Last week a debate organised by Independent Councillor Padraig McShane for young people explored the message of the Rising and the subsequent aftermath. A focus on the Proclamation and the Good Friday Agreement, there parallels and their differences!
Commenting on the events of Easter Week and the 98th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising Moyle Independent Councillor Padraig McShane said the most potent weapon in the history of Ireland remained the Easter Proclamation to the Irish people.
The Councillor said;
“Ignoring that leaden and almost perfectly ductile phrase, ‘peace’, which was used to sell the Good Friday Agreement on a weary population, the 1916 document – considered by many scholars and academics to be a political watershed – was so advanced and ahead of its time that when stood beside the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, it makes the later look dated and mundane.
“Even today its greatest virtue would be a genuine peace removed from the curse of sectarianism.
“Among the many strategic aims and objectives of the document, ‘the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland; that the form of government was to be a republic; a guarantee of “religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens”, the first mention of gender equality and a promise to cherish “all the children of the nation equally”.
“It was these aims coupled with a clearly defined will to govern – ‘oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government’ – that spell out the terminal danger to the Empire from which Ireland sought to free herself.”
Acknowledging the need for – yet the shortcomings in the Good Friday Agreement – young people from North Antrim suggested;
“The overarching difference between the aims of Proclamation and the Good Friday Agreement remained stark. The proclamation envisaged a nation of equals not dependent on colour creed or class while the Good Friday has clearly defined the ‘statelet’ and it’s people as separate and distinct.
“Today’s political governing is based on religious make up and runs entirely contrary to the aims of the 1916 document.”
Councillor McShane concluded that young people had a tangible grasp on the differences contained within the documents.
“While the Good Friday Agreement has been used to cement political strength for favoured individual outcomes in association with her majesty’s government, it remains indisputable – the will of the 1916 proclamation would best serve the people of Ireland as a unit.”