‘Needs Less Blame’



Sackville Street after the Easter Rising, one of the 1916 images exhibited at Photographers’ Gallery, London

“The exhibition reveals how photography (like Yeats’s poem) served as a weapon of propaganda for the nationalist cause, helping create heroes of the slain and mythologise what was a relatively minor event into one we’re commemorating 100 years on. ”

…The other problem is the rather partisan tone of the wall-texts: the sense of British wrong and Irish right pervades (the decision to paint some of the gallery walls shamrock-green hardly helping).

Hence we’re told that “Ireland’s economic fortunes had declined markedly” after the official Act of Union; that British conduct was frequently “draconian”; that Prime Minister, David Lloyd George “ignored a democratic mandate”, and so on.

…Which is a pity, as the last thing we need is any kind of blame game. If that were the case, one might stress in riposte that the rebels were bankrolled by Germany. But such an approach seems unnecessarily polemical at a time when reconciliation is the order of the day. Besides which, it denies the photographs the proper chance to speak for themselves.”

A two-star review for the Sean Sexton Easter Rising photo collection


Easter Rising, The Photographers’ Gallery, review: ‘needs less blame’ (Telegraph)

Thanks Colm King

51 thoughts on “‘Needs Less Blame’

  1. Panty Christ

    The Brits were great for Ireland. The managed to grow Dublin into a decent provincial town for themselves. Created wealth locally and built infrastructure. The were Dublin centric like all of the modern irish governments. See they are building a luas line now where once the British had tramlines. Great work all round.

      1. Nigel

        Those weren’t slums those were high-density, low-rent, commuter-friendly, open plan social housing units.

      2. Nice Anne {Dammit}

        Is that why building regs are so ineffectual now as to allow the re-building of shoebox slums so we can do to ourselves what the “British” once did to us. Whilst dressed as Irish landlords….

          1. Nice Anne {Dammit}

            We might have been shafted, shot at, “laisse-faired” and partitioned by other countries but by goodness, that is nothing compared to the way our Irish politicians have shafted, ignored, legislated against and partitioned us….

    1. ahjayzis

      …until 1800. When anyone with money left for London, sold their houses to developers who turned them into tenement slums and the city entered the first of like 200 years of terminal decline.

  2. Tony

    He should try for a job in the Irish Times. Plenty of revisionist apologists there to slap his spineless back.

  3. Sam

    Typical Telegraph rubbish.

    Now, now, just cos we invaded, evicted, exported food during a famine, and sent people to Australia, as well as ignored the results of elections.. let’s not get into a blame game.

    Only one side of the rising fired artillery shells into heavily populated areas. Controlling Dublin was more important than the lives of Dubliners.

  4. Spaghetti Hoop

    Over-sensitivity all over that piece. One is supposed to analyse historical events objectively and within context – not take sides.

  5. ReproBertie

    Germany in 1916 was not Germany in 1939. It was just another imperial power throwing away lives for the sake of ego and empire. For people fighting Britain to seek funds and support from a powerful force that was also figthing Britain was just common sense.

    1. ahjayzis


      I’d gladly work with the bastard down the road to get rid of the bastard squatting in my house.

      1. DubLoony

        And Germany knew it. They supplied guns to UVF as well as to the IRB with a view to having the British distracted by a civil war in Ireland.

        As for trivial – no, it wasn’t. Even in the context of the time 1,600 volunteers were out bringing an entire city to a halt. Gunship on the Liffy laid waste to north inner city. The newsreel footage of the time shows the extent of the damage.

    2. Nigel

      It was all war by proxy. There were far, far worse things done via small countries and territories by ALL the Great Powers than shipping a few rifles to some revolutionaries in a disaffected colony.

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      It’s no coincidence the number of British media articles lately on their imperialist history. This was the decade when all of the empires disintegrated. No shortage of nostalgia out there!

      1. Nice Anne {Dammit}

        Yeah…. if only we had the same flood of articles going on in Ireland right now about *something* in our history :)

    2. Dόn Pídgéόní

      Tbf, the Empire is THE golden age for the Telegraph, all pip-pip cheerio and shoot/marry some natives followed by a nice cup of tea. They’re perennially disappointed to wake up each morning and find the world has changed.

  6. Kolmo

    Has anyone heard of Lance-Corporal Meyers yet, I’m sure he’ll squeeze and drop a centenary nugget of self-hate on us all.

  7. dave g k

    If anything it needs more blame. I was kinda neutral on the whole thing, but this article encapsulates why we right brothers and sisters to assert our independence. My proposal to commemorate 1916 is for the LÉ Aisling to sail up the Thames and then on Easter Monday unleash hell. When completed to our satisfaction a communique can be issued by Michael D Higgins from the steps of the GPO that states “There, now we’re quits”.

    Don’t worry about the possible loss of the LÉ Aisling, it’s due to be decommissioned this year anyway.

  8. Charger Salmons

    Another day,another load of whiney bleating from poor old Paddy and his massive inferiority complex.
    Lads,get over the fact that the UK – soon to become the fourth largest economy on the planet – really doesn’t give a toss about what happened 100 years ago.
    They laugh at the fact that while poor pissed Paddy needs constant reaffirmation about what a wonderful lot of leprechauns they are the rest of the world has moved on.
    They really don’t give a toss about what you think but note the fact that so many Irish people who have been forced to move to the mainland to support their families they’re still bailing out poor pissed Paddy.
    Off your knees and show a bit of self-respect lads.

