1916, 2006 and the role of the citizen

In 1916 volunteers of the Irish Citizens Army participated in the Easter rebellion. In 2006, Bertie Ahern, speaking at a 1916 rebellion exhibition launch, has highlighted the growing need for a new form of citizen action to deal with 21st century issues, the negative toll the growth in wealth and consumerism has taken upon the Republic’s social capital.

Ahern defines the problem as:
“Today, when the scarcest resource of all is time, this role of active participation is being devolved to fewer and fewer people. In the process, we all risk being impoverished, especially those who opt out and leave the responsibilities of citizenship to others.”

Ahern sees the need for:
“At the beginning of the 21st Century Ireland needs to reimagine a new culture of active citizenship to build a vibrant civic society,”

Harvard Professor, Robert Putnam, has been credited with impacting on Ahern’s thinking on this issue and Unionists have been listening to Putnam as well.