Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Mr. Seán Canney T.D., was honoured to present a commemorative plaque to the US National Park Service in Washington DC on behalf of President Michael D. Higgins and the people of Ireland to mark last year’s 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.
Gay Vietzke, Superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks introduced Minister Canney at the ceremony. The plaque was presented by the Minister and accepted on behalf of the National Park Service by Assistant Director, Jeff Reinbold. The Director of the US Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney and Congressman Brendan Boyle both attended and spoke at the ceremony.
The commemorative plaque, which contains the wording of the 1916 Proclamation, will be showcased within the Washington Monument – a particular honour as memorial plaques are now accepted in only very rare circumstances.
The ceremony will also highlight the connection between the 2016 centennials of Ireland’s Easter Rising and the 100th anniversary last year of the foundation of the National Park Service.
The Minister said: “This rare honour celebrates the shared heritage of our two nations and reminds us of our precious friendship and ties. The commemorations programme last year, particularly here in the USA, had a fantastic impact and really engaged our diaspora and the Irish American community.”
On the commemorative plaque, the Minister added: “The plaque reminds us of the vision and ideals of the Proclamation and highlights the close bonds between our countries. I am also delighted that the plaque recognises the immense contribution by Thomas Francis Meagher, Irish independence leader and leader of the Irish Brigade in the American Civil War, to Irish US relations.”