Fine Gael TD for Kildare South, Martin Heydon, has today (Wednesday) welcomed confirmation of the central role to be played by the army and Defence Forces in the 1916 commemorations. Details of the 2016 Centenary Programme were confirmed yesterday by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny along with Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphries and Minister for Defence Simon Coveney.

“I had raised this issue with Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphries in our discussions on the commemorations as I believe it is appropriate that our Defence Forces should have a prominent and extensive role in this National commemoration.

“As part of the year long programme the army will deliver an Irish flag and proclamation to every school in the Country – estimated at 4,000 schools, both primary and post primary. This will be a very important occasion for schools and will be very memorable for the school children. The army will also play a central role in the commemoration parade.

Minister Coveney said he had “every confidence that their contribution will enrich and enhance these forthcoming historic events by honouring and respecting the real significance of the sacrifices made by our Patriots” with which I totally agree.

“I would also like to acknowledge the role of Department of Defence officials who worked closely with their colleagues in the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht in putting the overall programme together” concluded Heydon.