceremony along with representatives from interfaith and non-confessional bodies. Following a military salute, President Higgins laid a wreath in remembrance of those who died in 1916, and afterwards, Jillian read the following Humanist reflection at the graveside.
We remember today the courage and bravery of the 1916 leaders.
Without their conviction, we may not know freedom as we do today:
the freedom of our independence,
freedom of speech,
and freedom to act in line with our own convictions and beliefs.
One of the key values of Humanism is equality,
and the 1916 proclamation put equality at its core:
with a guarantee of religious and civil liberty,
equal rights, equal opportunities,
and a promise to cherish all citizens of the nation equally.
We must continue to strive towards full achievement of these rights,
and fulfil the vision of the 1916 leaders, for a free and equal Ireland.