Martin pays tribute to 1916 spirit


This year's celebration of the men and women of 1916 was an occasion for hope but also realism, Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland Diarmuid Martin said at Arbour Hill this morning.

The annual 1916 commemoration Mass in the Church of the Sacred Heart was attended by President Mary McAleese and Dr Martin McAleese, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and other senior politicians, as well as relatives of the 1916 participants.

Reflecting new transport arrangements, Government ministers arrived at the ceremony by minibus rather than State cars.

“The economic situation in which the nation finds itself and the dramatic social costs that this will entail should forewarn all of us against any haughtiness about who we are and where we stand,” Dr Martin said in a homily.

The economic climate at the time of the Rising was disastrous and there was much poverty and deprivation, but Dr Martin pointed out that those who fought and died in 1916 “realised that with courage and vision things could change".

He said those who gave their lives in the Rising were not just seeking separation from Britain, they also had a positive and purposeful vision of Irish independence based on values.

“We celebrate and remember those who gave their lives in 1916 for a better Ireland and we remember that theirs was not just the proclamation of ‘independence from’, but ‘independence for’: independence for a purpose, independence based on values,” Dr Martin said.

The Archbishop recalled how his uncle Martin Mullen and his aunt Mary Mullen had participated in the Rising.