“Here today, we must commit ourselves to our founders’ vision. Redoubling our efforts to the building of a fair and inclusive republic is how we can best honour the founders of this State and, more importantly, the people of today’s Ireland whom we serve.”

Social Democrats co-leaders Róisín Shortall TD and Catherine Murphy TD today commemorate the centenary of the first Dáil’s Democratic Programme – and call for a fairer and more inclusive republic where all children can achieve their potential.

The TDs are this afternoon attending a joint sitting of the current Dáil and Seanad in the Round Room of the Mansion House in Dublin, where the first Dáil met one hundred years ago today.

In her address as co-leader of the Social Democrats, Deputy Shortall highlights:

“On this day, one hundred years ago, the members of the first Dáil gathered together to build a new Ireland.

“This was not merely an act of rebellion, but also an act of creation.

“It was not enough for our forebears to throw off colonial rule. They wanted to build, for the first time on our island, a state that would be governed for, and by, all our people. And, as their final act on that historic day, they passed the Democratic Programme, a promise to build a new and fairer nation for their children.

“We are their children. Our children are their children too.

“That first Democratic programme was not a heady, unrealistic statement of a revolutionary government – it was a visionary blueprint for a progressive new state.

“The members of the first Dáil declared that their first duty as elected representatives of this State was to make provision for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of all children of this country.

“They promised to eradicate poverty, and critically, to use the country’s wealth and resources for the benefit of all of its people.

“Regrettably, we do not live in that Ireland yet. Over the past one hundred years we have taken bold steps towards achieving it, but there have been many backwards steps too.

“Time and again we have reneged on our responsibilities to recognise our children as full citizens, and to vindicate their rights to achieve their potential.

“Here today, we must commit ourselves to our founders’ vision. Redoubling our efforts to the building of a fair and inclusive republic is how we can best honour the founders of this State and, more importantly, the people of today’s Ireland whom we serve.”

ENDS

21st January 2019