Thursday 21 November 2019

Rising tide

• John A Murphy, emeritus professor of Irish history at University College Cork, claims that the proponents of the 1916 Rising had no mandate from the general public to take up arms on their behalf.

Prof Murphy, who was speaking at a conference on the Irish Home Rule Crisis 1912-1914 in University College Cork recently, referred to the "inescapable embarrassing dilemma" of 1916 and the cult of bloodshed.

May I remind Prof Murphy that it was British terror in Ireland that had no mandate, and revolutionaries by definition act first then seek a retrospective democratic mandate, which is what was given in the 1918 general election when Sinn Fein received a massive electoral endorsement, winning 75 of the 103 seats.

Either way, British rule in Ireland was a product of conquest.

It is risible for Prof Murphy to suggest that the Irish State faces an embarrassing dilemma on how to reconcile the Easter Rising and the issue of unmandated force with the democratic process. The General Election of 1918 and subsequent First Dail of 1919 legitimised the 1916 Easter Rising.

All of these events should be commemorated by the State with openness, dignity and pride.

Tom Cooper
Knocklyon, Dublin 16

Irish Independent

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