Public apology and re-affirmation of support for a true Irish Republic
Make an open, public apology as President of the Republic of Ireland to the memories and the descendants of the heroic men, women and children who gave up their lives during the Easter 1916 Irish Rising – exactly one hundred years ago - to create a fair, just and equitable society - one in which, regardless of color, creed, gender or ethnic background, all people living within the borders of Ireland would never suffer discrimination of any kind, shape or form. And to re-affirm support for the creation of a true Irish Republic based on the principles inherent in The Proclamation of the Republic (as Gaeilge: Forógra na Poblachta) as read out by Padraig Pearse outside the General Post Office on Dublin’s main O’Connell Street during Easter week, 1916. Not only did the majority of Irish people not actively support these brave people then but even failed in any way to recognize their efforts to establish a democratic society, until they were dead. Worse, these brave people were mocked by Irish onlookers as they were marched off by their guards along Dublin streets on their way for incarceration in prisons.
Fairness and timeliness
Not only is the centenary of the Irish Revolution approaching this Easter (Sunday, March 27) but a key general election also is underway (national voting takes place today, Friday, February 26). Both these historic events act as reminders to people of the invaluable legacy those brave Irish ancestors bequeathed: a citizen's right to vote. This petition reinforces this inalienable right.
As people ready themselves to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, I believe Irish people, both in Ireland today and in other countries, have an opportunity through this petition to publicly voice their support for the brave acts of these heroes and heroines of 1916 and deeply apologize on behalf of their own descendants for not recognizing them back then and instead allowing them to die in such humiliating circumstances.
Rather than be hailed as honest, decent, brave people making the ultimate sacrifice for an ideal they firmly believed in, these men, women and children were humiliated on Irish streets and in its prisons by the vast majority of the Irish population, then marched out - injured or not, one leader, James Connolly, tied to a wheelchair - summarily executed by firing squad in a nondescript stone prison courtyard and buried in non-descript graves, to be forgotten by so many. All simply because they had the vision to see CHANGE was necessary for the betterment of ordinary peoples’ lives and that COMMON DECENCY was the God-given right of every man, woman and child.
This international petition, both an act of public support and a formal apology to the memories of those martyrs, is launched this year, 2016, exactly one hundred years after the historic insurrection that took place in Dublin and other places within Ireland.
The struggle these heroes fought, to achieve freedom and fairness, is still being fought today, thus giving each one of us a unique chance this Friday with the national elections to put things right and make certain their ultimate sacrifices to create an open and equitable society within the Republic of Ireland were not in vain.
The Proclamation of the Irish Republic in 1916 read out publicly outside Dublin’s General Post Office on the city’s main street, by Padraig Pearse, one of the leaders of the Easter 1916 Rising, stated in part… “The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally…”
Yet, RTE, the official Irish national broadcaster, hosted a documentary within the last six months (September 2015) focusing on the wealth gap in Ireland with research showing the most affluent 20 per cent of people in Ireland own 73 per cent of the country’s wealth and the poorest 20 per cent own just 0.2 per cent. As for the top 5 per cent, their combined wealth is nearly double that of the entire ‘squeezed middle.’
Severe cost-cutting to public services over the last five years has meant the closure of schools and hospitals and nurses and teachers being made redundant, leading to the sick and elderly waiting in long lines along hospital corridors for medical treatment that sometimes never, or comes too late, and to schoolchildren receiving sub-standard education due to overcrowded classrooms and lack of proper equipment.
Further, water and septic tank charges and a plethora of other hidden taxes have been introduced making life for ordinary families to make ends meet all the more difficult. At the same time, policies by successive legal and political leaders have meant that the gap between rich and poor has continued to widen, with the rich controlling an ever greater share of the nation’s scare resources. This has ultimately led to the strengthening of ‘elitism’ within Ireland. It should never be too late to embrace freedom, diversity and fairness.
I believe this petition will help make sure this happens.