The Taoiseach has said next Sunday's 1916 commemoration will be a celebration of the Irish Army and of what Ireland has achieved over the last 90 years.

Speaking at the opening of a new exhibition on 1916 in Collins Barracks, Bertie Ahern rejected suggestions that the parade could be seen as pro-IRA.

At the ceremony he called on Irish people to renew their republicanism by marrying new ideas to steadfast values.

Mr Ahern said Irish people must begin a ‘great national conversation on what it means to be Irish, on the values we hold and cherish’.

He said we have a duty to honour the dead generations but also to vindicate the generations who will come after us.

The 1916 exhibition looks at the main events of Easter week, as well as the wider historical context, from the Dublin Lockout of 1913, through to the end of the Civil War in 1923.

An original copy of the Proclamation of Independence, donated to the Museum last month, occupies a central position in the exhibition.

Mr Ahern also said next Sunday's commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising will be an expression of the country's pride at its achievements and a celebration of its egalitarian ideals.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio's This Week, he said that those who signed the proclamation and led the Rising refused to accept limited devolution in a truncated Ireland within the British empire.

The Taoiseach added that they had established the principle that no country had the right to govern another without its consent.