John Redmond a ‘man of violence’, says Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin president accuses IPP leader of sending thousands of Irish men to their deaths

Irish Parliamentary Party  leader John Redmond.

Irish Parliamentary Party leader John Redmond.

 

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has suggested that John Redmond was a “man of violence” who sent thousands of his fellow Irishmen to their deaths in the first World War.

Mr Adams accused the former Taoiseach John Bruton of having nothing to say about the role of John Redmond and his party “in sending tens of thousands of Irishmen to fight Germans and Austrians and Turks with whom Ireland had no quarrel”.

John Redmond was leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party who, after the third Home Rule Bill was put on the statute books in September 1914, urged Irishmen to go “wherever the firing line extends in defence of right, of freedom and of religion in this war”.

As a result of his call, thousands of nationalist Irishmen joined up to the British war effort. Mr Redmond’s call split the Irish Volunteers between those who supported him which were the vast majority and those who believed that Irishmen had no business fighting on the side of the British in the first World War.

Speaking at an event to mark the centenary of the foundation of the Irish Neutrality League, Mr Adams said honouring the Irish dead of the first World War did not have to be achieved by “denigrating the men and women of Easter 1916”.

Mr Bruton suggested in a submission to the Government in August that the Easter Rising and War of Independence were “completely unnecessary” because Home Rule would have allowed Ireland to achieve independence by peaceful means.

Mr Adams said many Irishmen had gone to war for the “defence of small nations” but the British had shown the “hypocrisy” of that stance by refusing to recognise the first Dáil which had been democratically elected by the Irish people in 1918.

He suggested that Mr Bruton’s “Redmondite crusade is a fear, not of violence, but of the Proclamation. You see, the Proclamation enshrines principles and commitments to equality and Irish sovereignty that still challenge the privileged in our society.

“That is why the Proclamation should be at the centre of all our celebrations and commemorations of the great national and international event that was the 1916 Easter Rising.”

Speaking at the same meeting in Liberty Hall, Siptu president Jack O’Connor said the present German government is pursuing economic policies which allowed the Nazis to come to power in the 1930.

Mr O’Connor said the “levers of power in Berlin are still indelibly wedded to the ordoliberal economic model with its attendant ruthless strategy of internal deflation which it is imposing across the continent.”

A similar strategy was pursued by the Weimar Government of German chancellor Heinrich Bruning during the Great Depression when a period of tight fiscal rectitude allowed the Nazis to come to power in 1933, Mr O’Connor suggested.

The league was set by James Connolly, Arthur Griffith of Sinn Féin, Countess Markeivicz and Francis Sheehy Skeffington. All the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation were supporters though they invoked the support of Germany for the Easter Rising.

Mr O’Connor suggested that “humanity in Ireland, in Europe and globally is now treading in territory which has been uncharted since the 1930s and the historical process which resulted in the great conflagration that the Second World War was to become”.

Mr O’Connor said the pigeons are now “flocking home to roost” in relation to the order books of German manufacturers where there has been a rapid slowdown in the economy as a result of the economic policies pursued throughout Europe by the German Government.

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