10 January 2006

Dublin may seek surrender letter


Patrick Pearse wrote letter of surrender in 1916

Dublin City Council is to debate a motion asking the British government to return a surrender letter signed by Irish rebel Padraig Pearse.

The letter, signed at the end of the 1916 Easter Rising, was handed to an English general.

Councillor Christy Burke, Sinn Fein, wants a council delegation to go to the UK National Archives and check for more artefacts relating to the rising.

Mr Burke said the letter should be placed in an Easter Rising Museum.

This would be established at No. 16 Moore Street, Dublin, where Pearse and his fellow volunteers finally surrendered.

The letter was given to General WHM Lowe after Pearse agreed to an unconditional surrender on 29 April, 1916.

It states: "In order to prevent the further slaughter of Dublin citizens, and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers now surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered, the members of the Provisional Government present at headquarters have agreed to an unconditional surrender, and the commandants of the various districts in the City and County will order their commands to lay down arms."

Pearse was later executed with 14 other rebels captured in the battle to overthrow British rule in Ireland.

Mr Burke said he had asked Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams to raise the issue with Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The letter was written after the 1916 Easter Rising

The Sinn Fein motion to request the return of the letter is expected to be raised at a Dublin City Council meeting on Monday.

It states: "This Council calls on the Irish Government and the Minister for Defence to request from the British Government and the British Ministry of Defence, the hand-written letter by Padraig Pearse, Commander in Chief of the Irish Volunteers in Moore Street at Easter 1916.

"This letter should be preserved when returned, and placed in archives or a museum as part of the collection of historic 1916 artefacts."

Another surrender note written by Pearse from his Arbour Hill cell fetched 700,000 euro (£483,000) at an auction in Dublin last May. It was sold to an anonymous overseas bidder.

At that time, the National Heritage Council criticised the Irish government for not trying to secure the document.

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