1916 Centenary – striking a balance between commerce and commemoration

Next year sees the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising and while this may be an occasion for celebration for some, or reflection for others, it seems inevitable that some businesses will take advantage of the centennial.

One company has already faced criticism for their use of Easter Rising themed merchandise to attempt to ‘commemorate’ the rising, but is this going to start a commercial trend?

Fianna Fáil councillor Malcolm Byrne expressed reservations about the commemorations becoming a financial opportunity.

“We need to ensure … it is not overly commercialised,” he said.

“I believe that, in the same way as the state protects the use of the harp as the national symbol, there is a need for us to ensure that, however we mark 1916, that it’s appropriate, that it’s not overly commercialised, and that there is some way whereby material used is licensed.”

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh thinks that a balance could be struck between commerce and commemoration.

“There is always a danger that commercial firms will cash in on momentous occasions, especially historic celebrations, that will devalue the event,” he said.

However, rather than banning these outright, the South Dublin representative has suggested that they instead use the income for good.

“There is a respectful way for companies to play a part or their role in this instance, the centenary celebrations of the 1916 Rising and many could play a positive role and donate proceeds of sale to charities,” he said.

With less than five months until the anniversary, the city is sure to see more efforts to commemorate the event.

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