Tiocfaidh ár lá may well have been the “battle cry of the blanketmen,” but it is also a proclamation of continuity. McDonald’s Sinn Féin is not a new Sinn Féin. It is the same party with the same vision and, while it continues to attract new members, it is largely supported by the same people who supported the party right through the Troubles to the present day. If Mary Lou McDonald wants to be accepted as the new face of Sinn Féin then she has to carry this old guard along with her, and that means reminding them too of the fights of the past.
It never became the Workers Republic that existed in full flower for a single week in Dublin in 1916, but that is not to say that it cannot be born again. What I saw at the GPO tonight only informed me of the urgency of the need for its rebirth.
In spite of my best efforts Easter was a lost cause today, and I do not feel up to the task of taking on the martial element of what replaced it. Yet I cannot let it pass without protest, and for this reason I want to think about peace – because this is what both celebrations should have been about.
Discussing this less ideological aspect of the rising might be thought by some as a sort of treason; tarnishing the memory of the deeds many in Ireland consider martyrs. Personally, I refuse to believe that violence ever makes martyrs.
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.
Let’s cut to the chase; the 1916 Rising was never their history. It has always been the story of an incomplete revolution, a revolution that even today threatens to turn their incomplete and failed state upon its head.
A century later, in Austerity Ireland, the image of the surrender has been adopted as a symbol of the struggle against a new type of national oppression – corporate imperialism. At some point over the past week a piece of Banksy-'esque' street art tagged to suggest it was the work of Banksy (which the real Banksy has denied), featuring Pearse surrendering to property developers, appeared on Moore Street.
Rebellion is a symptom of something else that’s going on. As spectacle it is working hard to replicate the icon of Irish revolutionary memory, and the poor dialogue is not without its genius. Few of the conversations in the programme are geared towards deepening the viewer's understanding of the persons involved, but it is retelling (or revising) the history.