Tears For The Republic




From top: Anne Marie McNally and fellow Soc Dem Gary Gannon and with Erica Fleming on Patrick Street, Dublin on Easter Sunday

How do you celebrate the birth of the Republic when its ideals have essentially been cast aside by successive Governments.

Anne Marie McNally writes:

I’m conflicted. I’ve friends who are conflicted. We’re conflicted see, about the conflict – or more accurately-the commemoration of the conflict, the 1916 conflict to be precise.

I want to celebrate it. I, quite literally, was raised on songs and stories about heroes of renown. I could spit from my house to Kilmainham Gaol and many afternoon strolls with my dad ended with a pint in The Patriots Inn.

Luke Kelly’s Foggy Dew was the background to many a family evening. I was surrounded by and steeped in the history, the heroism and the patriotism of those who fought and died for the cause of Irish freedom in 1916.

Last Sunday I walked up Patrick Street following the Military parade and feeling a real sense of occasion. I got to College Green and I stood and watched the big screen as Captain Kelleher read the Proclamation to a deathly silent Dublin city.

I won’t lie, I shed a tear. It was a powerful moment that will stay with me for the next hundred years – and that was the point wasn’t it? – to create a memory of our past for the current generation and to keep our history alive within us. In my case, it worked.

From College Green I pushed past the throngs of people and circumnavigated the various barricades and found a circuitous route to Marlborough Street where people were gathering to highlight another facet of our nation’s legacy – our homelessness crisis.

Erica Fleming, the young mother who featured on RTÉ’s documentary ‘My Homeless Family’, had organised the protest to lay bare the stark reality between the Republic that was proclaimed in 1916 and the Republic we find ourselves living in today in 2016.

While those dignitaries who were actually allowed onto O’Connell Street on the day sat and celebrated the visionary men and women of 1916, just two streets over we stood and lamented the fact that their vision has never been achieved.

Never was that more manifest for me than standing surrounded by parents and their children who had arrived from various hostels and hotel rooms across the city while a triumphant flypast soared overhead.

There has been harsh criticism in recent days of those of us who sought to use the words of the proclamation to highlight its unfulfilled promise.

They shout at us about it not literally meaning children when it spoke of cherishing all the children of the nation equally. Well d’uh, but you know what – those visionaries certainly weren’t excluding actual children from that phrase and why wouldn’t you use it to highlight the horrific injustice of 1800 of our children living in a 2016 Republic without a home?

When they spoke of cherishing the children they referred to every person in Ireland, the 1800 homeless children are just the tip of the iceberg, if we take it at its most literal and use it to highlight where we have failed across the board then your eyes would water.

It has therefore made very little sense to me that those detractors would seek to jeer those of us using the ideals of the proclamation to make a statement about the absence of those ideals from our society today.

So my conflict was thus – I wanted to commemorate, I wanted to remember, and I wanted to burst with pride in memory of our strike for freedom and the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to deliver the Irish Republic.

I also wanted to shout from the rooftops about how we have failed to deliver that Republic, how a Republic that fails to ‘cherish all the children of the nation equally’ is one not worthy of the name, and how I felt hypocritical celebrating the birth of that Republic when its ideals have essentially been cast aside by successive Governments.

I’m not filled with romanticism for the 1916 figures, I realise that their beliefs and many of their aspirations were founded in conservative religious ideologies that I would eschew and which – as DeValera’s reign proved – had a warped vision of what equality actually was, however, their words and actions about equality and civil and religious freedoms, taken separate to their own personal beliefs, were visionary and 100 years later I still desire a Republic based on those ideals.

So while I honoured and commemorated the events and the people, I celebrated the vision not the delivery and that allowed me to stand side by side with Erica and my colleagues and continue the fight that began 100 years ago – the fight for the delivery of a true Republic

Anne Marie McNally is a founding member of the Social Democrats. Follow Anne Marie on Twitter: @amomcnally


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51 thoughts on “Tears For The Republic

    1. Medium Sized C


      The challenger was stating the obvious as if to invalidate her point, while failing to see that they aren’t actually invalidating her point.

      Pretty much classical application of old classic.

      1. Michael

        You say old classic, I say childhood insult from 20+ years ago. The author demeans her argument by using the type of phrases you’d expect to hear at a Donald Trump rally.

  1. Clampers Outside!

    “They shout at us about it not literally meaning children when it spoke of cherishing all the children of the nation equally. ” …that paints an unsavory pic in my head, were people shouting at you on Sunday, over the weekend? Really… of all the weekends, or ever, to be trolling someone on such a matter… >_<

    1. J. Tanner

      Which numbers are skewed dweller? I only see 1916, 2016 & 100 years, none of which can be argued really. The only other number in there is 1800, relating to the number of homeless children, which is probably conservative seeing as the IT had it at almost 1600 six months ago. (Apologies if you are finding the high concentration of numbers in this reply bewildering)

      1. Anomanomanom

        The 1800 is simply not true. They class people as homeless when they have places to live. And I don’t mean a b&b or hotel.

