Nesbitt “We are not here simply to be controversial. We are here to offer an unapologetic unionist perspective on the event of 100 years ago”

The UUP held an event in Dublin this afternoon to give a Unionist perspective on the Easter Rising. Here are the remarks given by the party leader, Mike Nesbitt; (I have highlighted some key passages) I hope today has been challenging, but not for its own sake. We are not here simply to be controversial. We are here to offer an unapologetic unionist perspective on the event of 100 years ago; the causes, and the lasting consequences of what we … Read more

Gerry Adams at Easter. In full

I though it worthwhile to put on the record Gerry Adams’ Easter Centenary address, part unreconstructed old republicanism, part election address, a classic of its kind in style and content, without further comment.   On Sunday 27th March, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD addressed the Easter Rising commemoration in Belfast’s Milltown Cemetery. Mr Adams stated that hurts and divisions must be healed if we are to realise the vision of the 1916 Proclamation. HIs speech in full: Address by … Read more

Perhaps it is time for Unionists to do some public thinking about their own history…?

As the week draws to a close some interesting material has been drawn to the top of our collective consciousness. I suspect that slowly it will dawn on some of our own politicians (not just unionist ones) that saying no will barely suffice for the winding road ahead. Here’s Alex Kane with some important home truths for those on the Unionist side… … unionists do tend to focus on the ‘physical force’ tradition within republicanism while glossing over their own … Read more

Ford to attend interfaith service for all victims of Easter Rising

David Ford is to attend an interfaith service for all victims of the Easter Rising at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. The event will see the unveiling of a was inscribed with the names of all those who lost their lives during the Rising namely members of Irish Volunteers, Irish Citizen Army, British Army, Dublin Metropolitan Police and Royal Irish Constabulary, as well as civilians. Speaking about the decision, Ford said; This memorial is inspired by the International Memorial of Notre … Read more

Was Michael D right to decline Belfast City Council’s ‘invitation’…?

I see there’s been a major flaming debate on whether President Michael D Higgins was right or wrong to decline to come once the DUP said they would not be attending. I only joined in late last night on Twitter, but I couldn’t see a sound reason against him doing so. Although Belfast City Council has done some very good things with the limited powers it has over the years, we’ve also seen that it can be every bit the sectarian … Read more

Perhaps the Irish kept changing the question because the British weren’t listening?

At Conservative Home, Dan Hannan nails something crucial, I think, in how the British mishandled Ireland throughout the century which followed the Act of Union… It is hard to read the history of Britain and Ireland without wanting to weep at the missed opportunities. For more than a century, Westminster had played catch-up in its Irish policy, always addressing a previous problem. By the time religious equality was proclaimed in 1829 (something Pitt intended as a parallel to the 1801 … Read more

In defence of John Bruton

It was brave of former Taoiseach John Bruton to chose last week to return to the ultimate Irish counterfactual. He’s taken to task for it in the Irish Times by historian Dr Brian P Murphy OSB I believe,” said Bruton, “Ireland would have reached the position it is in today, an independent nation of 26 or 28 counties, if it had stuck with the Home Rule policy and if the 1916 rebellion had not taken place.” the choice to use … Read more

Passing sentence on capital punishment

Next Sunday is International Anti-Death Penalty Day. OK, I’d better qualify that one: it won’t actually be International Anti-Death Penalty Day, but to my mind it ought to be. On that date it will be exactly eighty years since an immigrant German carpenter was sent to the electric chair in Trenton, New Jersey. The previous year, 36-year-old Bruno Richard Hauptmann had been convicted of the kidnapping and murder in March 1932 of Charles Lindbergh jr, the 20-month-old son of popular … Read more

Easter Rising 2016: Live and let celebrate

Last week a Muslim acquaintance of mine wished me Happy Easter. I try to remember to wish Muslims Happy Eid. I would submit this has parallels with how Unionists and other non Republicans should approach the Easter Rising celebrations. Christians can and do invite those of other or no religion to Easter events as a form of evangelism: I believe Muslims do the same thing. At such events an attempt is often made to “convert” the invitees to the religion … Read more

