Ex-Taoiseach: ‘1914 should be as dear to Irish as 1916’

The 1916 Proclamation, read during the Rising
The 1916 Proclamation, read during the Rising

The former leader of the Irish Republic has called in to question how worthwhile the Easter Rising was.

John Bruton said much had already been achieved by the time the UK agreed in 1914 to enact Home Rule.

Mr Bruton (whose party Fine Gael has its roots in Michael Collins’ pro-treaty side during the Civil War) wrote in the Irish Independent that it had been a victory which was won via “a long struggle”, by parliamentary means.

Though he said this outcome would still have been “inadequate”, he added that after decades of such supposedly “pragmatic violence” in Northern Ireland, “we do not have a united Ireland today either!”

He concluded: “I believe peaceful democratic achievements, like land reform, the enactment of Home Rule in 1914, the enactment of the 1922 and 1937 constitutions, and the declaration of the Republic in 1949, should therefore be commemorated with equal or greater prominence than military actions”.