Friday 9 December 2016

Red pencils for Sinn Fein's ersatz cultural revolution

Centenary is looming and Gerry Adams's party is filling a commemorative vacuum, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

Published 10/04/2016 | 02:30

Blog: Gerry Adams reminds us that we should all be focusing on the Northern Ireland Assembly elections on May 5 — the anniversary of hunger striker Bobby Sands
Blog: Gerry Adams reminds us that we should all be focusing on the Northern Ireland Assembly elections on May 5 — the anniversary of hunger striker Bobby Sands

Come on. Admit it. You thought the 1916 centenary was over and you were safe from Michael D Higgins making yet another grandiose speech about rediscovering the idealism of a visionary generation, children rewriting the Proclamation to ban green vegetables on human rights grounds and grown-ups playing in the street in uncertain early 20th century costumes.

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But it's not. It's not. They haven't gone away, you know. For the day on which not very many people took over a few buildings and dared the government to come and get them was April 24, not March 24, and Sinn Fein is filling the commemorative vacuum.

Party members are denying, of course, that it has anything to do with them, lest anyone be so uncharitable as to accuse them of using 1916 for party advantage. No, no, no. What's happening, Gerry Adams tells us, is "a citizens' initiative" called "Reclaim the Vision of 1916", chaired by the artist Robert Ballagh, whom I met a while back at a history festival and found so amiable I came away liking him despite his noxious views.

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