Easter Rising

Hesitant Comrades

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Given that Ireland was officially part of the UK until 1922 and that many British unions organised in Ireland, not to mention that large numbers of Irish workers lived in Britain, you might assume that the struggle for independence was a major issue for the British labour movement of the day. In fact, as this book brings out, it was an embarrassment for the leaders of both the Labour Party and the trade unions.

Revisiting Ireland's uprising

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Kieran Allen's book 1916 examines the legacy of the Easter Rising. He spoke to Socialist Review about revolutionary Irish politics then and now.

Let’s start with the recent Irish elections. It was marvellous to see an increase in the number of socialists in the Dail [parliament]. Also the two main right wing parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, saw their combined vote drop, continuing a 30-year trend.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have dominated Irish politics since the Civil War of 1922-23. They used to get about 85 percent of the votes of the Irish people and they are now down to about 50 percent.

The Rising and Revisionism

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We should not let the legacy of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland be rewritten and repackaged by right wing historians.

Amid the carnage of the First World War Ireland struck a blow against empire. On Easter Monday 1916 about 1,600 men and women seized the centre of Dublin and declared an independent Irish Republic. A battle raged for six days, resulting in the eventual defeat of the insurgents and the destruction of substantial sections of the city. In the immediate aftermath 16 of the leaders were executed, and 3,500 people arrested and detained.

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