Two Wadham students are in the process of organising a remembrance service for the 1916 Easter Rising, an insurrection led by the Irish Republican Brotherhood, one of the predecessor groups to the IRA.
A Facebook post on the Wadham SU page by Pete Morgan, a second year historian at the college, explains he and another student, Anna Secombe, are “planning a remembrance service for the centenary of the Easter Uprising” to be take place in 1st Week of Trinity. According to Morgan, the service seems to have the endorsement of Wadham Chaplain Wendy Wale.
In addition to this, one student suggested involving the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP. McDonnell has provoked outrage in the past with comments suggesting that IRA terrorists should be “honoured” and that it was a result of the “bravery of the IRA… that we now have a peace process.”
The contentious post, which is signed off with the Gaelic “Iocfaidh ár lá,” a slogan meaning “our day will come,” suggests a political motivation behind the commemoration. The phrase alludes to a unified Ireland and the fight to incorporate Northern Ireland into the Republic. It is used by Nationalist party Sinn Féin to this day. A party famed for their reasonable behaviour and no dodgy links to terrorists at all…
With events as recent as July 2013 resulting in Unionist MP Nigel Dodds being knocked unconscious with a brick in North Belfast, Wadham’s decision to celebrate a religious and culturally contentious issue in an Anglican Chapel seems to see the College reach new heights of absurdity, even without noting the politicising of a religious place of worship. However, with OUSU Women VP Lucy Delaney liking the Facebook post, perhaps it will have funding within the week.
When asked for comment (which took us a while to do, sorry Pete, bad form from us there), Morgan referred us to the mission statement of the group: “We [yet to be confirmed title] are a group of Oxford students who are organising a series of events in April 2016 to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising. The Easter Rising was an armed insurrection in certain parts of Ireland against British rule which went on from the 24th to the 29th April 1916. The rising resulted not only in civilian deaths, but also in harsh repression by British forces including executions of key nationalist leaders and hundreds of imprisonments. We believe that it is an important historical event in the history of Ireland and Great Britain and that the centenary provides the opportunity to consider the legacy of the rising, its impact on the development of Ireland and Irish nationalism and the cultural significance it has acquired in the past century.”