Kevin Myers: FF celebratory plans for the Easter Rising a load of claptrap
Once again, Fianna Fail -- the party which has virtually destroyed this Republic -- is talking about "celebrating" the 1916 Rising. But this event divided Ireland more bitterly than it was already divided.
Hundreds died, and it led to a variety of civil wars -- between the IRA and the RIC, the IRA and the new Northern government, northern nationalists and loyalist paramilitaries, the IRA and southern unionists, and finally, Anti- and Pro-Treatyites. Thousands of unionists then fled the virulently Catholic and nationalist culture that emerged within the Free State. After which Golgotha, not a single declared aim of the Rising had been achieved. Ah yes. So much to celebrate . . .
So all in all, the Rising was a catastrophe for Ireland -- one of many in Europe in that thoroughly evil year of 1916. Only a historically-illiterate political-class such as ours could 'celebrate' such an event. But what was the nature of the regime that the rebels were taking arms against? Was it governed by a legal caste of unrepresentative high-born Protestants, chosen for their religion and their loyalty alone? Not quite. The Lord Chancellor in 1916 was Ignatius John O'Brien, an Irish Catholic. The Master of the Rolls was Charles Andrew O'Connor, another Irish Catholic. The two Lord Justices of Appeal were Stephen Ronan and Thomas Francis Molony, Irish Catholics both. The Solicitor General was James O'Connor, a Blackrock College boy. And finally, the King's Bench Division of ten judges contained five Catholics. Ten of the 15 highest legal positions in the land for which John Redmond had just won Home Rule were held by Irish Catholics.