Suzanne Breen: Sinn Féin selective on the spirit of 1916
Sinn Féin will be all over this weekend’s Easter Rising centenary commemorations like a rash. But an interview Gerry Adams gave to Suzanne Breen on the 75th anniversary in 1991 makes uncomfortable reading now for the party’s president
The message on the lamp-posts of west Belfast is loud and clear. Beneath portraits of the 1916 leaders sit posters declaring: “If you really want an Irish Republic, Vote for Sinn Féin”. The party sees itself – and is seen by its unionist opponents – as the legitimate inheritors of the tradition of the men and women of Easter week.
But while Sinn Féin may be all over the centenary celebrations like a rash, scratch the surface and the Easter Rising isn’t necessarily comfortable terrain for the party at all.
Because those who stood on the steps of the GPO declaring a republic were out-and-out militarists and revolutionaries, whose words stand in stark contrast to the substantially more measured and moderate policies that Sinn Fein pursues today.