Feeble argument against commemorating the Easter revolution

ROBIN BURY (Irish Examiner letters, November 8) argues against the State commemorating the 1916 Rising. Yet the State is but the citizens of Ireland acting collectively.

Your correspondent’s case seems feeble enough - “sacrificial politics” is an empty, emotive phrase. True 1916 was “not mandated”. Revolutions are not elections. Yet the 1918 all-Ireland poll emphatically endorsed the insurrection, albeit retrospectively.

Next, personalities. Eoin MacNeill did indeed countermand the Rising but only because the promised arms procurement from Germany failed to appear. Roger Casement shared such a concern, too. True, Arthur Griffith opted to abstain owing to his conscientious objection to violence per se.

Mr Bury insists India won its freedom from British rule with “virtually no violence”. Sadly, it was just put off because, as had happened here, civil war soon brought bloodshed with partition.

He wonders why the “coming into being of the Irish Republic in 1948 by constitutional means” has hardly been an official occasion of remembrance.

This was the culmination of an historical process. The first stage was the Easter Rising and the next was the War of Independence. The point, then, is that the declaration - however historic - owed its origin to the earlier events. Thus, it did not arise ‘ab initio’.

Finally, your correspondent public spiritedly laments the want of recognition for past constitutional leaders like Grattan, O’Connell and Parnell. The people of Ireland owe much to such patriots. In the case of Parnell, each year on Ivy Sunday there is a public commemoration (non-State) at the patriot’s Glasnevin grave.

However, Mr Bury’s view is valid in this regard.

JA Barnwell

5 St Patrick’s Road

Dublin 9

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