Easter ’16, Once Again

DUBLIN—Here in Ireland, this weekend, Yeats’s terrible beauty becomes a centenarian. It might have had a letter from the Queen, were history different. It is a pleasing sign of recent Irish social change that 1916 is not being commemorated as a good-and-evil struggle, one with Ireland on the side of the angels—and evil Britain receiving its due comeuppance and ouster. Call this the Wind That Shakes The Barley view of Irish historiography. Consider halfway back, 1966, for something less nuanced … Read more

Easter & Innocence

Still trying to read all the books I got for Christmas I’ve been dipping-into a recently-published collection of poetry by a local priest. His works of short and accessible verse are mostly on matters that might feature in a country curate’s sermons, except for one, which retells a story from his childhood, his trip to Dublin at Easter 1966. He recalls how he “Felt at home beneath the colours of the GPO” Recalling a time when the display of the … Read more

Foster: “The rebellion which took place 100 years ago this Easter was directly to attack the state to which I owe my allegiance”

Arlene Foster has ruled out any attendance at events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Speaking to the Impartial Reporter she said; The rebellion which took place 100 years ago this Easter was directly to attack the state to which I owe my allegiance. I don’t think I would be invited, but even if I was invited I certainly would not be going to commemorate a violent attack on the United Kingdom. She continued; I don’t think they … Read more

Sorry Séamus, but there can be no such thing as retrospective democracy.

Séamus Mallon has a speech transcript in the Sindo today. In it he takes his usual stance on the counterproductive futility of armed republicanism. But one fundamental contradiction sticks out like a sore thumb. Early on he says: In that spirit let me say I applaud current efforts to make 1916 commemorations truly inclusive. In the event, the men and women of 1916 received a retrospective democratic endorsement which more recent violence including against this State has never obtained. But … Read more

Ag canadh le taibhsí na staire sa GPO i mBaile Átha Cliath…

Note A shorter version of this piece in English is available at via the Belfast Telegraph San amhrán chlúiteach Oráisteach Lurgan Town tá líne faoi leith i dtreo an deiridh: ‘D’iompaigh muid thart, chroith muid lámha, an méid is féidir a dhéanamh…’ Agus mé á chanadh in Ard Oifig an Phoist i mBaile Átha Cliath ar Luan Cásca, ba bheag gur shamhlaigh mé gurbh é garmhac Éamoin de Valera an fear a bheadh ag croitheadh láimhe liom ag an … Read more

Bruton calls for Redmond Home Rule monument (‘Living for Ireland is preferable to dying for Ireland’)

As predicted, the war is continuing, and shows no sign of abating.  By “war”, I mean the ongoing battle over interpretation of Ireland’s  past, and how and whether certain historical figures deserve particular attention and commemoration.  The latest campaign in this conflict unfolded at the Royal Irish Academy on Dublin’s Dawson Street.  A quartet of speakers, including former Fine Gael Taoiseach John Bruton, discussed the contribution and significance of John Redmond, Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) leader in 1900-1918, whose crowning achievement, … Read more

Cartoon – Loyal to whom?

Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here:

The Easter Rising: romance and regret but no barrier to reconciliation

in response to David McCann’s very personal and sincere post, I must say that the Rising is part of my history but not part of my cause. I approach it with fascination and regret. Regret for the delayed victory for physical force it represented. But how could it not inspire? The world was in turmoil; nothing would do but for the “Army of the Irish Republic” to start their own little war too. And of course the Jesus parallel and the martyrology still … Read more

Signing up to the Covenant: An Alternative Vision for the Future?

1912 A Hundred Years On - still

At Thursday night’s annual Catherwood Lecture, Johnston McMaster covered a lot of ground in his talk entitled Signing up to the Covenant: An Alternative Vision for the Future? He started by explaining that his grandfather had signed the covenant, and continued to question throughout the talk whether he would have signed it if he’d lived 100 years ago. Looking back at history and at the same time looking forward from today was a key tenet of his lecture, and mirrored … Read more