Saturday 20 January 2018

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Legitimising the events of 1916 fraught with danger

We need an honest debate on what has happened during our many civil wars, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

At a reunion last week of the British Department of Trade and Industry, where I worked in the late Seventies, I had the usual dispute with Patrick Pearse's first cousin, Patrick Shovelton. Patrick was educated at Charterhouse and Oxford, served in the war in the Royal Artillery, became a senior civil servant and later Director-General of the General Council of British Shipping.

He has two important gongs from the queen; his wife is a Dame. His Who's Who entry is unremarkable, except for the sentence: "Born 18 Aug. 1919; s of late S. T. Shovelton, CBE, and May Catherine (née Kelly), cousin of Patrick and Willie Pearse, Irish patriots".

Patrick knows me only because I wrote Pearse's biography, about which he complains. He intends to stay alive until 2016, he explained, for he has been promised a seat in the front row at the centenary celebrations. We had a brief rehash of our disagreement over the legitimacy of 1916, and parted company civilly, with me, as usual, wondering at the unquestioning enthusiasm for a violent revolution of this pillar of the British establishment.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss