Morality of 1916 subject of debate


MINISTER OF State for the Arts Dr Martin Mansergh last night refuted suggestions by historian Ruth Dudley Edwards that the actions of the participants of 1916 were similar to those of modern terrorists, saying no comparison could be made between the likes of Pádraig Pearse and individuals with "no territorial aims".

Speaking during a debate organised by the University College Cork Philosophy Society, Dr Mansergh said contrary to Ms Dudley Edward's claims, the freedom fighters of 1916 were right to take advantage of the opportunity that cropped up for national self-determination.

Opposing the motion That the 1916 Rising was Immoral, Dr Mansergh said: "I completely refute the notion that al-Qaeda or people with non-territorial aims that are not specifically related to particular countries have anything to with 1916. British and Irish relations are now better than they have ever been."

Ms Dudley Edwards said the men of 1916 were anything but heroes.

"A tiny little group decided they were right and they were going to stage a revolution with no backing from the public at large because they thought it was the right thing to do, as do al-Qaeda, as do the people who blew up the tube trains in London a few years ago."