NATIONALISM allows people to wrap murder in a flag and present it as war in a just cause. And it allows the ideologues of that cause to take history, scrub away the bits that do not fit the new fairytale, and write a version more fitted to their aims.
One of the half-forgotten, or at least half-ignored, truths of our history is that those who took part in the 1916 Rising, especially in Dublin, were excoriated by the majority of their fellow citizens until British authorities decided to execute them, making them martyrs for their cause.
The Department of Education’s decision not have history as a mandatory subject in the Junior Cert still raises concerns that many students may not then study it in the Leaving Cert, and so as citizens may have big gaps in knowledge of our country’s past and its impact on today.
In her article of October 7, under the headline “Ireland relied on support of others...it mustn’t look away as Catalans chart own freedom”, Marina Devlin compared the armed Spanish police disruption of the Catalan independence referendum to the 1916 Rising.
The young revolutionary who killed the only policeman to die violently between 1916 and the War of Independence later became an early member of An Garda Síochána, a police researcher has found.