    1. ahjayzis

      Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning!

      But of course Ireland is unique in commemorating military adventures/misadventures long after the fact.

      You’d never see Britain commemorating anything, they’re not much for ceremony – like Waterloo, The Gunpowder Plot, the World Wars. Sure that’s all in the past, they don’t need the world to pat them on the bonnet and call them a right good chap.

      Sure the French barely remember their revolution.

      You’re displaying the inferiority complex here, mate.

      1. Charger Salmons

        I just hope poor pissed Paddy has got permission from Frau Merkel to spend his pocket money
        on the commemorations.
        He has to get permission to spend everything else.
        100 years and and the Germans are still bankrolling the spudgobblers.

        1. ahjayzis

          Of course the UK has never had to undergo an IMF bailout…

          Seriously man, we’re like the most inoffensive nation, chill out and have a drink yourself! ;)

      2. Spaghetti Hoop

        No…Britain commemorate quite a lot and regularly too. I’ll mention the Armistice, the Trooping and the Garter thingy as three big examples.

        1. CousinJack

          Clampers thats cos the Irish were British during the Empire building period, just like all the other nations of these Islands. I know this is not popular but tis true, truth being factual rather than history propganda seen through the lens of the catholic church and FF in Ireland

          1. Formerly known as @ireland.com

            You can tell the Irish population of the North of Ireland that they were treated equally, between 1922 and 1995.

    2. ReproBertie

      “the UK really doesn’t give a toss about what happened 100 years ago.”

      Did you miss all the Great War Centenary commemoration stuff?
      Did you also miss that the article above came from a UK daily newspaper?

  9. Eoin

    Lets not forget or forgive the deliberate genocide that was the Irish potato famine. Don’t gimmie any of that’ the Brits weren’t all bad’ crap.

    1. Formerly known as @ireland.com


      It didn’t end in 1922. Partition damaged Ireland on so many levels. The British military murdered lots of Irish people, in my lifetime. I am very happy to forgive and forget, when they leave.

      1. Charger Salmons

        Aint’ gonna happen bro.
        In the last opinion poll conducted even a majority of Catholics in the North didn’t want a united Ireland.And can you blame them ? Free healthcare,decent roads and infrastructure,part of what’s soon to be the fourth largest economy on Earth.
        Why would they swap that for a small,irrelevant,dysfunctional country which regularly forces large portions of its young men and men to leave for good to prosper in other countries,mainly the UK ?
        Poor pissed Paddy literally couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery.Too feckless and lazy.

    2. CousinJack

      The problem with the famine genocide is that more people left Scotland than left/die in Ireland, and this represent a much higher % of the population of Scotalnd and Ireland at that time, the population loss in Wales and SW England due to potato blight in the 1840s is comparable or greater than Ireland. But don’t let facts get in the way of a good propaganda story.

      Emigation wise other parts of the Islands had higher emigration rates during the mid/late 1800s than Ireland, for example the recorded emigation rate from Cornwall is 20% of total population per decade from 1850s to 1910s.

      These things were just happening at the time it is not clear that Ireland was treated worse or a special case from a British Government perspective during that period.

        1. Formerly known as @ireland.com


          “The problem with the famine genocide is that more people left Scotland than left/die in Ireland, and this represent a much higher % of the population of Scotland and Ireland at that time.”


          Scotland’s population increased every decade, during the 1800’s:
          1801 1,608,420
          1811 1,805,864
          1821 2,091,521
          1831 2,364,386
          1841 2,620,184
          1851 2,888,742
          1861 3,062,294
          1871 3,360,018
          1881 3,735,578
          1891 4,025,647
          1901 4,472,103

          Please provide proof, not rubbish from the Tory press.

          1. Formerly known as @ireland.com

            “The recorded emigation rate from Cornwall is 20% of total population per decade from 1850s to 1910s.”

            This page says it was 20% of the male population:

            Many Cornish miners were attracted by prospects of greater opportunities, as stated here:
            “A wealth of opportunity
            Struggling at home, Cornish miners were not slow to grasp the opportunities created by the discovery of gold, silver and copper in the New World. Moving offered the chance of better pay and conditions, and the opportunity to rise to a position of responsibility more quickly. ”

            The only population graph I could find, shows the population growing until 1850, then dropping slightly (a few percent in total), until 1925.
            That doesn’t look anything like the Irish population experience.

  10. Zipper

    George Washington was a rebel against Britain, supported by gallant allies in Europe. Why didn’t he and his buddies wait for the British to kindly hand them a limited home rule? Surely that should have been enough for them?

  11. Truth in the News

    The real question is, would the leaders of 1916 tolerate the present Government
    commerorating their sacriface, given that those who now occupy high office
    claim lineage to back to them, its ovious that those who took power in early
    1922 did so for the perks and privelages associated with power and actually
    accepted a modified form of British Rule, that instead of the Brits governing they
    did it for them…..indeed if there was no spilt, the Unionist junta would be gone
    in six months…..the British were exhausted and indeed bankrupt.
    The current junta commorating 1916 is a farce….indeed they should be encouraged as it will expose them as the fakes they are.

  12. Mé Féin

    Hence we’re told that “Ireland’s economic fortunes had declined markedly” after the official Act of Union;
    No Famine then.

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