Thanks but no thanks…

Ulster Unionist Michael Copeland has declined the offer from Bertie Ahern to attend the 90th Anniversary celebrations of the 1916 Easter Rising. He told the Irish Times (subs needed):”It is up to people of the Republic to celebrate their own past in whatever way they think appropriate. We have no problem with that, but their version of history would not be our version of history.”

“The Easter insurgency which took place during the Great War led to the death of approximately 30 rebels, 200 British servicemen and over 200 innocent Dublin citizens”.

“It took place at a time when 300,000 Irishmen of all religions were serving as volunteers in the British army, 50,000 of whom gave their lives.

“It heralded the end of the long and honourable tradition of constitutional Irish nationalism and brought to the fore the blood sacrifice ethos of armed republicanism which led directly to the partition of this island and the Irish Civil War.”

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  • “the blood sacrifice ethos of armed republicanism which led directly to the partition of this island”

    So does he think that partition is a bad thing?

    Leaving that little bombshell aside I would have thought that partition just might have predated the 1916 rising when it was introduced in the 1914 Third Home Rule Bill, at the Behest of the UVF, the first non governmental armed group in Ireland in the 20th century. But sure lets not let the facts get in the way of a good story…

  • DK

    PopeBuckfastXVI,

    So are you saying that the Easter celebrations should also include the other armed uprising by the UVF?

  • DK,

    Well the UVF never went as far as staging an uprising, because they got what they wanted under threat of one. However I believe the government are planning to include a commemeration of the battle of the sommes, in which the UVF (or at least most of it) had their final stand.

  • Brian

    So 1916 gave rise to a “blood sacrifice ethos”….what was the Somme ? a teaparty !!

  • Keith M

    “So does he think that partition is a bad thing?”
    Copeland may like me probably feel that partition is a bad thing, and we should revert to the pre 1920 position, and look at the Scottish model for delovotion.

    I don’t recall the Irish government organising any celebration for the 200th anniversary of the Act of Union. Had they done so, I’m sure that this is one celebration that unionists could have joined in on.

  • Keith,

    Would you feel happy with whatever constitutional arrangement was chosen by the majority of that new single 32 county entity, even if that was to leave the Union en masse?

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Whatever your take on the political consequences of the Easter Rising it probably on balance saved Irish lives in that there was a dramatic reduction in the number of Irish volunteers to the British Army in the last two years of WW1 with a consequent sharp reduction in the number of Irish casualties.

  • Jo

    Keith, fair point.

    I had urged elsewhere that another appropriate anniversary (declaring a Republic in 1948) seemed somewhat muted compared to the rush to celebrate (militarily, now, it seems) 1916.

    Perhaps, given recent events on Dublin streets, the presence of the Irish Army in O’Connell Street might be sensible 🙂

  • Keith M

    PopeBuckfastXVI “Would you feel happy with whatever constitutional arrangement was chosen by the majority of that new single 32 county entity, even if that was to leave the Union en masse?”

    I think a following period of stability (say 50 years) and with a qualified majority (say two thirds) a decision like this could be agreed, but we are talking hypothetical on top of hypothetical so we’re approaching angels on pinheads at a rapid rate.

  • Dec

    “The Easter insurgency which took place during the Great War led to the death of approximately 30 rebels, 200 British servicemen and over 200 innocent Dublin citizens”.

    “It took place at a time when 300,000 Irishmen of all religions were serving as volunteers in the British army, 50,000 of whom gave their lives.

    Is Michael suggesting that 430 dying in Dublin was abad thing but the 50,000 dying in France was a good thing?

  • Dec

    Keith M

    I think a following period of stability (say 50 years) and with a qualified majority (say two thirds) a decision like this could be agreed

    I would imagine that after 50 years most of that qualified majority would be dead. Should another poll be held in that event? What should be the length of the period of stability after the second poll?

  • Keith,

    If you held a poll with the present population you would probably find that about 80% would want to sever ties with GB, by your own definition there is no case for NI remaining within the Union.

  • Real World

    I doubt the DUP will be joining in any commemoration either. According to Ballymena councillor Maurice Mills, in this week’s Ballymena Guardian, there is no ‘room for commemoration. The 1916 Rising was a failure. Unionists don’t commemorate failures, we commemorate victories.’ He then categorised the commemoration (i think)as ‘…a bit Irish’. I’m sure that the British troops currently serving in Iraq are glad to know that if they fail to win they will be prombtly forgotten by Mr Mills and his DUP cronies.

  • lah dee dah

    “Lest we forget” – the only reason the mainstream parties and govt. of the Rep of Ireland are commemorating this anniversary at all is to prevent the Shinners from having sole charge of the event. To be fair to them, the Shinners and other extreme republicans have been commemorating every year since.