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History shows violence of 1916 uprising was justified

Published 11/01/2016

Scene from O'Connell Street in Dublin, during the Easter Rising
Scene from O'Connell Street in Dublin, during the Easter Rising
INDH27 Easter Rising 1916: British troops barricade City Hall. Published 1920. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH23 Easter Rising 1916: Troops inspecting car on Mount Street Bridge. Published 1916. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH26 Easter Rising 1916: Troops searching bread van for arms. Published 1916. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH22E Easter Rising 1916: Troops being marched to barracks, 1916. Published 1916. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH22B Easter Rising 1916: O'Connell bridge and street, 1916. Published 1916. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH22 Easter Rising 1916: Coliseum theatre, Henry Street, destroyed following the 1916 Rising. Published 1916. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH29 Easter Rising 1916: British troops searching a car. Published 1920. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
Easter Rising:Anniversary/Standard bearers head the parade into Milltown Cemetery, Falls Road, BELFAST, for the graveside ceremony. 12/4/1966
INDH22C Easter Rising 1916: Ruins of Freeman Press and Telegraph, 1916. Published 1916. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH22A Easter Rising 1916: Head office of ITGWU, destroyed following the 1916 Rising. Published 1916. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
INDH28 Easter Rising 1916: British troops loading vehicle. Published 1920. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
Patrick Pearse
GPO in ruins 1916: Soldiers survey the interior of the post pffice in Sackville Street, Dublin, during the Easter Rising of 1916. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Sir Roger Casement
Arlene Foster
Mass destruction: The GPO in Dublin was the centre of the Easter Rising in 1916
Interviews with volunteers who took part in the Irish War of Independence including the Easter Rising could be made public
Standing tall: old revolutionaries commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in 1966
Library filer dated 10/06/1932 of Eamon De Valera on the steps of 10 Downing Street, London. British diplomats could not refrain from gloating over the absence of world leaders at the funeral of the Irish republican leader Eamon de Valera according to official papers made public Thursday December 29, 2005. Ireland's former prime minister and president, who had been jailed by the British after the 1916 Easter Rising, died in 1975 at the age of 92.
The GPO in Dublin which was seized by the rebels during the Easter Rising of 1916
The GPO in Dublin which was seized by the rebels during the Easter Rising of 1916
Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street) after the 1916 Rising

MELISSA Kavanagh (Write Back, January 7) asks if the new SDLP leader, Colum Eastwood, agrees "that violence is acceptable in certain circumstances and that people have the right to use armed struggle for the right and the freedom to govern and shape their own destiny".

I cannot speak for Mr Eastwood, but I do know that the right to resist foreign occupation does not necessarily stem from the ballot box.

There is a long-established and internationally recognised right of people to resist foreign occupation, as expressed in United Nations resolutions 3070 and 3103, which acknowledge the status of combatants struggling against colonial domination and the rights of people to self-determination.

The Irish people had endured for centuries the brutality of colonisation. The 1916 Easter Rising, in yet another strike for freedom, restored national pride in a people, many of whom were confused as to their identity.

The colonial violence inflicted on the dispossessed peasantry included the punitive policy of transportation to the penal colonies for minor infringements of law. It also forcibly imposed the plantation of Ireland, the penal laws, harsh evictions, harsher behaviour by landlords and chronic hunger.

The violence of the Great Famine, which saw Ireland lose two-and-a-half million of her poorest children to starvation, disease and emigration, while exporting huge surpluses of food from her ports, was in itself reason to forcibly rid this country of British rule.

The revolutionary assertion on behalf of the Irish people in 1916 to once again attempt to break the connection between Ireland and the British Empire took on not just national, but global significance. Not only did the Easter Rising change the course of Irish history, but its echo of resistance, which resonated around the world, instilled in colonised peoples worldwide the hope and inspiration to follow Ireland's lead. And follow it they did.

World empires were to be subsequently challenged by succeeding generations, which in time hastened the disintegration of the imperial and colonial era.

TOM COOPER

Dublin

Belfast Telegraph

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