The Rising’s republic still not attained

Posted By: April 25, 2016

Echo Opinion  




Fr. Sean Mc Manus

The Irish Republic, heroically declared in 1916 is not, of course, to be confused with, or to­tally identified with, the current “Irish Republic

England’s response to the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic was to brutally execute (i.e. ju­dicial murder) the Seven Signatories of the Proclamation along with another nine Irishmen.

To ensure that the Declaration of in­dependence and national self-determi­nation would be thwarted, England undemocratically partitioned Ireland by the 1920 Government of Ireland Act, thus creating two artificial units that had never before existed in all of Irish history: 26 Counties mostly to the south, and Six Counties, mostly to the north.

James Connolly, one of the executed Seven Signatories, rightly predicted that partition would result in a “carnival of reaction” – in effect an anti-Catholic State in The north with discrimination in jobs and housing, a sectarian police force and judiciary, emergency powers that would make a mockery of democ­racy, evoking jealousy from apartheid South Africa which longed to have all the repressive powers of the artificial State of Northern Ireland.

In 1949, the 26 County Free State, rather confusingly, declared itself to be a Republic.

But this is clearly not the Republic de­clared in 1916, which was for all 32 Counties of Ireland.

As stated by the signatories: “We de­clare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the un­fettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extin­guished the right, nor can it ever be ex­tinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people… Standing on that fun­damental right… we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Inde­pendent State… The Irish Republic is en­titled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irish­woman.”

The 1916 Proclamation is truly one of the most iconic documents in all of Irish history. Irish Americans can take great pride in the Proclamation mentioning their key support: “supported by her ex­iled children in America.”

And the Irish National Caucus is proud to lead a united national cam­paign to honor the gallant men and women of 1916.

The 1916 Proclamation was ahead of its time. Notice it is addressed to “Irish­men and Irishwomen” which was, for the time, a fundamental statement of equality.

Furthermore, the Proclamation refers to the “permanent National Govern­ment, representative of the whole peo­ple of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women.”

This is particularly striking since Britain only granted women the vote in 1918, but even then it only applied to women over 30 who owned property. The United States did not grant the vote to women until 1920, and France only granted the vote in 1944.

And yet some Irish “revisionist” his­torians and writers would mock the 1916 Easter Rising as an unenlightened, reactionary, and “merely nationalistic” violent outburst, this while being silent about England’s obscene, massive and cataclysmic violence of World War I which was to maintain its world empire

of oppression, racism and sectarianism.

That was the empire of slavery from which Pearse and his colleagues wanted to disassociate Ireland.

The Rising sounded the death knell of the evil empire—and no sound was ever sweeter.

Patriots in India, Africa and elsewhere testified that when they saw small and weak Ireland rebelling, it gave them the hope and the courage to do the same.

And that, deep down, is at the heart of the begrudgers’ opposition.

If the 1916 Easter Rising can be de-le­gitimized, then all opposition to the British Empire can be declared null and void. It is that which gnaws at the heart of the “revisionists” and the self- loathing Irish writers who want to vil­ify Pearse and the men and women of Easter Week. They should be simply dismissed out of hand.

We know from the past forty years that British intelligence penetrated the disciplined, iron-will of the IRA, so turning some of its key operatives.

Can you imagine what British intelli­gence has been able to do with the much weaker souls in the Irish political and media establishment, and indeed in the church establishment?

It would be totally naive not to realize that some were bought off—because that’s what the British have always done in Ireland, North and South.

Some of these revisionist writers also charge that the 1916 Easter Rising was “sectarian,” when, in fact, the Procla­mation is a ringing rejection of sectari­anism: “The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citi­zens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cher­ishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.”

It is important here to understand that the term “children” in “cherishing all the children of the nation equally” was used as a term for all Irish people, not just young children.

It has special and very resonant refer­ence to the northern Protestants in its con­text of “and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.”

It pledged that Unionists and Protestants would be treated equally and fairly in the new egalitarian Republic.

Irish Americans have never accepted the partition of Ireland, and never will.

The Irish National Caucus—although it recognizes and welcomes the progress in Northern Ireland brought about by the peace process— firmly believes that the ultimate solution is for England to finally terminate its long colonial experiment on the island of Ireland. The answer clearly lies in equality, unity, nonviolence, and forgiveness, with liberty and justice for all.

The way forward is the creation of, in the term made famous by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “The Beloved Community.”

However, we still have a long way to go.

There is still deep-rooted anti-Catholic bigotry in Northern Ireland. A significant section of the Unionist/Protestant com­munity resents sharing power with Catholics (nationalists and republicans) because they have never accepted Catholics as equals.

The most evident symbol of this “Protes­tant supremacy” pathology is the Orange Order’s demand to march where they are not wanted—parading their anti-Catholic bigotry through poor all-Catholic areas.

And let’s be clear about this: If Catholic republicans and nationalists wanted to pa­rade provocatively through all-Protestant areas of Belfast, the Irish National Caucus would be the first to oppose it.

Furthermore, if there were a move in a united Ireland to ban a Protestant being President of all Ireland, the Irish National Caucus would be the first to oppose it.

Just as we oppose the ongoing anti- Catholic section of the Act of Settlement 1701, which today still bans a Catholic from being king or queen of England—a classic and poisonous example of state- sponsored, anti-Catholic bigotry.

Imagine if there were a provision in the U.S. Constitution forbidding a black per­son being president. Imagine how pro­foundly that would have solidified racism.

And would any American get away with dismissing such a poisonous provision as just a mere quaint anachronism, as de­fenders of the Act of Settlement try to do both in Ireland and Britain?

God bless America and God save Ire­land.

The Irish National Caucus has pub­lished a color 110-page 1916 Commemo­rative Journal. The above is an edited version of INC founder and president, Fr. McManus’ introduction to the journal. More at