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1916 deaths can’t be justified by politicians

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sulllivan, and Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, recently launched the programme to commemorate 1916 by presenting children in St Patrick’s NS in Castlebar, with the tricolour flag and a copy of the Proclamation.

Perhaps our children in the 3,200 national schools to be targeted should be told that in 1916 all democratic freedoms were present and Home Rule was on the statute books in Westminster. There was no cause that justified the loss of lives of more than 485 people, 18 policemen, 250 civilians, 38 of whom were children. This violence also set a template for 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland.

Our children also need to know that a grievance, no matter how deeply felt by a minority, should be dealt with peacefully and by argument, as John Bruton recently suggested. Those who led the way in 1916 were a secret organisation within a secret organisation with no electoral mandate. Our Ministers and Taoiseach need to set an example to the nation’s children by supporting the peaceful, democratic settlement of grievances. That, after all, is why they were elected.

Robin Bury

The Reform Group,

Ballybrack,

Co Dublin


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