12 April 2006

Hypocrisy over 1916 ‘aimed at halting Sinn Féin’

Daily Ireland

by Mick Hall
12/04/2006

Former Green Party MEP Patricia McKenna has accused the Republic’s main political parties of “total hypocrisy” in commemorating the 1916 Rising in Dublin this weekend.
Ms McKenna questioned why support among the parties for the Easter Rising against British rule in Ireland was now so popular, when the event had been ignored in the past.
She also questioned whether the upsurge in support was an attempt to head off a perceived electoral threat from Sinn Féin in the Republic.
Speaking to Daily Ireland yesterday, Ms McKenna said: “Although I welcome the fact that we are now celebrating our independence, it is a unfortunate that 1916 had previously been ignored for so long. For years, we were the only nation in Europe ashamed of our independence. Why is it now acceptable? If the current support for 1916 among the big parties is motivated by a desire to stave off a perceived electoral threat from Sinn Féin, then Sunday’s event is a mere political stunt and an insult to those who died in 1916.”
Mrs McKenna said she also found the militaristic trappings of this weekend’s official commemoration “offensive”. The event will include a military show of strength involving Scorpion tanks, armoured personnel carriers and an air display by Irish state forces.
“The glorification of militarism at Sunday’s events flies in the face of an attempt to promote peace in a global environment torn apart of war and strife, particularly now evident in Iraq,” Ms McKenna said.
Defence Minister Willie O’Dea last night said: “There will be no glorification of militarism, as Ms Kenna puts it. The government decided to reinstate the military parade as an expression of national pride in all those who took part in the Rising. Óglaigh na hÉireann are the true successors of the men and women of 1916 and Sunday’s parade will reflect that and the Irish Army’s role, which has evolved over the decades, here at home and through its 58,000 tours of duty as part of the UN’s peace keeping forces. Why does Ms McKenna find this offensive?”

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