After The Rising
We all heard the comment , the rebels of 1916 would turn in their grave at the Republic we now have. Well this article asks a question. That question is where is there any proof to back that up . One big hole in that argument is that most of "the rebels " survived and lived long enough to shape the Republic we ended up with
The Rising -What If?
Listening to all the debates about the 1916 rising during the centenary year I was struck by the amount of reverence given to those who died during the rebellion. However I am more struck by comments like “what would the heroes of 1916 think about the current “Republic”. This view of the world was repeated recently by Joan Collins TD in a debate about the role of Constance Markievicz .The impression given by this and other statements is that those who fought in the Rising would not approve of the “Republic” we now have. The implication is that if those who died in Easter week had in fact survived that the Republic would have been different. No “Republican” has outlined any evidence for any such belief. In fact If you removed James Connolly from the equation there is little or no social vision for a new Ireland that would lead anyone to believe that the Republic would have been any different .
I have heard the argument that the civil war was in fact a struggle for a different Ireland. This may or may not have been true but there is no real evidence that either side in the civil war had a major difference in social affairs in the new Ireland. The key for me is that approx 1600 fought in the Rising and approx 250 died in combat leaving 1,346 survivors’. Most of these went on to agree a sectarian constitution promoting a right wing catholic ethos dominated by the church and backward on almost all social issues.
The question I pose is what makes people think that if the Rebels who gave their lives in 1916 had survived that they would have built a different/better Ireland than their one time comrades did? Some people have pointed at Liam Mellows as someone who would have had a similar outlook to James Connolly and would have been more progressive . However it was mellows who at one stage after the rising nominated or seconded the Nomination of Eamon Devalera . Dev was later to hand over the republic to the church with the resultant Conservative ethos embedded in the core of the new Constitution and indeed the new “independent “Ireland. Griffith and McNeill went as far as meeting with the Financial Times telling them
“You can tell your city men that they have nothing to fear in the way of confiscation or unjust discrimination” We have no intention to harm investors in the least. Nationalists may point to the massive vote received by Sinn fein in the 1918 election as some shift in post rising Ireland. However 65% of those elected under the SF banner were from the a professional background , teachers and journalists. And there wasn’t a peep from SF about making “ equal rights and Equal opportunities” guaranteed to Irish citizens by the declaration of independence, were now been made subject to the interests of foreign and domestic financiers.
The first Dail opened with a prayer and catholic conservatism ruled in it ever since With the full support of “republicans”
For me I don’t see any evidence that with the exception of James Connolly that anyone of note mapped out a vision of a different Ireland. I stand to be corrected.