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Easter Rising to be remembered, not celebrated

Published 29/03/2016

Here are some facts about the Easter Rising which contradict the traditional Irish republican representation of it.

Firstly, it was not a revolution. Essentially, most of those who took part in the Easter Rising were social conservatives. Patrick Pearse's vision of Ireland's future was essentially the recreation of the traditional 19th-century peasant society.

The 1920s brought little of the social reform so badly needed by the south of Ireland. One of Sinn Fein's few social policy documents of the period immediately after the Easter Rising - the Democratic Programme of 1919 - was largely ignored.

The Easter Rising also victimised the innocent. The majority (54%) of those killed during the Rising were civilians.

The Easter Rising also ensured the gun would be part of Irish politics for the next 100 years. The IRA, throughout the 20th century, has claimed that its legitimacy comes from the armed struggle embraced and pursued in 1916.

Therefore, it can reasonably be argued that the Troubles of 1969-1998, which cost well over 3,000 lives, are part of the legacy of the Rising.

The Protestant population in the three southern provinces of Ireland dropped drastically in the 1920s. Between 1911 and 1926, the population of Protestants in the south of Ireland fell by almost 30%. Protestants were deliberately targeted by the IRA during the War of Independence.

While it is important to remember the Easter Rising, it would be more appropriate to reflect on the damage those responsible did to their country and to their people.

FIN LAPPIN

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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