The Irish Times – Saturday, April 16, 2011
The murderers of Ronan Kerr follow a perverted logic that requires us to examine 1916 in an honest fashion
THE MURDER of PSNI constable Ronan Kerr on the eve of Easter by people who describe themselves as Irish republicans should prompt deep reflection on the legacy of the 1916 Rising and the plans for the commemoration of its centenary.
There is no shirking the fact that the people who planted the bomb that killed Constable Kerr regard themselves as the heirs of the 1916 tradition, and would claim that their inspiration came from the Rising.
It is easy to dismiss such claims; much harder to recognise that they have a perverted logic that requires us to examine 1916 in an open-minded and honest fashion.
The central problem is that the Rising has been taken out of context and elevated into the supreme founding event of the modern Irish state when, in fact, it was one event in a series between 1912 and 1923 that changed the political structure of the country.
Taken in isolation, the Rising can indeed be interpreted as an endorsement of violent and anti-democratic action. What is so little understood in the popular version of Irish history is that with the passage of the third Home Rule Bill in 1912, Ireland was going to have its own parliament one way or another. John Redmond, the leader of the Irish Party, had mass popular support, and it was generally accepted that he would be the dominant force in a Home Rule parliament.