GPO rebels would hate IRA abuse controversy - Tánaiste
Published 03/04/2015 | 02:30
SIGNATORIES of the 1916 Proclamation would "deeply regret and resent" the IRA sex abuse controversy that has engulfed the Sinn Féin party, Tánaiste Joan Burton has claimed.
The Labour Party leader last night warned that Sinn Féin will look to "claim ownership" of next year's Easter Rising commemorations, adding that the term 'republicanism' does not belong to any one group.
In comments that were last night attacked by Sinn Féin, Ms Burton pointed out that Gerry Adams's party did not even exist during the Rising.
And Ms Burton said those who were in the GPO in 1916 would be disturbed by the recent controversies surrounding IRA sex abuse and kangaroo courts.
"There is a very narrow definition of republicanism which is used by Sinn Féin and others to mean those people who are part of what has become modern-day Sinn Féin," Ms Burton said in an interview with the Irish Independent.
"In many ways, I think many of the people who were in the GPO would deeply regret and resent some of the events that have become associated with them, as people seek to claim ownership," she added.
Ms Burton said that while the foundation of the State was preceded by a "bloody and violent insurrection" next year's events would be based on the acknowledgement that the "necessity for violence has become redundant".
"The republic that we've created means that we don't have to resort to violence again," she said.
The Dublin West TD said that the meaning of republicanism would be devalued if attempts were made to claim ownership of the celebrations.
"If ownership of that were to be claimed by any one party, or grouping, republicanism would be much reduced or diminished by it. So we are all equally entitled to call ourselves a republican, we are all entitled to be inspired by the values set out in the Proclamation."
Last night, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald hit out at Ms Burton over her remarks.
"Joan Burton's comments are utterly pathetic. It would suit her better to think of the principles upon which the Labour Party was founded and its involvement in the Rising, rather than taking cheap shots at Sinn Féin," she said in a statement to the Irish Independent.
"Those who were in the GPO in 1916 would turn in their graves at the actions of Joan Burton and the modern-day Labour Party," she added.
The clash between the two politicians came just days after the Government announced details of its commemoration plans.
No fewer than 40 major events have been announced for next year, with the centrepiece being a wreath-laying ceremony and parade in Dublin city centre.