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Facts on Dev

• Senator Ned O'Sullivan (Letters, September 26) has joined Caoimhghin O Caolain and Martan O Conghaile in taking offence at my belief that Ireland would have been better off if Eamon de Valera had been shot alongside other 'leaders' of the 1916 Rising.

Let's look at the facts. In 1914 a Home Rule bill for the entire island had been passed by Westminster -- it was a done deal. However, because of the 1916 Rising, any hope of reaching an agreement with the unionist community in 1918 was destroyed and for what?

Those who worship at the altar of 1916 believe it was carried out to create some mythical republic for the people, which we still don't have nearly 100 years later. Instead, because of 1916, a chain of events was unleashed that meant two-thirds of the people on the island of Ireland ended up living in a Free State under the jackboot of a stultifying Catholic theocracy, while the new Northern Ireland state went on to oppress and deny basic rights to Catholics because of the legacy of mistrust created from 1916.

All of this could have been avoided. 1916 led to the declaration of the first Dail and then the War of Independence, which led to the Treaty. The Treaty led to the Civil War because of one man, Eamon de Valera, refusing to accept the democratic will of the Irish people who voted to support that Treaty.

If he had been a real democrat, he would have accepted the will of the people and, more importantly, called on all his supporters to accept the will of the people.

Then the greater interaction between both communities on the island and their influence on each other would have evolved in time through sport, business and family connections to the point where religious differences meant nothing and the republic that supporters of the 1916 Rising claim to have wanted, might have actually happened.

And in 1948, the then Taoiseach would still have been able to declare the entire island of Ireland as the Republic of Ireland.

Desmond FitzGerald
Canary Wharf, London

Irish Independent