Former Irish leader John Bruton has restated his opposition to commemorating the Easter 1916 Rising saying the Rising and War of Independence were “completely unnecessary” because Irish Home Rule was already on the statute books although suspended.
He made his comments in a submission to the Irish government, the Irish Times reports.
He called on the government to instead mark the centenary of the Home Rule bill being placed on the Westminster Statute Book on September 18, 1914 though it was later suspended because of Northern unionist opposition and the outbreak of the First World War
He said the violence of that period “should not be retrospectively justified in the other commemorations that are to be undertaken over the next 10 years.”
“Ireland could have achieved better results, for all the people of the island, if it had continued to follow the successful non-violent parliamentary Home Rule path, and had not embarked on the path of physical violence, initiated by the IRB and the Irish Citizen Army in Easter Week of 1916.”
“Sinn Féin and the IRA should have used the Home Rule Act as a peaceful stepping stone to dominion status and full independence in the same way as the Treaty of 1921 was so used, but only after so much blood had been shed,” he wrote.
Earlier this summer, Bruton stated his belief that the Easter Rising damaged the Irish psyche and made people more pro-violence.