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1916 and all that

I'm not sure I understand what it is about 1916 that Pat Lynch (Jan 9) wants us to celebrate during its centenary in 2016, given how he disagrees so much with Kevin Myers and those Irish among us, born, bred and raised in Ireland, who don't worship at the alter of the false republicanism.

It's all very well deluding yourself that there was ever one united island of Ireland and that we've been trying for 800 years to get back to that. But what were the aims of 1916 and did it achieve any of them? Mr Lynch mentions the UK, US and French commemorations, but those events relate to the successes.

However, in the Irish context, no matter what side of the argument you are on, 1916 was an abject failure. To this day, its purported goal of an all-island republic has not been fulfilled, and because of the legacy of the events unleashed by 1916, that goal will never be fulfilled.

Were it not for 1916, it is perfectly reasonable to propose that an agreement would have been reached with the unionists and that the Free State created would have taken the sting out of the extremists of each side. Instead we could have had a state where the moderates on each side learnt how to compromise with each other.

While it is silly to blame our current woes fully on 1916, the fact remains that because of 1916, we were sent off down a long road that led, not just to the death grip of the Catholic Church and all that entailed, but also the creation of a corrupt political system, the consequences of which were that when it came time for someone, anyone, to call a halt to the mess we were making of our economy, there was no one there.

Rather than devoting our energies to creating a just and equitable republic since independence, we have instead wasted our time and energy over the last 100 years rehashing the same tired-out arguments about what side you would have been on in 1916, when the reality is we were all on the losing side because all of the alternatives to 1916 were better.

There is little from 1916 that is worthy of celebration in 2016.

Desmond FitzGerald
Canary Wharf, London

Irish Independent