14 April 2006

Rising 'basis for modern Ireland'

BBC


Irish President Mary McAleese will lay a wreath at the GPO

Those who died in the 1916 Easter Rising gave their lives for those who now enjoy the benefits of the Celtic Tiger economy, Mary McAleese has said.

The Irish President said freedom had allowed modern Ireland to be what it is today.

This Sunday marks the 90th anniversary of the Rising, when rebels seized control of parts of Dublin and proclaimed Ireland a republic.

The rebellion was put down by the British in a week of fighting.

Mrs McAleese said the celebration would be an occasion of civic pride for Irish people.

"I haven't the slightest doubt that Sunday will be a day of proud commemoration and I have every expectation that it will be very well attended," she said.

"They did what they did in the belief that they were helping a new generation to grow up in freedom and without fear."
President McAleese


"We rightly look back on our past with pride at the men and women who lived in very different times from ours, and who made sacrifices of their lives so that we would enjoy these good times."

The president compared the 1916 leaders to the thousands of Irish soldiers who fought in the British army during the first World War.

"Whatever our background or our take on history, religion or politics, we take pride in what they gave.

"They did what they did in the belief that they were helping a new generation to grow up in freedom and without fear.

"That is true of those who died (in Dublin) in 1916, and it's true of those who died on the Somme," she said.

President McAleese will lay a wreath at the GPO in Dublin's O'Connell Street during Sunday's ceremony.

However, the DUP's Ian Paisley Jnr criticised Mrs McAleese and said "unionists will take a very different view of those involved in organising a rebellion against the United Kingdom in 1916".

"The claim by Mrs McAleese that those who died in the 1916 Rising gave their lives for those who now enjoy the benefits of the Celtic Tiger economy is indeed utter folly and does not stand up to historical scrutiny," he said.

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