Calls for memorial in Britain for 1916 Easter Rising

Calls for memorial in Britain for 1916 Easter Rising

LABOUR Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s promise of a commemorative plaque to Constance Markievicz has prompted calls for a memorial in Britain to the 1916 Easter Rising.

Mr Corbyn told his party’s women’s conference that he plans to put up a plaque in his constituency to Markievicz.

She was incarcerated in Holloway prison in 1918 during which time she was elected to parliament.

Markievicz was a Sinn Féin MP and so did not take up her seat.

Prior to her imprisonment, she had been second-in-command during the Easter Rising military engagements, taking an active part in the armed struggle.

Although Mr Corbyn's suggestion of a memorial to Constance Markievicz has been criticised -  particularly by the right-wing press - there have been further suggestions from various voices for a memorial in London to all of those who died in the Easter rebellion.

Jonathan Jones of The Guardian said: “We need to start healing wounds, not scratch at them.”

Jones also castigated the parts of the British press who rounded on Mr Corbyn.

“For right-wing papers to claim that her involvement in the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin makes her, 99 years on, a scandalous icon of violence is ludicrous," he wrote in his column yesterday.

"In those turbulent times when revolution and war were shaking the world, Markievicz narrowly escaped execution for taking part in the Easter Rising.”

Jones agrees that what Britain really needs is a big memorial to the Easter Rising itself.

“1916 was an event that has come to be seen as the symbolic birth of modern Ireland,” he argued. “It is a cherished moment in the history of a great European nation and deserves to be remembered and debated as such.

“What could be a better gesture from Britain to mark this centenary than a monument to the Irish revolutionaries and British soldiers who died in the Easter Rising?

"Such a memorial would acknowledge our own tangled history and help to put the bitterness of the past where it belongs: in the history books.”

Jones added that any suggestion by politicians and commentators in Britain that the actions of those involved in the 1916 Rising can be equated with atrocities carried out much later by the IRA is ludicrous.

“To demonise the Easter Rising is to demonise Irish nationhood itself,” he wrote.

He concluded by saying: “Who on earth in the whole of Great Britain still nurses a grudge against the Easter Rising?

"What British visitor to Dublin is not a little stirred by a visit to the GPO? Irish history needs to have the poison sucked out of it. Let’s put up a stone to 1916, not make stones of our hearts.”