Easter Proclamation – James Enright (6th Year)

The following address on the Easter Proclamation was given to the School Assembly on Tuesday, March 15th by James Enright(6th Year)

The story of modern Ireland does not begin with glory, honour or freedom. Instead it is a story if oppression, beginning with the Norman invasion of 1169 and culminating in the Tudor Conquest of the 17th Century. In 1801, Ireland officially became a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

After forty years of political struggle for Home Rule, the Irish people struck for the right to ‘the ownership of Ireland’ and to the ‘unfettered control of Irish destinies’. The Proclamation of ‘Poblacht na hEireann’ is a lasting testament to their struggle and our future.

On Monday 24th of April, 1916, Padraig Pearse, a poet, a teacher and a member of the IRB read the Proclamation of the Republic from the portico of the GPO in Dublin.

This proclamation was not addressed to the King of England, the British Government or the British Military. Instead, this bold document was addressed to all the Irishmen and Irishwomen that make up this Republic. It laid bare a ground-breaking vision for Ireland, guaranteeing the ideals of ‘religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities’ for all the citizens of this Republic.

The men and women who took part in the Rising wanted to see an equal and fair society for Irish people to live free from oppression, discrimination and fear. They wanted to create a new and better Ireland and a more hopeful future for ‘the children of the nation’.

Today we commemorate those one and a half thousand men and women who took up arms to assert and protect the values that they wanted us to live by. For the signatories of this Proclamation, it was not enough to simply hold these beliefs of inclusivity, equality and fairness, but to act upon them. So strong was their conviction, that they gave their lives for this cause.

In remembering 1916, we must focus on this fact. That to espouse a belief is not enough. We must reflect on the ideology laid out in the Proclamation for us the ‘children of the nation’. A commemoration of the 1916 Rising gives us the chance to reflect on the idea of what it means to be a part of this Republic. To truly honour the men and women of 1916, we have a responsibility to think deeply about the values we hold as a society, and then to act upon these beliefs. In doing so, we claim the Republic that they died for, the Republic that we are so proudly a part of.