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Dublin Orangemen criticised for Easter Rising comments

Orangemen from Dublin and Wicklow L.O.L 1313 congregate to lay a wreath in Dublin on Remembrance Sunday
John Monaghan

AN ORANGE Lodge in Dublin has been criticised after referring to the Easter Rising as a rebellion "aimed at replacing civic peace and harmony with rape and murder of life and property."

In a social media post hours after holding a Remembrance Day commemoration on Mount Street Bridge, the Dublin and Wicklow LOL 1313 hit out at the Rising.

Beneath photos of Sunday's event, the Lodge wrote: "Dublin Orange men assembled on Mount Street Bridge in an act of remembrance to those who paid the ultimate supreme sacrifice in putting down the 1916 Rebellion."

It added: "A rebellion which was aimed at replacing constitutional government with tyrannical government and civic peace and harmony with rape and murder of life and property."

Although other remembrance events are traditionally held in the Republic by the Royal British Legion, it is believed that Sunday's commemoration was the first public event held by the Orange Order in Dublin since 1936.

A poppy wreath was laid in memory of the Sherwood Foresters, a British army regiment which suffered heavy losses during gun battles with republicans led by Eamon de Valera near Mount Street Bridge in April 1916.

The Dublin and Wicklow Lodge said that there would be an "annual act of remembrance on the bridge."

The commemoration was attended by members of the 'Reform Group', which campaigns for the Republic to re-join the Commonwealth.

On its website, the Dublin and Wicklow LOL 1313 describes its members as Irish with a "British dimension."

The Lodge also states that it is "not anti-republican" and is "most definitely not anti-Catholic."

The comments on the Easter Rising provoked a storm on social media, with condemnation of the Lodge's use of language.

One Facebook user wrote: "Men who died putting down a rebellion which sought to establish a Republic that would cherish all children of the nation equally."

In a statement in September, the Dublin lodge called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Republic's ministers to "set an example to the nation's children" by distancing itself from the violence used in 1916.

It said: "Perhaps our children in the 3,200 national schools to be targeted (with a tricolour and copy of the proclamation) should be told that in 1916 all democratic freedoms were present and Home Rule was on the statute books in Westminster.

"There was no cause that justified the loss of lives of more than 485 people, 18 policemen, 250 civilians, 38 of whom were children. This violence also set a template for 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland."

The lodge added: "Our children also need to know that a grievance, no matter how deeply felt by a minority, should be dealt with peacefully and by argument, as John Bruton recently suggested. Those who led the way in 1916 were a secret organisation within a secret organisation with no electoral mandate."

Dublin and Wicklow LOL did not respond to requests last night for comment.

However Fianna Fáil councillor Jennifer Cuffe described the remarks as "deeply disheartening".

 

"I'm deeply disappointed by the comments made in advance of the 1916 centenary celebrations. The goals of those that participated in the 1916 rising were to create a fair and equal society for all Irish men and women, including those from the Orange tradition. They had a vision of a new Republic where everyone was given the same opportunities to progress in life," the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown councillor.

"It's deeply disheartening to see the Orange Order miss the opportunity offered by the centenary to reflect on the potential of that vision and engage with the wider community. Instead, they seek to distort it. I would be happy to meet with the orange order in Wicklow and discuss this with them as a proud constitutional republican."

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