The newspapers in Dublin and Belfast denounced the Easter Rising. The Irish Independent - owned by the Dublin entrepreneur William Martin Murphy - called for the execution of the rebel leaders and in particular James Connolly who had organised a strike against Murphy’s Dublin Tramway Company in 1913. A few days after the Rising the then pro-Union Irish Times put out an emergency edition and urged its readers to stay at home and read Shakespeare until events calmed down.
During the 50th anniversary of the Rising in 1966 nationalist newspapers took a singularly different approach; the rebels who were denounced in 1916 were now being venerated as national saints.
In 1991 and 1996, after nearly two decades of IRA violence, newspaper editorials took a more muted response to the 75th and 80th anniversary of the Rising. Judge for yourself how attitudes have changed over the years in this selection of editorials from the Dublin based Irish Times, Irish Independent and Irish Press and the Belfast based Irish News and pro-unionist News Letter.
Tuesday, 2nd May 1916
"The latest news about the Sinn Fein rising is good. On Sunday General Maxwell informed a group of Press representatives that the back of the rising was broken, but not yet over... "
"On Monday, April 24th a Proclamation was posted in Dublin announcing that an "Irish Republic" had been formed under a "Provisional Government" of seven men whose names were attached to the document... "