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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 26 October, 2014

Gerry Adams lashes out at John Bruton for calling the 1916 Rising ‘a mistake’

And so begins the Great Irish History Debate of 2014-2016…

Image: Laura Hutton/Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

SINN FÉIN LEADER Gerry Adams has lashed out at former Taoiseach John Bruton for saying the 1916 Rising “was a mistake.”

In a statement today, the Louth TD called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to clarify his position on the events of Easter 1916, and criticised an apparent lack of planning for its centenary in two years’ time.

There is as yet no programme of events for the Anniversary and the only suggestion so far by members of this Government has been around inviting British royalty.
It is incredible that a former Taoiseach – a position that would never have existed but for the Easter Rising and the Tan War – would denigrate the sacrifice of the participants and their families in this way.

He was reacting to comments made by Bruton this morning on the Today programme on RTE Radio 1, and in his submission to the government on the 1916 Centenary.

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Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Calling for a “rewriting of history”, the former Fine Gael leader had been proposing that the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Home Rule Bill in 1914 should be commemorated enthusiastically this year.

Present Keelin Shanley then asked Bruton what was his view of “the people who are seen as the heroes of the 1916 Rising.”

John Bruton: First of all, I don’t question for one moment their sincerity or their spirit of self-sacrifice.
Keelin Shanley: Were they misguided, in your view?
JB: I think they made a mistake.
What they did when they occupied the GPO and other strong points in Dublin – and they said so in their proclamation – they were allying themselves with the Kaiser, the Kaiser’s Germany, with the Ottoman Empire and with the Austrian Empire.
Against the French republic, and against the United Kingdom, in whose armies many other Irish people – including perhaps brothers of those who were going out in 1916 – actually fought.

Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly had earlier called for clarity as to the Government’s position regarding the Easter Rising, and said the former Taoiseach’s remarks had “upset” families of 1916 combatants.

In response, a spokesperson for Arts Minister Heather Humphreys – who has responsibility for the ‘Decade of Centenaries Commemorative Programme’ – said that all events which led the creation of the modern Ireland would be commemorated, and that John Bruton was speaking as an individual.

Read: Relatives of 1916 leaders call for Moore Street preservation work to begin>

The 1916 relatives had a “surprisingly positive” meeting with Minister Deenihan>

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