Westmeath County Council is seeking input from the public on how best to celebrate the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising in the county, with public meetings being planned for March to engage with the local community.
The national programme of commemoration to take place next year - entitled Ireland 2016 - is to be complemented by local programmes in each county, and a steering group has been set up to help plan the Westmeath celebrations.
Hugh O’Reilly has been chosen as the council official to coordinate the Westmeath effort, and the steering group also includes cathaoirleach Paddy Hill, acting county librarian Paula O’Dornan, arts officer Miriam Mulrennan, heritage officer Bernadette Solon, as well as local historians Gearóid O’Brien and Seamus O’Brien.
Responding to the news at Monday’s county council meeting, Cllr Paul Hogan wondered whether there would be consultation with local families and descendents of volunteers who died in the 1916 Rising. CEO Pat Gallagher said the group would be happy to take up this suggestion, and that contributions from all strands of the community would be welcome.
Following the public meetings in March, a draft plan for the Westmeath commemoration will be sent to Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphries.