Eamon O Cuiv, ‘Revisiting the Rising: What Home Rule Couldn’t Have Achieved’, in The Irish Times (6 Aug. 2014)

Eamon Ó Cuiv

[Sub-heading: Eamon O Cuiv contests John Bruton’s views of 1916.
Source: The Irish Times - online; accessed 12.08.2014.]

[Easter Rising]
That the Easter Rising should have been unnecessary is true, but that the Easter Rising was the only way that the Irish people would achieve independence is sadly also true. The reason for this is that the British had no intention then or in the foreseeable future of granting Ireland full independence.

John Bruton this week touts the Home Rule Bill’s passing as if this would have granted Ireland some form of Dominion status. The actual facts are that the Home Rule Bill would have given Ireland the type of status Wales now enjoys and much less than Scotland has already achieved 100 years on.

Home Rule would have left all of the central powers of any state under Westminster control , including foreign affairs and the right to have our own army.

The entrenched resistance of the British establishment to democracy, self-determination and the rights of small nations to determine their own destiny became evident after the end of the first World War, which we are told was fought for that very same right.

Its reaction to the general election of 1918 in Ireland, when the majority of elected representatives elected by the people democratically set up their own parliament, Dáil Éireann, was to immediately outlaw the Dáil.

That 1916 was fought to establish the right of this country to choose its own form of democratic government, without outside control, is clear from the Proclamation of 1916, where it refers to the “establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women”.

Once-off event
It is clear from this that the leaders of 1916 saw the Rising as a once-off event leading to an independent, free and democratic Ireland, where there would be no further need or justification for violence or war in Ireland.