Matter Raised Under Standing Order 31.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 188 No. 15

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Acting Chairman: Information on John Paul Phelan Zoom on John Paul Phelan In accordance with Standing Order 31, as it is now 12.50 p.m., I call on Senator Pearse Doherty to raise the matter of concern.

Senator Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty Tá mé iontach buíoch go bhfuil deis agam an tábhar seo a phlé os comhair an tSeanaid inniu. I am glad to have the opportunity to raise this issue, and that the Minister for Education and Science will hear my comments on the matter concerned, which is the need for the Government to promote the wearing of the Easter lily as a symbol of commemoration to all those who gave their lives in the pursuit of Irish freedom. The Government has reinstated the national commemoration to remember all those who gave their lives in the GPO and other venues throughout Dublin and the country in the pursuit of Irish freedom. I hope this is extended by promoting the Easter lily.

I will outline to the House the symbolism of the Easter lily and its history so Members can be informed. The Easter lily was designed in 1925 by Cumann na mBan. Its purpose was to raise money for the republican prisoners’ dependents fund and to honour the sacrifices made by men and women in the 1916 rising. One year later, the Easter lily commemoration committee was formed and existed until 1965. One of its founder members was Sheila Humphries. The original lily was hand-made by republicans who sold it at great risk throughout the country. Over the years, many republicans have been arrested, attacked, jailed and reviled for keeping alive the memory of the men and women of the Easter rising.

The lily is an emblem of unity between the various traditions within the nation and a symbol of life breathed into the nation by the heroism of the volunteers of 1916. The symbol is associated with the rising in Dublin due to the seasonal decoration in churches during this period. The use of the lily at funerals symbolises the restored innocence of the soul at death. Today, republicans continue to honour the heroic sacrifice made in 1916 when the IRA, hopelessly outnumbered and ill-equipped, faced the might of the British Army and showed the world, in the words of Patrick Pearse, that Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.

Senator Alex White: Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White On a point of order, the Senator’s two minutes are up.

Senator Donie Cassidy: Information on Donie Cassidy Zoom on Donie Cassidy No, they are not.

Acting Chairman: Information on John Paul Phelan Zoom on John Paul Phelan It is a matter for the Chair and five seconds remain.

[1125]Senator Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty Today, republicans continue to wear the lily to commemorate all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom throughout each period of struggle for that freedom. Will the Minister take this on board?

Acting Chairman: Information on John Paul Phelan Zoom on John Paul Phelan Senator Doherty’s time is now concluded.

Senator Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty The Chair makes a ruling on time in the House and I would appreciate if other Senators allowed the debate, permitted under Standing Orders, to take place.

Acting Chairman: Information on John Paul Phelan Zoom on John Paul Phelan The Senator’s point is made. Under Standing Orders the presence of the Leader of the House or a Senator acting on his or her behalf is what is required for this Standing Order to be fulfilled.


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