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The Easter Rising Assignment

The Easter Rising of 1916 started because the issue of Home Rule for Ireland had not properly been resolved. The Ulster Unionists wanted Ireland to remain part of England and the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army were committed to the overthrow of British power, because they wanted to set up an Irish Republic free from British rule.

This conflict was due to the fact that when England turned Protestant in 1534, Irishmen stayed loyal to the Catholic Church and the Pope. Since the 1800’s Ireland was ruled from London therefore Ireland had not been allowed their own parliament. After 1590, the English Government had encouraged Scottish and English Protestants to settle in Ireland which caused Irish Protestants to have supremacy over the Irish Catholics.

Although, during the 19th century Nationalists made many attempts to get the British Parliament to vote for Irish Home Rule, unfortunately each attempt failed. However when the Third Home Rule was introduced in 1912 it was finally passed as law in 1914, but the outbreak of the First World War on the 4th August (Britain declared war on Germany), postponed the Home Rule from being put into effect until the end of the war with Germany.

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Most Irishmen volunteered for the British Army but some Nationalists felt it was time to rebel against Britain, and thought that they should take advantage of Britain’s distraction from the Irish affairs to rise up in armed revolt.

A meeting was held three weeks after the war had started and eight or nine people attended including Patrick Pearse, Arthur Griffith, Thomas Clarke, Sean MacDermott, Eamonn Ceannt, Thomas MacDonagh and Joseph Plunkett. They discussed plans to seize control of Dublin at Easter. Despite all their efforts their plans were sabotaged when the British Navy discovered a German ship carrying 20,000 rifles and ammunition for the volunteers; the ship was captured a long with Sir Roger Casement, a leading Irish Nationalist. Nevertheless, Patrick Pearse (Commandant-General of IRA) and James Connolly (leader of the Irish Citizen Army) still decided to go ahead with the rising.

So on Easter Monday, 24th April 1916, Irish Republicans impatient with the delay in fulfilling the Home Rule, marched in an armed group with Patrick Pearse leading in front into Dublin. Raising the Irish tricolour flag Patrick Pearse announced Ireland was an Independent republic by reading the Proclamation of Independence. The rebels occupied the General Post Office (their Headquarters), the Four Courts, Mendicity Institution, South Dublin Union, College of Surgeons, Boland’s Mill and Jacob’s Factory.

Eventually 5 days later, the British had defeated the 2,000 volunteers and won back control using artillery and a gunboat positioned on the River Liffey, forcing the rebels to surrender. The soldiers outnumbered the rebels.

The outcome was 220 civilians were killed, 600 wounded, 64 rebels were killed, unknown injured, 134 British Soldiers and Police killed, 381 wounded, 3000 people were arrested but only 1867 were actually put into prison and it resulted in a £2.5 million cost damage to buildings.

Thousands of people in Ireland were against the rising and were shocked by the whole event, especially as it occurred at a time when it was seen important to support the war effort. As the rebels marched away to jail by the British Soldiers they were jeered by the civilian population.

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