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24 September 2014
Wars and Conflict - Newspaper Archive

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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.

The Belfast 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... "

The Irish Independent

Thursday, 4th May 1916

"No terms of denunciation that pen could indict would be too strong to apply to those responsible for the insane and criminal rising of last week... "

The Irish News

Thursday, 4th May 1916

"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... "

The Irish Times

Wednesday, 10th May 1916

"In the House of Commons on Monday Mr Redmond asked the Prime Minister to put an immediate stop to the execution of rebels in Dublin... "

The Irish Times

Monday, 14th April 1941

"The twenty fifth anniversary of the Insurrection of Easter Week, 1916 was celebrated in Dublin yesterday by the largest exhibition of military strength seen in the capital in recent years..."

The Irish News

Tuesday, 12th April 1966

"The vast amount of publicity devoted by British journals to the Easter Week Rising in 1916 must have caused much surprise in this country... "

The Irish Times

Thursday, 14th April 1966

"Aspects of Easter Week celebrations continue to strike the mind and are unavoidable at the moment... "

The News Letter

Monday, 18th April 1966

"Belfast’s day of tension has passed off without any major clash if not entirely without incident... "

The Catholic Standard

Friday April 29, 1966

"Did Telefis Eireann overlook the Catholic inspiration of the 1916 heroes?... "

The Irish Times

Saturday, 30th March 1991

"The message of Easter is resurrection, renewal and hope... "

The Sunday Press

Sunday, 31st March 1991

"Today we celebrate and commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising and we do so with pride... "

The Irish Times

Saturday, 6th April 1996

"What is this strange phenomenon called 1916 that seems to raise the blood and paralyse the intellect for so many?... "

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