100th anniversary of the Easter Rising

On Easter Monday 1916 Irish separatists began an uprising aimed at ending British rule in Ireland. The rebellion was brutally crushed but the independence movement on the island proved unstoppable. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Dublin to commemorate the rebellion on Sunday. What is the current state of British-Irish relations?

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The Irish Independent (IE) /

Irish have matured as a nation

The events commemorating the anniversary of the Easter Rising show that the Irish have developed a healthier and more nuanced perspective on their own history, the conservative daily The Irish Independent comments:

“The hundreds of thousands of people who attended events almost certainly weren't agonising over the morality of what happened a century earlier. There was no glorying in blood sacrifices - far from it - but neither was there much tolerance among people of the trite, simplistic 'terrorists' label attached to those who fought 100 years ago by some. Instead, people embraced the reality that the Rising had happened and that our independent state was conceived, if not born, at that point. ... For a nation and a State that has struggled with its sense of self and identity over the decades, there was something extraordinarily liberating about that.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

British owe Irish an apology

The brutal suppression of the Easter Rising by the British occupying forces was a serious mistake with far-reaching consequences for relations between the two peoples, the conservative newspaper The Daily Telegraph observes:

“The tragedy of this is that our two countries are interwoven by ties of culture, language, history and, above all, family; and for us to have spent most of the 20th century in deep estrangement when it is clear how much the British and Irish people have in common with each other has harmed us both. There is nothing more contemptible than politicians seeking approval by apologising for wrongs committed by previous generations: but the wrongs the British did Ireland, and their consequences, require an apology, and the centenary of the Rising is the time to make it.”

The Irish Independent (IE) /

Former enemies are now close allies

As the British and Irish have long since buried the hatchet there is no need for an apology, counters the conservative daily The Irish Independent:

“Neither was there any great sense [during the commemoration ceremonies] that Irish people want a forced apology for the executions of the men who became martyrs. ...We live in a time when we are proud to be separate from Britain while simultaneously their closest ally on many European and international issues. Perhaps in years to come, their schools will teach children the story of the Rising too and wouldn't that acceptance of our shared history be better than any apology. We have our independence. There is peace in Northern Ireland and a roadmap for a better future. We've come a long way.”