As the light lessened in the sky and the dusk was slowly replaced with the coming of nightfall on the most momentous of days. After watching the commemorations one hundred years after the 1916 Easter Sunday Rising in Ireland, my mind and heart and soul felt a mixture of great pride and great sadness. Pride in the courage and bravery of the Irish men and women who dreamed, fought, died for and passionately envisioned in their Proclamation, this Ireland.
“The Republic guarantees …. equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally…..”
And great sadness that one hundred years on, this great vision and dream has not been realised. In an Ireland where the gap between the rich and poor grows wider and wider. Where homelessness grows daily in numbers. Where public health and social housing waiting lists grow ever longer. Where greedy and unconscious decisions made in the political and financial sectors and by some big developers, which has brought about the greatest recession ever seen in Ireland since the setting up of the state, have not, in the main, been held to account and has yet to be made mandatory to answer for and put right.
In many ways I feel bereft of how the amazing Dream and Vision of the men and women of the 1916 Rising was diluted and sidelined to suit the narrow tunnelled vision of a church and state that became increasingly intertwined.
I watched amid the fanfare and pristine O’Connell Street and flower bedecked GPO, meticulously prepared for the celebrations and wondered where the homeless men and women who generally shelter there, take refuge by its great pillars, and sleep each night in its doorways, would find to lay their heads tonight and all this week.? For they once more had become ‘invisible’. By their absence it would appear that their shopping trolleys and black sacks holding all of their worldly possessions would not make an appropriate backdrop beside the glowing yellow flowers to the viewing eyes of the World.
I don’t wish to rain on anyone’s parade and celebrations. However, I have to ask, in celebrating the brave, courageous and visionary men and women of 1916, are we only celebrating the memory of what they stood for? or are we prepared to honour their memory and all that they stood for by actually implementing and manifesting their great vision and dream that they saw for Ireland in the 1916 Proclamation? For it is in acknowledging this that we ensure to resolve and consciously create what is so desperately needed here in Ireland. We have the blueprint for it, so now one hundred years on can we commit to that ‘guarantee’ so proclamied on the steps of the GPO in Dublin one hundred years ago.
“The Republic guarantees…equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally…..”
For only then can this Dream and Vision be felt and experienced by ALL men, women and children in Ireland in their daily lives.
A hunded years on let us make a conscious decision to see all of this great Vison and Dream, seeded a century ago, become a reality.
Bernadette Phillips is Founder of NEW INSIGHTS FOR CHANGE and a Social Scientist, Motivational Speaker, Conscious Educator, Poet and Writer, passionate about giving voice to conscious living, social justice and equality issues.