As an English mother of two Irish children I had mixed feelings about attending yesterday’s ceremony , but my 6 year old son was very keen to see the Proclamation read out in front of the GPO and see the flag flying for his country.
About a month ago, after he had learnt about the 1916 rising at school, we visited Dublin to see the bullet holes in the GPO and discuss the whys and wherefores, the shenanigans and the bravery of the events of 100 years ago. I had hoped the experience would bring reality and relevance to his classroom tales. Today was a time to celebrate these brave men and women with his fellow countrymen.
Sadly, that was not our experience yesterday. Their innocent eyes were forced wide open to the blatant cronyism that runs this country. The disgusting attitude and discrimination of the haves and have-nots policy of the Irish government.
Why are we not allowed to be part of this celebration? By invite only are ye allowed to see the live action. Gate crashers can watch TV. We could have stayed at home to do that. History once removed is meaningless.
With the fervour of a mother whose children are denied, I decided my son will see the flag lowered, the actual flag atop the actual GPO. We tailgated a lost soldier, himself disgruntled at not being let into the party, and found ourselves a quiet spot on an open pavement opposite the Savoy. Here we could see a screen to watch what was going on at ground level but more importantly we could see the flag post atop the GPO only to be told to Fuck Off by our own Garda Siochana..
Shaking and tearful from the abuse of this man, I tucked my visibly upset children into a nearby cafe. Thank you Esquire Cafe for your sanctuary and coffee.
As we stood watching dignitaries arrive my ten year old daughter turned to me and said
” I wanna live in England mum. This country is run by pigs who only look after the rich”
” I thought Guarda were nice helpful people mummy” my son added.
And I had to reflect over my twenty years living here, how brutal and divided this country has become.
With dignitaries still arriving, I scanned the view before me. TV vans and piles of unused barricades (see pic). I wondered to myself is this really what the good and brave rebels of the revolution died for? To give the BBC a ringside seat whilst the children of the free state are abused and made to feel inconsequential?
Would it not have been better to clear away the un-needed barriers and set up a safe space for interested school children to get a glimpse of the action and feel part of this historic event? Did anyone give a thought to what an experience like today’s, would teach the future leaders of this country?
I nearly cried at the irony as the Proclamation was read, proclaiming all children would be treated equally in this new Free State. The word on the street amongst the common people of Ireland was that today’s pompous ceremony was an elitist disgrace. Let’s not forget that if it weren’t for the common people there would be no Republic to celebrate.
Shame on you official Ireland, for today you alienated two of your children and made me feel more proud of being an Internationalist than ever before.