Nobel peace laureate Máiread Maguire describes Easter Rising as 'ethically and morally wrong'

Peace campaigner Máiread Maguire has criticised the use of violence in the Easter Rising. Picture by Mal McCann
John Monaghan

NOBEL Peace laureate Máiread Maguire has criticised the Easter Rising as "ethically and morally wrong."

In a statement assessing the Rising, Ms Maguire, who won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize with Betty Williams for founding the Peace People, said she believed the 1916 leaders "had a democratic right to their dreams of Irish self-determination" but should not have used violence.

The peace campaigner called on religious leaders to "theologically assess blood sacrifice in Irish history."

Ms Maguire said: "Whilst we can feel a deep sadness for the suffering the men of l9l6 (and Irish people) endured at the cruelty and violent military/political occupation of their country by the British, and understand their wish for justice and Irish freedom, their blood sacrifice was not the way of love, which is the only power to transform the forces of domination and control.

"I believe it is important to say this very clearly and affirm that religious leaders need to theologically assess blood sacrifice in Irish history."

She added: "Tragically, we Irish are trapped on a wheel of violence, as is indeed the human family."

Arguing against hardline nationalist positions, Ms Maguire said that if "elevated above human life...we are in danger of losing sight of the sanctity and dignity of human life and each other."

"Patrick Pearse, I believe, regarded his cause of Irish freedom as a holy cause, and put it above the life of both himself and others....(continuing) to feed the myth of redemptive violence in Irish history," she said.

"Therefore, I believe violence is always wrong and there are always nonviolent alternatives to bring about justice and build peace.

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