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Ordeal of explaining our history to foreigners

Trying to explain the recent commemoration of the 1916 rising and its conflicting background to foreigners is bit of an ordeal.

The fact that the imperial parliament in London passed an act giving limited self rule to the whole island of Ireland with a parliament in Dublin is clear enough.

The fact that the most powerful parliament in the world refused to implement that act because Ulster unionists, who by definition favoured the union, armed themselves and signed what they called the ‘Ulster Covenant’ threatening to set up their own parliament in Belfast is bit harder to explain.

The fact that some Irish nationalists armed themselves and thought that they could play that game too is not too difficult to understand.

The fact that now the most extreme of nationalists are in government in that parliament in Belfast needs detailed explanation by reference to the Good Friday Agreement.

But the fact that a grand-daughter of one of the signatories of the Ulster Covenant is the government minister supervising the commemoration, including the laying of wreaths, in memory of those who participated in a violent uprising by extreme nationalists is not explained by reference to any agreement.

Hopefully the foreigners will understand that despite all our differences and contradictions we live in a democratic republic that allows for these contradictions and takes these differences into account.

A Leavy

1 Shielmartin Drive


Dublin 13


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