Tuesday 12 December 2017

Glasnevin event was dignified and moving - can someone tell Sinn Fein?

Guard of honour at the State commemoration
Guard of honour at the State commemoration

THE commemoration of the centenary of the funeral of Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa last weekend was moving.

The event, which took place at Glasnevin Cemetery and marked 100 years since the Fenian was laid to rest there, featured a re-enactment of Padraig Pearse's famous oration at O'Donovan Rossa's graveside. Many see this address as a catalyst for the subsequent 1916 Rising.

The event was dignified, well-choreographed and well-scripted.

One Irish political party were clearly less than satisfied with it though, and decided to stage their own commemoration. Sinn Fein organised a rival event, marching from the city centre to Glasnevin with a casket, to re-enact the Fenian's funeral.

It's likely that Sinn Fein will hold more of these events - their own commemorations of 1916 centenaries - in the coming months.


We shouldn't be too surprised. For years Sinn Fein and the IRA did not accept the legitimacy of the Dail. That may have changed (for Sinn Fein at least) but now it seems that the party is questioning the legitimacy of official commemorations.

Times have moved on, but many in Sinn Fein seem to feel more comfortable indulging in their own narrative, rather than joining the rest of the Irish people in remembering and commemorating the events of 100 years ago.

Events like last weekend's show that many in the party and their support base still view our State with, at the very least, distrust, if not outright contempt at times.

Look out for more attempts by Sinn Fein to hijack official commemorations in the coming months, as the 1916 centenary draws closer ... and ignore them.

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