Ireland’s commemoration of the 1916 Dublin Easter Rising is quite possibly the most wonderful exercise in historical and political whitewashing ever executed in the State. The Republic of Ireland has spent the better part of the last century carefully distancing itself from the revolutionary and antinominalist tendencies of the Easter Rising, and yet has found that its very legitimacy and its claim to power is inseparably entwined with the events of Easter 1916 in which it played no part. As a political live-wire and as an incomplete revolution, however, the Rising is a threat to the claims of the state, and so in ‘Remembering’ it official Ireland has had to tread carefully.

During the Irish Civil War the bureaucratic entity known as Saorstát Éireann (the ‘Irish Free State’) that would later become the Republic of Ireland, as a loyalist dominion of the British Empire, continued Britain’s fight – with British military assistance – against the Republican forces arising from 1916 (and before) who were still seeking independence from Imperial domination. What this means today is that the government of the Republic of Ireland is commemorating an event to which it has always been an ideological opponent. This is truly hilarious, and the Irish State is doing everything it can to make a complete balls of it.

The policy, which is as clear as day to see, is one of co-opting the totality of the right to remember the Rising in order to do such an appalling job of it so that no one in Ireland will ever want to go through it again. Right now the whole country is up in arms over the “bad” job the government has done, when in fact it has done a spectacular job. If the government’s idea was to take over the Easter Rising and run it into the ground – then this is a job well done.

Naturally some reading this will turn their noses up at this assessment and dismiss it as just the work of another disgruntled Sinn Féiner. They’d be wrong of course. I am not associated with Sinn Féin. I’m not a Republican, and I’m not even Irish. What I am is a historian with a good enough understanding of why the present government is doing what it is doing, and I am unimpressed to say the least. As a little reproduction of Westminster, the Dublin government is more than entitled to take a negative view of other people’s revolutions, but nowhere does that give it the right to vandalise this country’s history the way that it is doing.

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