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IN his letter (April 14), Pierce Martin misses the point when he denounces Pádraig Pearse as being the enemy of parliamentary democracy in 1916.
Mr Martin’s comments are totally lacking in perspective. In 1912, Pádraig Pearse endorsed parliamentary democracy when he supported the granting of limited self-government for the island of Ireland contained in the Home Rule Act.
The people who showed contempt for parliamentary democracy were some of the most powerful politicians in the British empire. The leader of the Conservative opposition, Andrew Bonar Law, expressly supported the Ulster unionist covenant to “use all means necessary” — including civil war — to prevent the implementation of the Home Rule Act. The act was passed by the representatives of the most powerful parliamentary democracy in the world at the time.
In addition the Liberal prime minister, Herbert Asquith, in his own words, “put the screw” to the leader of Irish constitutional nationalism, John Redmond, rather than confront the unionist threat of force.
After that, can we blame Pearse, or indeed many nationalists, for coming to the conclusion that force and threats of force were more effective than constitutional means in achieving results?
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