An Taoiseach, Brian Cowan TD today spoke at UCD about future commemorative events which will take place in Ireland over the forthcoming years. Many centenaries will soon be remembered such as the Battle of the Somme and the Easter Rising.
I entirely agree with the aspirations set out within An Taoiseach's speech. The future commemorative events should be used as an opportunity to celebrate diversity, listen to everyone's stories and build a stronger Ireland based upon a Shared Future founded on a Shared Past.
As Brian Cowan states "mutual respect should be central to all commemorative events and that historical accuracy should be paramount."
Future commemorative events such as those for the Easter Rising, the Battle of the Somme and the Ulster Covenant should be seen as a great opportunity rather than any sort of threat.
Far too often we focus on what divides us rather than what unites us. For me, the border is merely a line on a map. Whether we are in Dublin or Dungannon, Bangor or Balbriggan, we have much more in common than what divides us.
As Brian Cowan states;
"There are huge challenges ahead – including how to tackle enormous economic difficulties and how to eradicate sectarianism and division. We must work together to meet these challenges.We cannot afford not to.
As we look ahead we can expect further change. Change is nothing to fear. In fact, there is so much to look forward to if we are prepared to seize the future. "
An Taoiseach's speech can be found at http://bit.ly/9McWCd
20 May 2010