C of I archbishop warns about history being exploited at Rising commemoration

Archbishop Michael Jackson says that legacy of 1916 is bedrock of contemporary Ireland


This generation of Irish people should be cautious of those who politically manipulate and exploit the legacy of 1916 and surrounding events, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Dr Michael Jackson said at the annual State commemoration of the Easter Rising at Arbour Hill in Dublin.

Dr Jackson gave the main sermon at the Mass and commemoration service held at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Arbour Hill yesterday.

The archbishop said the legacy of 1916 lay in the bedrock of contemporary Ireland and it and the subsequent years of civil war and political accommodation to an emerging Ireland had made a contribution to “who we are and who we are yet to become”.

“But Ireland cannot forever hide behind an ‘emerging Ireland’ nor should we want to . . . No one event can be taken in isolation, particularly as generations come and go and also as less and less of history as it actually happened is part of the lived memory . . .

“History develops a new function, that of releasing new energy in a tired and repetitive world, porous to exploitation by those who know that old fears and old symbols still sell and who still suppress those who can think otherwise and think for themselves,” Dr Jackson told the congregation.

President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Chief Justice Mrs Justice Susan Denham were the chief dignitaries at the annual commemoration. It culminated with the President, at the invitation of the Taoiseach, laying a wreath at the shrine to the leaders executed in the wake of the Rising.

Most members of the Cabinet were also present. Garda Assistant Commissioner John Twomey and Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Seán McCann were the chief representatives of the Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces. Dublin Lord Mayor Naoise Ó Muirí also attended.

Aifreann na Marbh
The chief concelebrant at the Mass, Aifreann na Marbh, was Bishop Raymond Field, an auxiliary Bishop of Dublin, with Msgr Eoin Thynne, head chaplain to the armed forces, and Fr Jerry Carroll. The choir came from St Patrick’s senior national school in Corduff, Blanchardstown, with soloists Mykela O’Sullivan, Natasha Tuite and Janet Itambo.

The President and his wife, Sabina Coyne, arrived at the church shortly before 10am. The President then inspected a captain’s guard of honour.

Following the Mass, the 1916 commemoration ceremonies were conducted at the plinth of the shrine in the grounds of the church.

There were multidenominational readings from representatives of the Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland, the Jewish congregation, the Presbyterian Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Islamic community and the Methodist Church .