The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has announced that the military parade to commemorate the 1916 Rising is to be re-introduced from next Easter Sunday.

Mr Ahern said the parade would commemorate the Volunteers of 1916 and of the War of Independence and proclaim the republicanism of the people of this State.

Mr Ahern also told the opening session of the Fianna Fáil Ard Fhéis in Killarney that the Government is establishing a 1916 Centenary Committee to begin planning for a major centenary celebration of the 1916 Rising in 11 years time.

Up to 5,000 delegates are expected to attend the Ard Fheis, which is only the second to be held outside Dublin.

The Ard Fheis will take place against a back-drop of increased pressure on the Government.

This is the first Ard Fheis since Fianna Fáil suffered a bruising in local and European elections last year and the party is well aware that it has a lot of ground to make up before the general election.

The first steps in that process have been attacks on the Opposition parties and new policy initiatives aimed at dealing with concerns about public spending.

Among the motions for debate this evening were calls for reform of the Groceries Order and for the retention of the Artists' Tax Exemption Scheme.

Ahead of the annual meeting, the Minister for Finance, Brian Cowen, unveiled a 12-point plan in response to public concerns about value for money and wastages in the public sector. 

The plan will see fixed-price contracts becoming the norm for all services, consultancy and infrastructure projects.