Friday 9 December 2016

Centenary is not a mandate for violence, says Brugha grandson

John Brennan

Published 14/03/2016 | 02:30

PSNI assistant Chief Constable, Will Kerr, said his force was preventing four out of five attacks planned by dissident republicans
PSNI assistant Chief Constable, Will Kerr, said his force was preventing four out of five attacks planned by dissident republicans

The grandson of legendary republican Cathal Brugha has said that the forthcoming centenary of the Easter Rising does not give militant or dissident republicans a mandate to carry out violence.

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Prof Cathal Brugha, whose grandfather and namesake survived some 25 bullet wounds in 1916 - only to be killed in the Civil War - said contemporary republican hardliners could not use the centenary to propagate and continue their own so-called 'armed struggles'.

Prof Brugha is associate Professor in the Quinn school of business in UCD.

He rejected the idea that terrorist groups claiming the 'IRA' name had either a justification or a mandate to use armed force.

Prof Brugha called such groups "illegitimate" and added that their activities were "not comparable" to the violence of Easter week.

His comments came after a PSNI assistant Chief Constable, Will Kerr, said his force was preventing four out of five attacks planned by dissident republicans.

Dissidents

In the past week alone, reports suggest that a number of attacks have been prevented by the PSNI, MI5 and An Garda Síochána.

While protecting the legacy of 1916 is important to Prof Brugha, he nevertheless dismissed comparisons between current republican hardliners and the leaders and rebels of 100 years ago.

"There is hardly any comparison," he insisted. "The 1918 election endorsed the actions by the leaders of the 1916 Rising.

"That means that the British executed what would have become the government - cabinet ministers."

The academic is now involved with the 'Save Moore Street' campaign, which aims to protect buildings of historical significance on Dublin's Moore Street, around the corner from the GPO on O'Connell Street, in Dublin.

Last year, the Government bought several buildings on Moore Street at a cost of €4m for redevelopment - including the premises where the leaders of 1916 held their last war council.

While condemning recent dissident-republican violence, Prof Brugha explained that he felt his grandfather and other rebels at the time were justified in carrying out their rebellion.

"Although the British empire had been 700 years in Ireland, it was one continuous attack on Irish people," he explained.

He added that he felt the Rising "was more about standing up for ourselves and calling a halt to the attacks than about starting a fight".

Adding to this further, Prof Brugha said that "about 485 people died in the 1916 rebellion, small by any standard, considering the benefits that were to come."

His grandfather was shot dead by Free State troops on O'Connell Street in the early stages of the Civil War.

Irish Independent

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