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A Ceremony to mark the 104th anniversary of The Easter 1916 Rising took place at 12.00pm on Sunday 12th April 2020. The ceremony, which was reduced in line with HSE Guidelines due to the COVID-19 outbreak, was broadcast live from Áras an Uachtaráin and The GPO.

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The Ceremony began with the ringing of The Peace Bell by the Supreme Commander of Óglaigh na hÉireann, an tUachtarán, Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin and the playing of a Piper’s Lament. This was followed by the lowering of the National Flag to half mast on the GPO rooftop, a Prayer of Remembrance by Head Chaplain to the Forces, Fr Seamus Madigan, in the GPO inner courtyard, and the reading of the Proclamation by Captain Darren Reilly in front of the GPO. In his prayer, Fr Madigan called for special remembrance of those who have passed away as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak:

“As we commemorate the sacrifice of those who died during 1916 and gather in their memory we pray for our country, our people and the challenges of these times, remembering especially those who have died as a result of the COVID-19 virus.”

He also called for “healing of those touched by COVID-19, strength for all who carry the burden of this illness and courage for those who care for our fragile world.”

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar then invited An tUachtaráin to lay a wreath at Áras an Uachtarán and a minutes silence was observed, followed by the playing of the Last Post, the raising of the National Flag to full mast, the playing of reveille and the singing of the National Anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann.

Óglaigh na hÉireann would like to take this opportunity to wish the people of Ireland a safe, and Happy Easter.


Bio – Captain Darren Reilly (Proclamation Reader)

Captain Darren Reilly, 28, is from Ballinamuck, Co Longford and joined the Defence forces in 2011. He was commissioned into the Cavalry Corps in 2013. He currently works as Liaison Officer to the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces and holds a Bachelor of Corporate Law, NUIG (2018). He has served overseas in Lebanon as a member of 111th Irish Battalion, UNIFIL, Nov 2017 – May 2018

Bio – Head Chaplain to the Forces, Fr Seamus Madigan

Limerick-born Fr Séamus Madigan was appointed Head Chaplain to the Irish Defence Forces on 01 October 2015. It followed nine years as Chaplain at Sarsfield Barracks in Limerick with the 12 Infantry Battalion. In that time he has served on overseas missions in Kosovo, Chad and Lebanon.

As Head Chaplain Fr Madigan heads up a team of 15 chaplains. He is responsible with the Chaplaincy Team to ensure that ‘pastoral care and spiritual support’ is offered to all members of the Defence Forces and to their families, at home and overseas.

Fr Séamus, is based at Defence Forces Headquarters in McKee Barracks in Dublin.

In recent years he has led prayers at various State and Military ceremonies. Most notably he composed a special prayer for the State Commemorations at the GPO on Easter Sunday 2016, marking the centenary of the 1916 Rising. He has also been involved in Remembrances Services at home and abroad commemorating all Irish people who died during various wars.

Fr Séamus was ordained in Croagh, Co. Limerick, in 1991 and is a Catholic Priest of the diocese of Limerick. He is 56 years old.

Fr Séamus enjoys travel and spending time with his family. His mother Kathleen lives in County Limerick and he is the eldest of seven siblings; one brother and six sisters, all of whom live in Ireland.


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