Debate on value of 1916 - Still trying to learn lessons

Former taoiseach John Bruton has indeed stirred a hornet’s nest with his suggestion that the 1916 Rising was a mistake and a pointless waste of lives.

The responses, and the vitriol informing some of them, show how very far we have to go if we are ever to reach a point where we might be able to make rational, unemotional judgments about our past and how we turned it into our present. Until that day comes we seem doomed to keep fighting yesterday’s battles while the present slips by in a blur of missed opportunity.

Yesterday we published a response from Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams who, unsurprisingly dismissed Mr Bruton’s remarks. Today we publish a response from Mr Bruton. Mr Adams resorted to the age-old Sinn Féin tactic of playing the man, not the ball. Mr Adams relies on a one-eyed view of our tragic past to try to prove the value of 1916; he relies on the nationalist version of history to justify nationalists’ behaviour.

There is something particularly Irish, something particularly delusional about this. The core of Mr Adams’ argument seems to be that politics had failed and the 1916 Rising was essential. And this from a man who spent the best part of his life carrying coffins, praising “volunteers” but never, by his own version of history, joining their ranks. All this from a man who achieved nothing of any consequence until he sat at a table and talked to those who did not share his views.

Only in Ireland, and what a price we pay.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Learning hard lessons - Time to put a brake on car debt spiral?

Conflicting messages - Farming and climate change

Rainbow nation - The changing faces of Ireland

A test of character for Varadkar - Will he be a chairman or a chief?


Breaking Stories

Charleton Tribunal hears how complaint against Garda whistleblower was withdrawn by his partner

Officers find €90k of cannabis hidden in parcel of fish in Portlaoise

Latest: Simon Coveney believes there are 'many outstanding issues' following May's Brexit speech

Belfast City Council to hire Irish language and Ulster Scots officers

Lifestyle

Getting clean and lean: James Duigan on the simplicity of changing your food habits

Ask Audrey: You’re 9 on the Crazy Scale, where 1 is sane and 10 is flying with Ryanair

Get out and enjoy: What's on offer for Culture Night?

Upper crusts: Eight sourdough breads tested

More From The Irish Examiner