THE IRISH ambassador to Britain is confident that the coming period in Ireland’s decade of centenaries will be marked without focusing on ‘blame or praise’.
Speaking at the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool on Monday, Ambassador Dan Mulhall made his prediction for the years ahead while discussing the period of 1912-1922.
“The current wave of anniversaries is different from anything we have experienced the past,” he said.
“It remains possible that difficulties will arise as this decade of centenaries wears on, but a number of things have happened in recent years that ought to give grounds for optimism that, during this coming period, the history being commemorated will no longer be a realm of blame or praise,” he added.
The Ambassador was in Liverpool to deliver a lecture entitled History is to Blame – Commemorating Ireland 1912-1922 to students and community members at the Institute of Irish Studies.
While reflecting on previous waves of commemoration, he claimed the context for events to come was ‘quite different’ to that which applied in the 1960s or 1990s.
“First, the peace process has advanced very considerably since the second half of the 1990s,” he said.
“Recent events, however, have shown that it remains a work in progress and the undoubted advances that have been made ought not be taken for granted. Nonetheless, the political environment in which we now operate is different from either the 1960s or the 1990s,” he added.
“Second, relations between Ireland and Britain are currently warmer and far more advanced than at any time in our history, and thirdly, our Irish commemorations take place against the backdrop of a global commemoration of unprecedented scale,” he concluded.
Earlier in the day the Ambassador unveiled the Brendan Mac Lua library – a new research centre for staff and students based at the Institute in Abercromby Square.
The library boasts roughly 6,000 items, including books, documents and journals.
It also holds a full archive of The Irish Post, which belonged to Brendan Mac Lua, the paper’s co-founder and former editor, and was donated by the Mac Lua family following the death in 2009.