Sunday 24 September 2017

1916 celebrations: A terrible bust-up is born

The Easter Rising centenary celebrations are said to be in danger of paralysis, but marking the rebellion has always been hugely contentious.

Privates and Corporals in the Irish Defence Forces must retire after 21 years of service
Privates and Corporals in the Irish Defence Forces must retire after 21 years of service
Easter Rising commemorations in 1942
Eamon de Valera

Damien Corless

It happened almost a century ago, but the Easter Rising remains a very touchy subject. The Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan is reportedly "furious" that the focus of the centenary commemorations has shifted on to the possible participation of the British royal family, while Senator Fiach Mac Conghail has spoken of "commemoration anxiety" leading to "commemoration paralysis".

The fact is, however, that anxiety and paralysis are nothing new when it comes to marking what was, for all the undoubted heroism of the blood sacrifice, an act of violence.

Eleven months after the end of the Civil War, the rulers of the new Free State were faced with the business of marking the anniversary of the insurrection that had set the ball rolling on the creation of that State.

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