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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Irish Independent: 1916 snapshot view of things (Little has changed since)

                                                        Aftermath of the 1916 rising

Lest We Forget 1916 and the Irish Independent's views of the men who fought for Irish freedom then. Little has changed since.

The editorial in the first issue of the Irish Independent after the rising in 1916 that had included Michael Collins, headlined with this: Criminal Madness. It continued: “No terms of denunciation would be too strong to apply to those responsible for the criminal and insane rising of last week.”

By the 9th of May of that year, the British had already executed 13 leaders of the rising and James Connolly lay gravely wounded while waiting for his own execution with Sean Mc Diarmada who was still a prisoner. The Irish Independent then called for more blood to be spilled, their blood: “If these men are treated with too much leniency they will take it as an indication of weakness on the part of the Government (A British one)…Let the worst of the ringleaders be singled out and dealt with as they deserve.”

Two day later the Irish Independent were getting impatient and wrote this: “A certain few of the leaders remain undealt with, and the part they played was worse than that of those who have paid the extreme penalty. Are they, because of an indiscriminate demand for clemency, to get off lightly, while others who were more prominent have been executed?

The next day the Irish Independent's wishes were granted: James Connolly and Sean Mac Diarmada were shot the at the break of dawn. Michael Collins survived just a little longer.

Barry Clifford