Liamy Mac Nally
Next Sunday (April 24) is the 95th anniversary of the reading of the Irish Proclamation outside the GPO by Pádraig Pearse. The Proclamation, issued by the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic, was signed by seven men as representatives of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army.
It was read on Easter Monday morning. The GPO was open at the time and a few passers-by were the only people who heard it while Pearse read it outside the main entrance. It is reported that some of these people jeered Pearse and his colleagues and told them to go home and not cause any trouble. Dublin was one of the major cities of the British Empire at the time.
The reading was the opening salvo in the 1916 Easter Rising. It can be argued easily that the Rising ended in dismal failure less than a week later with the surrender of the Irish Volunteers. Strangely, the events of the gallant failure of 1916 are seen as the foundation stone of the Irish state.
The seven signatories of the Proclamation were executed for standing up to the might of the British Empire. Wallowing in claims that ‘the sun never sets on the British empire’ the reading of the Proclamation was the first major act in the unravelling of that colonial power across the world.
It is time to revisit and reclaim the spirit of the Irish Proclamation. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny would do the nation a great service if he declared April 24th Irish Proclamation Day. The Proclamation can stand beside any nation’s declaration of independence and bill of rights for its citizens. It states: “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.”
The Proclamation continues: “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 the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from a majority in the past.”
For some people the words of the Proclamation are just that, mere words but for other Irish people, they still aspire to the aims and aspirations the Proclamation contains. Some people will claim that the new ‘colonial power’ is all that is encompassed in the EU, ECB and the IMF.
Applying the spirit of the Proclamation to the way we are being treated by Europe would provide a tidy lesson. For too long we were sold the pup that Europe gave us more than we ever offered. Never once was a value put on our fishing waters where our fishing rights were subsumed by the EU power mandarins in return for a pittance. The farmers EU Common Agricultural Policy delivered brown-envelope cheques paying people not to grow in some cases and over produce in others. In the end the land was raped, the waters soiled and the sovereignty of the nation folded up in the bank vaults of Germany, Britain and France. We cannot even produce a grain of sugar in this country!
If Europe loves us so much why must we wait until 2014 before it will sanction burning bondholders? Is it because the current crop of greed merchants known as bondholders salutes the Bundesflagge, Tricolore and the Union Jack? Imagine we, citizens of a sovereign state, have allowed the EU to force us to assume bank debt onto our sovereign debt.
Enda Kenny, as Taoiseach, has an onerous task charting the country through the murky waters we were abandoned in by a Fianna Fáil/Green Party Government that had betrayed every principle known to man. Yet he must realise that Ireland is in a stronger position than we are led to believe. Fears over the Euro cannot be foisted on Irish citizens. We are not the cause of the Euro meltdown.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny will need to earn public support against an ever more dictatorial EU and IMF. How degrading to hear Ministers declare that any project ‘must be approved by the EU and the IMF.’
Now is the time to lay the groundwork for the centenary of the Easter Rising in five years and celebrate the spirit of what our fellow-countrymen died for. “MacDonagh and MacBride and Connolly and Pearse, Now and in time to be, Wherever green is worn, Are changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.”