Friday 24 November 2017

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Adams and Sinn Fein are revising the Rising in their own way

Sinn Fein had nothing to do with 1916, but the party's trying to take ownership of it, says Ruth Dudley Edwards

Sein Fein leader Gerry Adams
Sein Fein leader Gerry Adams
Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

The signatories of the proclamation would be surprised that they are running in the 2016 General Election, not least because their revolution was an assault on constitutional politics, which some of them - like Tom Clarke - loathed and others - like Patrick Pearse - had come to despise.

With the exception of James Connolly, none of them ever stood for office, and Connolly's unsuccessful attempts to join Dublin City Council were on behalf of the Labour Party. Mandate-schmandate was their motto: they comprised the Military Council of the IRB, but didn't even tell its Supreme Council, to which they reported, that they were planning an insurrection.

Still, they would be thrilled to learn from an inventive Gerry Adams' blog that the Rising and the Proclamation not only "rocked British imperialism to its core," but "inspired liberation movements across the globe and over subsequent decades it successfully rolled back colonialism leading to the freedom of many nations and hundreds of millions of people." They'd be baffled though they were being represented as Sinn Fein supporters, for Sinn Fein had nothing to do with the Rising. And they would be really bewildered to find that in the Sinn Fein version of the Rebellion, gun-toting women are to the fore.

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