Why we ‘must not be ashamed to celebrate 1916 Easter Rising’
Ministers debating how to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising have been told by a leading professor that it should be a ‘shameless celebration’.
The comments from a prominent Irish historian followed concerns that a full celebration of the Rising could be divisive in some communities in Ireland. Some commentators have pointed to the way Loyalist celebrations of the 1690 Battle of the Boyne have led often caused offence and sometimes led to civil unrest in Northern Ireland.
Officials planning next year’s centenary of the Easter Rising want to strike a balance between celebrating the beginning of Irish independence and not appearing aggressive or hostile to other communities.
Many countries celebrate key dates
However, Ronan Fanning, UCD Professor Emeritus of History, said the occasion must be a: “recognition of historical reality.”
He pointed out that many other countries celebrate key dates in their history even though they were often bloody and violent.
He said: “Did the American government shrink from the bicentenary of the decisive moment in the birth of the United State because that state was born out of war?
“Does the French government shrink from the annual celebration of Bastille Day notwithstanding the appalling bloodshed of the French Revolution?
“We should insist that whatever government will be in power, must unwaveringly lead the nation at home and abroad in unabashed celebration of the seminal moment in the birth of the Irish Republic”.
Fanning added that while: “we may condemn political violence, we cannot dispute that it is an invariable component in wresting independence from colonial powers.
“[The fact] that the birth certificate of this State, in common with that of so many other states, is stained with blood must not mean that 2016 cannot be an occasion for shameless celebration”.
One of the most important moments Ireland’s history
While it is important that there is an appropriate celebration of one of the most important moments in the country’s history, ministers are worried about the potential for trouble and violence.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan told a party conference at Castlebar, Co Mayo: “We cannot allow the centenary commemorations themselves to become a divisive issue.
“There is a nervousness across many political representatives and community leaders in the North about the centenary of the Rising and how it will be commemorated.
“Where the annual marking of a 1690 battle can still lead to violence on the streets, this anxiety should not be surprising or underestimated”.
Minister of State for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan said it was very important that the language used would set the right tone and that 2016 should be a: “commemoration not a celebration”.
However, a speaker from the floor replied: “when you overdo sensitive, you arrive at apology”.
Another speaker suggested that a copy of the 1916 proclamation should be issued to every house in Ireland.
Main Groups:Political Background Irish Republican Brotherhood Irish Volunteer Force Irish Citizen Army Cumann na mBan
The Fighting:The Rebel Plan The Rebels Attack The British Reaction
Aftermath:Leaders Executed Public Reaction Rare photos of the aftermath of the Easter Rising
Modern viewsJohn Bruton criticises leaders Easter Rising centenary events announced Sinn Féin demand Taoiseach block sale of Easter Rising site Work begins on Moore Street commemorative centre Interviews with relatives of the Easter Rising rebels Take a guided tour of the Easter Rising key sites. Narrated by Colin Farrell
Do you qualify to become an Irish citizen?There are three main ways for a person to qualify for Irish citizenship – through birth, through marriage or civil partnership or through naturalisation. Check if you qualify for Irish citizenship
Did you know?Despite funerals being the saddest of occasions, they often produce wonderfully warm and life-affirming poems and blessings. The Irish have a great tradition for funeral poems and blessings. Find out more.
Have you heard about…Some of the most popular surnames in Ireland have histories that go back hundreds, even thousands of years. Several originated from the ancient Irish clans that ruled various parts of the country over the centuries. Find out the stories of some of the most common names in Ireland.
What about this…Brian Boru is known as the last High King of Ireland and is even credited with seeing off the Vikings who had terrorised the Irish for over 200 years. Find out more.