Sunday, 4 April 2010

Commemorating the Easter Rising 1916

Liberation of Ireland
The 1916 Easter Rising - The Liberation - The Irish Revolution (1919-22) - The Irish Free State (1922-37) - �ire (1937-49) - The Republic of Ireland - Economic Gains -Political Developments - Shifts in Power - The Great Famine (external link) - Irish National Anthem - Irish Declaration of Independence - Irish National Anthem - Presidents & Taoiseachs

The 1916 Easter Rising

The Easter Rebellion, was an armed uprising of Irish nationalists against the rule of Great Britain in Ireland. The uprising occurred on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, and centred mainly in Dublin. The chief objectives were the attainment of political freedom and the establishment of an Irish republic. Centuries of discontent, marked by numerous rebellions, preceded the uprising. The new crisis began to develop in September 1914, following the outbreak of World War I, when the British government suspended the recently enacted Home Rule Bill, which guaranteed a measure of political autonomy to Ireland. Suspension of the bill stimulated the growth of the Citizen Army, an illegal force of Dublin citizens organised by the labour leader Jim Larkin (died 1948) and the socialist James Connolly (1870-1916); of the Irish Volunteers, a national defence body; and of the extremist Sinn F�in. The uprising was planned by leaders of these organisations, among whom were the British consular agent Sir Roger David Casement, the educator Padhraic Pearse (1879-1916), and the poet Thomas MacDonagh (1878-1916).
Hostilities began about noon on April 24, when about 2000 men led by Pearse seized control of the Dublin post office and other strategic points within the city. Shortly after these initial successes, the leaders of the rebellion proclaimed the Independence of Ireland and announced the establishment of a provisional government of the Irish Republic. Additional positions were occupied by the rebels during the night, and by the morning of April 25 they controlled a considerable part of Dublin. The counteroffensive by British forces began on Tuesday with the arrival of reinforcements. Martial law was proclaimed throughout Ireland. Bitter street fighting developed in Dublin, during which the strengthened British forces steadily dislodged the Irish from their positions. By the morning of April 29, the post office building, site of the rebel headquarters, was under violent attack. Recognising the futility of further resistance, Pearse surrendered unconditionally in the afternoon of April 29.
The British immediately brought the leaders of the uprising to trial before a field court-martial. Fifteen of the group, including Pearse, Connolly, and MacDonagh, were sentenced to death and executed by firing squad. Four others, including the American-born Eamon de Valera, received death sentences that were later commuted to life imprisonment, although de Valera and some others were granted amnesty the next year. Casement was convicted of treason and hanged. Many others prominently connected with the rebellion were sentenced to long prison terms. The uprising was the first of a series of events that culminated in the establishment of the Irish Free State (predecessor of the Republic of Ireland) in 1921. Casualties were about 440 British troops and an estimated 75 Irish (below are their names). Property damage included the destruction of about 200 buildings in Dublin.

Picture of the seven men who signed the declaration 
The seven signatories of the Irish Proclamation (from the left):

Padraig Pearse, James Connolly, Thomas Clarke, Thomas MacDonagh, Sean MacDermott, Joseph Plunkett & Eamonn Ceannt
All of the above men were executed by the British 
Government for their efforts in trying to secure a free Ireland!

Time to debate a united Ireland

Sinn Féin believes reunification would best serve the people of every part of Ireland – but we want to listen to the unionist case
We have recently completed a lengthy and difficult negotiation at Hillsborough aimed at consolidating our political institutions and implementing outstanding previous agreements.
It should not be a surprise that these were difficult negotiations, as I am an Irish republican and others here have a completely different view. I believe in a united Ireland. Others wish to maintain the union.
This should not, however, mean that we are incapable of respecting each other, treating one another as equals or proceeding on the basis of partnership, respect, fairness and equality. I am utterly determined to work in good faith and with a good heart with my unionist colleagues, for the good of the entire community.
Sinn Féin signed up for previous agreements on Good Friday and at St Andrews and we believe that an agreement made must be an agreement implemented. At Hillsborough we agreed to: a date to give effect to the transfer of policing and justice responsibilities to our power sharing government; a process to see powers on parading transferred to our administration before the end of this year; and a process to implement the outstanding issues from St Andrews, including progressing Irish language rights and north/south institutions.
However, our considerations are not limited to today. We are looking and working towards tomorrow. This Saturday I will be in London to address a conference Sinn Féin is hosting on the question of Irish unity. We believe it is important, in the context of the Good Friday agreement, that we begin to discuss and plan for a united Ireland. This is not a hollow ideological discussion. There are a number of identifiable trends leading to Irish unity within a meaningful timeframe. Ireland is too small for two separate administrations. Partition is costing communities across our island.
There is a draw towards the greater integration of services, structures and bodies on an all-Ireland basis in order to deliver quality services and economies of scale. I am encouraged that many unionists support the development of these types of structures on the basis that they are mutually beneficial. Further administrative changes need to take place alongside important social, economic and civic trends. These all point towards the realisation of reintegration of both states presently on the island of Ireland into one independent country.
This analysis is supported by the rise in support for Sinn Féin. The most recent electoral test – the European election – gave Sinn Féin the largest share of the vote, while the assembly election of 2007 showed around a 4% spread between the four top parties in the north – the DUP, Sinn Féin, Ulster Unionists and SDLP.
In this context, Sinn Féin is committed to promoting a united Ireland in the interests of all of the people of every part of Ireland. Dialogue between republicanism and unionism has always been difficult, but it was only through dialogue that we were able to foster and develop the present peace and political process. Genuine dialogue based on respect and equality still remains critical.
With patience and mutual respect, grounded in anti-sectarianism, we can move forward into a better future in which we cherish all our people equally. We can accommodate each other's aspirations in a manner which does not demand the surrender of cultural or traditional identity.
We believe that Irish unity, on the basis of equality, offers the best future for all the people of this island. But we want to listen to unionism about why they believe the union is the best option. Opening up a debate around these key issues is the way forward.
It is particularly important that people in Britain, and in particular the huge Irish diaspora, are part of this discussion, in particular to influence British government policy.
The British government, as a signatory to the Good Friday agreement, accepted that it is for the people of Ireland, north and south, to determine the island's future. The peaceful progressive realisation of Irish unity is the best way forward. Governments and all interested sections of society should consider and begin to plan for reunification.
• Martin McGuinness is one of the speakers at the conference, Putting Irish unity on the agenda, which takes place in London this Saturday, 20 February.


tris said...

Lessons for us to learn.

Brave men though. They must have known that the brits would put them to death for treason if they were captured. They cared more about their country's freedom than their lives.

Brave men.

Anonymous said...

Of course they don't mention that when they captured GPO, they were roundly booed by the locals.