Rising centenary marked with ‘great dignity’, British ambassador says

Events commemorating 1916 can help reconciliation between Ireland and Britain

The Easter Rising centenary commemorations were marked with "great dignity" and will help promote reconciliation between Ireland and Britain and on the island of Ireland, the British ambassador to Ireland has said.

While watching the Defence Forces pass the GPO on Easter Sunday, Dominick Chilcott said he "could tell from the people around me this was a moment of real national pride".

“And it was done in a way that put the Irish Defence Forces at the centre of the affirmation of the statehood of Ireland and I thought that was very well done,” he said.

The unveiling of the wall at Glasnevin Cemetery, which lists the names of all those who died during Easter Week, including soldiers and police, was one of the highlights of the commemoration.


"Everybody is there and they are listed simply by the date when they were killed and by alphabetical order," Mr Chilcott told The Irish Times, following a speech in University College, Cork.

“There was no sense of judgement as to who died in a good cause and who died in a bad cause just that these are people who died doing their duty or were caught up in the events.”


The inclusion of the names of British soldiers who were killed would be important to their families living today, but would also help promote reconciliation between the two countries and within Northern Ireland.

“It’s up to the Irish State and the Irish people what sort of memorial they want but I think we all want remembrance and commemoration of these events to be useful in promoting reconciliation and good relations,” he said.

The 100 people who protested outside Glasnevin Cemetery were entitled to register their opposition: “It would be surprising if there was a universal consensus that this was the right thing to do.

“People hold very strong view and obviously people have a right to protest, that’s fine. It didn’t disrupt the occasion and it didn’t take anything away from what was a very moving and dignified ceremony.”

The ambassador was questioned about about the decision of Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster to decline an invitation to attend the Easter Rising commemorations.

Declining to comment in detail, he went on to say: “It was significant when she said that all the dead being honoured without a hierarchy of victims was indicative of a spirit of inclusivity - that was encouraging.”

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times