2016 THEME - FREEDOM RISING

On 24 April 1916 the reading of the Proclamation of the Republic (Irish: Forógra na Poblachta), by Patrick Pearse outside the General Post Office (GPO) on Sackville Street (now called O'Connell Street), Dublin's main thoroughfare, marked the beginning of the Easter Rising.In the document, the seven members of the Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, styling itself the "Provisional Government of the Irish Republic", proclaimed Ireland's independence from the United Kingdom. The Rising lasted six days and members of the Irish Volunteers seized key locations in Dublin. Though the Rising failed in military terms, the principles of the Proclamation to varying degrees influenced the thinking of later generations of Irish politicians.In the aftermath of the Rising the participants were viewed as having committed treason in wartime (i.e., the First World War).

 

One by one, all seven signatories of the proclamation, were executed.

 

The signatories (as their names appeared on the Proclamation):

 

Thomas J. Clarke

Seán Mac Diarmada

Thomas MacDonagh

P. H. Pearse

Éamonn Ceannt

James Connolly

Joseph Plunkett

 

Other participants were executed as well, and though initially deeply unsympathetic to the Rising, Irish public opinion switched and became more sympathetic due to manner of the prisoners treatment and executions. The British political leaders regarded the executions initially as unwise, later as a catastrophe, with the British Prime Minister stating that he regretted allowing the British military to treat the matter as a matter of military law in wartime, rather than insisting that the leaders were treated under civilian criminal law. Eventually the government ordered a halt to the executions and insisted that those not already executed be dealt with through civilian, not military, law.

The Proclamation expressed the hopes and plans of the revolutionaries. Over time, national admiration for the rebels grew which lead to the rise of the Sinn Féin party in 1917. With their election victory in 1918, the new  leaders declared an independent Irish republic and established a government in Dublin. These and other military actions lead to the Anglo-Irish war, 21st January 1919–11th July 1921, it's truce that produced the Anglo-Irish Treaty on 6th December,and eventually, with it's implimantation, a brutal Irish civil war, 28 June 1922 – 24 May 1923.

 

The Proclamation of 1916 consisted of a number of assertions:

that the Rising's leaders spoke for Ireland;

that the Rising marked another wave of attempts to achieve independence through force of arms;

that the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army were central to the Rising;

"the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland"

that the form of government was to be a republic; a guarantee of "religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens", the first mention of gender equality, given that Irish women under British law were not allowed to vote;

a commitment to universal suffrage, a phenomenon limited at the time to only a handful of countries, not including Britain;

a promise of "cherishing all the children of the nation equally". "children of the nation" refers to all Irish people;

disputes between nationalists and unionists are attributed to "differences carefully fostered by an alien government"

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