Democratic centenaries


Sir, – Ronan McGreevy reports ( “Lest we forget : commemorating the events of 1918”, December 30th) that the State will mark its centenary on December 6th, 2022 – a hundred years to the day after the Irish Free State was established. That Fine Gael has a soft spot in its heart for the Free State is something I can understand, but there are worthier events for a democratic state to recall than the direct consequences of the Treaty – an imposed arrangement that the Irish negotiators accepted under duress, and that became the cause of civil war in Ireland and of political divisions that persist to this day.

As a democracy, Ireland could indeed mark the Dáil’s decision on January 7th, 1921, to ratify the Treaty, which was at least a democratic action. Better still would be to celebrate the centenaries of two more convincing exercises of democratic rights, namely the substantial victory of the old Sinn Féin party (not the present-day usurpers of the name) in the general elections of December 1918, and the establishment of Dáil Éireann, thus mandated, on January 21st, 1919. To my mind, these constitute the true foundations of the democratic Irish state. – Yours, etc,