President’s speech on British colonialism


Sir, – The headline and article on the President’s second seminar in the Machnamh 100 series (“Irish people were ‘willing agents’ of British colonialism, says President”, News, February 26th) are misleading, damaging and incorrect.

Those who viewed the President’s address for Machnamh 100 or who read the text of his paper will have noted that the President referred to “some” among the native Irish who supported the British Empire, principally through economic necessity.

It is the President’s stated hope that Machnamh 100 can be a welcoming, inclusive forum for listening, for learning and for reflecting and can contribute to an inclusive commemoration; one that allows for uncomfortable truths to be acknowledged, one that might free us from the traps of remembered grievances and bitterness, and one that, through the sharing of a deeper understanding, might assist in our reconciliation with the past and with each other.

As Ireland recalls the seismic and formative events of a century ago, President Higgins has, through his Machnamh 100 initiative, issued an invitation to all those who share these islands to reflect on, and reconsider, the stories we have told each other, and the language we have used, about our past.

I invite you, and your readers, to read the President’sspeech in full, along with the other contributions to the Machnamh 100 seminars. – Yours, etc,


Head of Communications

and Information,

Áras an Uachtaráin,

Phoenix Park, Dublin 8.