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Statement on the Centenary of Bloody Sunday

Date: Fri 20th Nov, 2020 | 15:51

On Saturday 21 November, at the invitation of the GAA, President Higgins will lay a wreath in Croke Park to commemorate the death of 14 people killed while attending a football match between Dublin and Tipperary on 21 November 1920.

Speaking about the event, President Higgins said:

"At the close of that day of such killing and injury 100 years ago, 32 people, three of them children, lay dead or dying in Dublin. Countless others were wounded, many with their lives irrevocably changed as a result of the events of the day. More death and heartbreak was to follow.

While details of these events and the context in which they occurred had initially been hidden, even denied, over the intervening period they continued to be contested, obscured or selectively recalled for various purposes. We recall today those lost and those who suffered with a sense of profound sadness and outrage even, but also as a reminder of the fragility of the hard-earned peace to which we have become accustomed and the consequences that flow from the abuse of power and the failure of diplomacy and politics. 

That the events that took place can, in their brutality and casualness to the taking of life, still shock and challenge us all is to be understood.  People from different backgrounds on the island may reflect on Bloody Sunday in different ways. We must respect this and be open to differing perspectives, and encourage a hospitality for these differing narratives of the events of that day.  For all of us, to avoid becoming captives of any frozen version of the events of our past, we must find the courage to remember painful events with honesty. Doing this can only assist us in taking responsibility for the present and our shared, peaceful future together."