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We need to imagine our future through the present not past

Days after its launch and the 1916 centenary website Ireland.ie has already been taken down for maintenance. 

I think it should be kept down for as long as it takes to rectify its many weaknesses. While the website and its accompanying promotional video are well intentioned it has been an embarrassing fiasco, its only redeeming feature being the soundtrack featuring Seo Linn.

The website asked us to re-imagine our future and to re-present ourselves for the Ireland of 2016. But it seems to think we can do this without any reference to the people who created the vision for an independent Irish state in the first place.

Shorn of its contemporary militaristic overtones, the 1916 Proclamation still stands as a powerful statement of egalitarian and tolerant ideals. Led by poets and teachers, the Rising struck an imaginative chord in other poets and thinkers as we can see in Yeats’ famous poem Easter 1916 and Frances Ledwidge’s moving lament for his friend Thomas McDonagh. Fifty years later the events of 1916 were still striking a chord in our finest artistic minds. We’ve only to think of George Morrison’s film masterpiece Mise Éire with its haunting Seán Ó Riada musical composition.

If we’re really serious about re-imagining our future together we need to engage our current poets and writers in the exercise. Perhaps the following would also carry a certain symbolic significance – Leanne O’Sullivan, Roddy Doyle, Joe Steve Ó Neachtain and Michael Longley.

John Glennon

Bannagroe

Hollywood

Co Wicklow


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