Brian Patterson of Newry on my letter to the Irish News on Moore Street and 1916

A Cara,

While I would not be a supporter of Fine Gael, I would regard Professor Bill Tormey as a decent, fair-minded and liberal public representative,possibly the last custodian of his party’s brief “Young Tigers” era.

I was saddened therefore to read of his opposition to the preservation of the Moore Street buildings which constituted the final Headquarters of the 1916 leadership before surrender. (Irish News 17th April)

Professor Tormey is correct of course in stating that the gombeen truncated “Free State” set up in the wake of partition betrayed the egalitarian and non-sectarian ideals enshrined in the 1916 proclamation, a betrayal in which certain figures now iconic to his own party were deeply involved.

Professor Tormey proposes “the achievements” of O’Connell, Parnell and Redmond in opposition to Pearse, Connnolly and the men of 1916. These three politicians are dubious role models. O’Connell was a sectarian demagogue who alienated Protestant nationalists and led his people into a political cul de sac.

He shamefully supported Britain’s Opium War with China which cost tens of thousands of Chinese lives. His only solution to a genocidal famine was docility and submission.

Parnell’s political successes were in large part due to the support of the militant Ladies’ Land League and to a confluence of tactics between instinctively physical force republicans, such as Michael Davitt and those who favoured constitutional nationalism.

That confluence had the full backing of the IRB who were later to instigate the 1916 Rising. Indeed the Land War it was largely the IRB’s brainchild.

Parnell deserves credit for largely rising above his class background; he was however a deeply flawed human being as instanced by his acceptance of a ten thousand pound bribe (a vast sum in those days) from the arch Imperialist and racist, Cecil Rhodes.

John Redmond is surely the most invidious of the Professor’s historical role models. His backing of Britain in the inter-Imperialist holocaust of World One was the supreme blood sacrifice by proxy of Irish history; forty thousand Irishmen were to lose their lives and thousands more were maimed or traumatised. Small wonder that the Irish Volunteers, in desperation, decided that “t’were better to die ‘neath an Irish sky than at Suvla or Sud-el-Bar.”

Moore Street, “Ireland’s Alamoe”, is under threat from those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Thankfully the vast majority of Dublin City Councillors, of all parties and none, realise that.

Is mise,

Brian Patterson

Newry