Date Released: 23 March 2016
SIPTU representatives and President Michael D Higgins welcomed back to Dublin for the first time in 100 years, the Green Flag of Ireland that was raised above Liberty Hall in the run up to the Easter Rising, at a ceremony at Áras an Uachtaráin on Tuesday, 22nd March.
The flag, which features a gold harp on a green background, was raised at Liberty Hall on the orders of ITGWU acting general secretary James Connolly, on 16th April 1916. It was seized from the ruins of Liberty Hall by the British Army during the Easter Rising. Thought to have been lost it was recently discovered to be in the possession of the Inniskillings Museum in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, which today presented it to SIPTU for display in Liberty Hall as part of the centenary commemorations of the Easter Rising.
Addressing the ceremony in Áras an Uachtaráin, SIPTU General Secretary Joe O’Flynn, said: “The return of this iconic flag on loan from the museum is particularly welcome in this centenary year as SIPTU members across the country commemorate the role our predecessors in the ITGWU, including James Connolly and the men and women of the Irish Citizen Army, played in the Rising and the revolutionary period.”
He added: “We would like to thank Neil Armstrong and Mark Shortt and the other trustees of the Inniskilling Museum for agreeing terms of the loan to SIPTU of this important part of our union’s heritage and look forward to maintaining the positive relationship we have built over a few short months.”
In his address, President Higgins, said: “The decision of the Inniskillings Museum to loan this flag to SIPTU, the direct successor of the ITGWU, as a contribution to the 1916 commemorations – is, I believe, a generous gesture, a clear manifestation of the mutual respect, friendship, and the new hospitality to different versions of history that can now prevail between the citizens of these islands.”
The Chairman of Trustees for the Inniskillings Museum, Mark Scott, said: “It is right and fitting that this historic object should be made available to SIPTU, the direct successors to the ITGWU, for their commemoration of the part played by the union in 1916. The trustees of the museum are most grateful to SIPTU for their generosity in taking on the professional conservation and mounting of the flag.”
The Green Flag of Ireland will go on display in Liberty Hall on Saturday, 26th March.