Wednesday 7 December 2016

Britain should grant formal pardon to executed 1916 leaders

Published 14/04/2015 | 02:30

Tom Clarke, one of the 16 leaders executed after the 1916 Rising
Tom Clarke, one of the 16 leaders executed after the 1916 Rising
Soldiers inspect the interior of Dublin's General Post Office, viewing the complete destruction of the building after being shelled by the British during the Easter Rising 1916 (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

When Britain's Queen Elizabeth addressed Ireland in Dublin Castle in May 2011, she declared that the events of our mutual history have touched us all.

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She added that with the benefit of hindsight we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently, and that today the people and the governments of Britain and Ireland enjoy bonds that are based on understanding and reconciliation. Her sentiments were warmly and widely welcomed.

In September 2006, the British government, through the secretary for defence, issued a general statutory pardon to over 300 British military personnel, including 26 born in Ireland, who had been executed for a range of disciplinary offences during World War I - based on charges that were likely to have been influenced by the stresses associated with that war, for example: desertion, cowardice and mutiny.

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