Wednesday 21 February 2018

Past isn't all it's cracked up to be

IN the light of the onset of the International Monetary Fund and EU and the 'bailout that is not a bailout', there has been a lot of talk about the values of the men and women of 1916 and of how the current situation is anathema to those values.

There has also been a call to reinvent the republic, or to set out a second republic, in the light of current events. Issues of sovereignty and shame have been raised. An appeal to the past can be instructive, but such an appeal needs to be clear-headed and aware of the tendency to narrate the past in an over-positive light.

In 1916, a small elect group, with no mandate from anyone, not even their own organisation, the Irish Volunteers, took a sudden decision which wrecked the centre of Dublin and caused thousands of deaths.

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