The Difficult Legacy of the Easter Rising

The Easter Rising was one of the most important events in modern Irish history. Many believe that it was a glorious bid for freedom and others believed that it led to a century of political violence in the country.

Many believe that the Easter rising meant that political violence was acceptable and could be used in the name of Ireland. Many believe that the example of Easter 1916, legitimizes the violence of the I.R.A. and other nationalist groups from 1916 until today.

The Easter Rising was carried out by a small un-elected  group who claimed to be acting in the name of Ireland. The rising has been used by many terrorist groups to justify their campaigns of terror.

Some believe that Easter 1916, so alarmed the Protestant community that it meant that the partition of Ireland was inevitable. The leaders of the rebellion did not realize the impact of their actions on the Protestant in Ulster and it only made them more determined to resist an independent Ireland.

Many believed that the Easter Rising did not secure real freedom for Ireland. It only resulted in the country exchanging British rule for the rule of the Catholic Church. Many have held that for decades that Ireland was really run by bishops and priests.

Padraig Pearce was executed by the British after his involvement in the Easter Rising of 1916. Eamon de Valera had an American passport and so avoided execution. Pearce, on the other hand, never got the opportunity to alter his legacy. De Valera gave the Catholic Church control over schools, hospitals and the government – to great criticism. Many resent him for this. Pearce, although a devout Catholic, is respected by the Irish, today, as he appeared to want a more secular Ireland.

Because of the importance of religious dogma, women suffered, as they continue to do. Because of Ireland’s religious law, women have for decades spent their lives half-crippled because of pregnancy or sent to abortion boats and laundries. Approximately 12 women per day still travel from Ireland to Britain to get abortions.

The Proclamation of the Irish Republic is considered progressive for its stand on gender equality. But no woman served as cabinet minister until 1979, 60 years after Constance Markievicz became a cabinet minster in the revolutionary government. De Valera and his government allowed misogyny to thrive, yet they are celebrated.

In spite of this, a large part of the Irish people still hold the Proclamation, dear and revere the 1916 leaders. Years may pass, but Ireland remains the same.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE