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The Sunday Press, Sunday, 31st March 1991
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We can take pride in the idealism of the 1916 leaders, in their willingness to give their lives for the cause of Irish liberty. We can also take pride in much of what we have achieved since. Ireland today is a nation which is respected as a vibrant partner in a great European alliance, one which is playing its part, as a peace keeper in foreign lands, and which has a young, well educated population, one which is striving for even greater achievements in the arts, science, industry, commerce, one which has carved a niche for itself on the World stage.

We have much still to do. We cannot, must not, allow the problems of unemployment and emigration continue at their current levels.

They achieved a great deal and the people who came after them also achieved a great deal...

The proclamation of 1916 promised that in the new republic the children of the nation would be cherished equally. In Irish society today we still have a serious poverty problem, which must be tackled and in the case of our itinerant population we have, as a nation, failed a section of our community dismally.

The executed leaders of 1916, with the possible exception of James Connolly, had, perhaps a limited set of objectives when they set out that Easter, 75 years ago. They achieved a great deal and the people who came after them also achieved a great deal. There are many things about the Ireland of 1991 which would disappoint them, but there are far more which would bring them joy and satisfaction.

What would not give them any joy is the continuing carnage in the North whether it is in the name of Irish Republicanism or loyalism. The fact, therefore, that the Northern Secretary, Mr Peter Brooke, was able to announce in Easter Week that he has secured agreement from all the major political parties to discuss the future Government of the North is a piece of exquisite timing.

It is entirely appropriate that in the week in which we commemorate an historic happening 75 years ago, a British politician has succeeded in persuading loyalist politicians to sit down with those from the nationalist tradition to secure a better way forward and that within a few weeks the representatives of the Irish Government will join those talks.

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