The Primate of All-Ireland has warned against allowing this year’s centenary commemorations of the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme to divide Irish people.
“I hope that in our remembrance of 1916, we are very aware of the present and the possibility that we could drive a wedge during this year, rather than promoting harmony and friendship,” Armagh’s Archbishop Eamon Martin said in an interview for the iCatholic website.
Dr Martin described how the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh Dr Richard Clarke had expressed concerns to him that the centenary commemorations could “potentially fracture” Irish society, and said that he and other Church leaders believe the centenary should be entered in a “spirit of reflection”.
The centenaries, he said, offer an “opportunity to ask ourselves in Ireland: who are we as a people? Where do we come from? What are our roots? And also what kind of society do we want in Ireland in the future?”
In doing this, he said it was crucial to remember the human cost of the First World War and the Rising, stressing that “it’s so important when we are remembering that we do not engage in some sort of revisionism or kind of false glorification of the events, either of Easter or indeed of World War One, but instead we recognise the horrific – the terrible – loss of human life that took place.”