Legacy of 1916 in the spotlight at Hadden memorial lecture
FORMER diplomat, senator, political adviser and negotiator during the Northern Ireland peace process, Dr Martin Mansergh was not surprisingly deeply grounded in the subject of his talk on 'The Legacy of 1916' at Wexford Historical Society's annual Dr George Hadden memorial lecture.
Dr Mansergh delivered a wide ranging and well researched lecture, starting with the 1916 Rising and moving on to the current political earthquake that is the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit vote and relationships within these island.
He said that despite widespread condemnation initially, the Rising soon became a rallying point for a more ambitious goal of independence. The North was excluded from its plans. A basis could not be found for making the alternative, Home Rule, work. There was little outside help forthcoming, but the international climate became uniquely favourable to the independence of small nations. The longer term legacy of the methods used is mixed. The Northern peace settlement transcends the divisions of the past.
Pierce and Connolly never really expected to win, he said, and leaders including Nehru and Lenin identified Ireland as the first nation to stage a rebellion that led to independence. The talk took place before a capacity crowd at St Michael's Centre, in Green Street. Dr Mansergh is Vice-Chair of the Government-appointed Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations.