Sunday 4 December 2016

Some awkward questions on the Easter Proclamation

Let the 'children of the nation' ask the adults why it was okay for a tiny and unelected minority to use arms then but not now, says Ruth Dudley Edwards

Published 18/10/2015 | 02:30

Time for reappraisal: Captain Eoin Rochford of the Defence Forces reads the Easter Proclamation outside the GPO
Time for reappraisal: Captain Eoin Rochford of the Defence Forces reads the Easter Proclamation outside the GPO

All Ireland seems to be hosting history fight clubs these days. Within just the last three weeks, I've been on panels discussing with lively audiences the Great Famine in Newry, the Proclamation in Portlaoise and Patrick Pearse ("proto-fascist eccentric or visionary?") in Tallaght.

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May I refer the people who were annoyed because I suggested that the British government were incompetent rather than genocidal to the work of reputable historians like Professors Christine Kenealy, Cormac O'Grada or my friend Liam Kennedy, who addresses this and many other contentious issues in his forthcoming book Unhappy the Land: The Most Oppressed People Ever, The Irish?

In Portlaoise, I described the Proclamation as profoundly partitionist. In Tallaght, a member of the audience asked what unionists could have been expected to think about it?

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