| 14°C Belfast

Let's not forget the many lives lost in Easter Rising

In response to Tom Cooper's eloquent defence of violence in the 1916 uprising (Writeback, Jan 11), I wish to make a response to give another perspective.

The end result of the Rising and the War of Independence was a 26 county Free State, which was all the Treaty negotiations or armed uprising could have ever achieved.

The rising against the British Empire in 1916 resulted in the death of 485 people of which 54% were civilians, including women and children.

The British Army death toll was 26%, of whom many were Irishmen. The rebels suffered the lowest death toll at 16%.

It should also be remembered that the Roman Catholic Church largely condemned 1916 at that time.

The Bishop of Ross in Co Cork, for instance, called it murder pure and simple, with all its dreadful consequences.

The War of Independence which led up to the Treaty resulted in further deaths which included civilian casualties, many of whom were Protestant, who were forced to leave the country, and when the vote on the Treaty was not accepted the result was the Civil War, which was more bitter than the previous conflict.

My point is that once you bring the gun into politics it is very hard to get it out, as subsequent history has shown.

The Rising deserves to be remembered as a hugely pivotal moment in Irish history, but it needs to be viewed in a broad context remembering all who died and suffered because of a decision to take up arms.

the Rev Nigel Baylor


Belfast Telegraph