- 09 Apr 20
Easter 2020 will long be remembered as a highpoint of the Covid-19 epidemic, which has been sweeping the world. As a result, the programme planned by the President of Ireland, Michael D, Higgins has a unique character.
The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, has issued a statement in advance of a ceremonial weekend of activities, across the historic Easter period. As a result of Covid-19, the events will not be attended by members of the public or other dignitaries.
Activities which the President will lead over the weekend include the broadcast of a special message for the Irish people on the President’s website on Good Friday; the Lighting of Lanterns event in Áras an Úachtaráin on Sunday morning,, to be broadcast by RTÉ; a special commemoration marking the 104th Anniversary of the Easter Rising; and a ceremony on Easter Monday at the Garden of Remembrance.
“Easter, for us Irish, is a time of remembrance, reflection, hope for the future and, for so many, a coming together with those we hold dear,” the President said in a statement.
"This Easter will be unlike any we can remember. This weekend, we must do things differently.
"We must show our love for each other, our solidarity with the most vulnerable among us and our support for the thousands of women and men who have been working so hard to provide us with essential services and to keep us safe by staying at home, keeping our distance and supporting each other in ways that do not put anyone at risk.
"I believe that this is a most fitting tribute to all those who have given so much to Ireland and to the Irish people.
"This weekend we remember, with appreciation, those who laid the foundations of our republic and all those who are giving witness to the generous ideals of a true republic in their words and deeds during these most challenging times.”
The full list of State-led events overt the weekend is as follows:
· For Good Friday, President Michael D. Higgins has recorded a Message to Irish people at home and abroad.
In his special message, the President expresses the sympathy and solidarity of the Irish people “to our wider global family” and thanks “those who continue to work tirelessly and selflessly to keep communities healthy and safe” and appealed to Irish people to abide by the restrictions that have been put in place to stop the spread of the virus.
The President’s Message will be available on www.president.ie.
· On Easter Saturday at 9pm – The People of Ireland are invited to Shine a Light to show their support and solidarity with those who are sick and those who have lost loved ones to COVID19, and as a gesture of appreciation to our healthcare workers and all those who continue to provide essential services through this crisis.
The President and Sabina Higgins will participate in this initiative by lighting lanterns at Áras an Uachtaráin. The event will be televised on RTÉ1.
· On Easter Sunday the men and women of 1916 will be commemorated, not through ceremonies attended by members of the public, but through a televised event, which will air at noon.
President Michael D. Higgins will lead this special commemoration, marking the 104th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.
The ceremony will begin with President Higgins ringing the Peace Bell at Áras an Uachtaráin, followed by a prayer and a reading of the Proclamation.
President Higgins will then lay a wreath at a group of 16 birch trees that were planted by himself and Sabina in honour of the revolutionaries executed after the 1916 Rising. The laying of the wreath will be followed by a minute’s silence, commemorating those who died in the Easter Rising as well as the victims of the COVID19 pandemic.
· On Easter Monday, at 5.55pm, RTÉ1 will broadcast a short ceremony, Ireland Remembers, in honour of all those who have died at this time.
The pre-recorded ceremony will involve a wreath laying at the cruciform pool in the Garden of Remembrance by five individuals of varying ages and representative of some of the agencies assisting with this pandemic (nurse, paramedic, Aer Lingus operative, Alone Volunteer, 9 year old GAA rep). The ceremony concludes with a minute’s silence for all those who have died.