        1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          The definition of being homeless can include people who are staying on friends sofas etc as they don’t have their own home so therefore homeless. Which makes comparing the numbers problematic since they are comparing different definitions but not incorrect necessarily.

          1. Anomanomanom

            I know that but like one mother had said on Rte radio, Her self and her two kids are homeless because the kids sleep in the grandparents house and she has to “find” places to sleep each night. No one had the balls to ask “why will your parents take the kids but not you”, if it was a space issues surely sleeping on couch or a blow up mattress in the same room as the kids would be a better option than “finding” some where.

          2. Anomanomanom

            Again ignore the point, why could she not sleep there. For all we know they had 2 spare rooms. Nobody asked her.

          3. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            You are ignoring my point that she would seem to fit the current definition of being homeless. And if she is saying she needs to “find places to sleep” it doesn’t sound like her parents are living in a mansion. Instability in housing is a huge stressor for kids, it can do real damage, you’re situation may have been different in that you felt stable living with your grandparents, this is not the same for every family because as we all know, families are complicated beasts.

            Also, one person doesn’t disprove the situation for the many.

          4. Nigel

            Talk about death by a thousand cuts – aggressively interrogating individual circumstances that might be difficult to explain or sensitive or any number of things as if it could possibly have any bearing whatsoever on the larger issue.

        2. ahjayzis

          So what’s the actual number? Or is it unknowable?

          I mean, if you know that one to be wrong, do you know the right one or is it just a hunch?

          1. Anomanomanom

            Nobody can actually know. But when you actually listen and get more information other than people simply saying “my kids are homeless” you start to see the criteria for homeless needs to change.

          2. ahjayzis

            But we demonstrably have a massive housing crisis at every level of the market.
            Adjusting the criteria for homelessness sounds like massaging the figures the other way.

            I mean, I don’t know the numbers either but I’m of the view that we all benefit from good social housing provision – it frees up houses for those of us who don’t need social housing, it improves the childhoods and learning outcomes of the kids we’re going to be living alongside, no?

            When we start getting into moral arguments are judging others lifestyles I really don’t think that helps anyone or the situation. The world, and people, are the way they are and kids shouldn’t be punished for their parents’ poor judgement. And you can’t really say everyone in housing need is there as a result of fecklessness after the last decade of crap.

          3. Anomanomanom

            I agree with all of that. Iv no arguments with it. I will say the reason i would like the criteria looked at is so that with the very limited(there should be more) resources able at this exact time the really really bad cases can be looked at first. Everyone deserves a home but the family who genuinely have no one and no where to go are little more important than the family, like myself, who slept in the grandparents.

        3. Clampers Outside!

          Well… put it this way. Cut that number ion half, 900. The figs are not out by 50%.

          Now, isn’t 900 still something of a disgrace, a sign of complete ineptitude on the governments behalf.

          Now double it again…. are you angry yet? You should be.

        4. Same old same old

          Oh well that’s ok then

          Homeless people living in flophouses have “places to live” so are not homeless neither is that man and his pregnant wife who I met last year who were resident in a tent in a wooded area

  2. Eamonn Clancy

    Great how people latch onto the children bit of the Proclamtion but casually ignore the other parts of it. The Proclamtion never spoke to a 26 county Ireland, and a 26 county Ireland has no right to ownership of it let alone citizens of it pick it apart to suit themselves.

    1. ahjayzis

      Homeless kids or somehow annexing an unwilling Northern Ireland – which do you see as the more urgent priority?

  3. Sheik Yahbouti

    I’m still awaiting the Republic. Try looking at the message rather than the messenger.

  4. Anomanomanom

    First off i like your stuff on here normally, but the homeless children bandwagon is coming to a stop so many people have jumped on it. Look nobody wants/likes homelessness but the numbers simply are not true. Let’s look rationally at them starting with the single mothers,I’m using mothers because they normally are the single parent, We all know cases of “single” where the parents are still together or at least the father is known I’m mentioning this because there was a case of a “homeless single” mother on Rte, yet she had three young kids, yet no father around for any of them and was currently pregnant yet got pregnant while “homeless” with 3 kids. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. Yet her kids are included in homeless figures.

    The next thing to look at is the “homeless” living in homes nut classes as homeless, what I mean is family living in family members homes. As I stated before my family lived in my grandparents home because that’s what families do when family members need a home. But according to the the criteria of today I would be in the homeless figures and my mother who slept on the couch would most certainly be homeless.

    By massaging the fixtures it does real homeless people a disservice. People just looking for to scam a house are in my opinion horrible human beings.

    1. Medium Sized C

      Do you have figures for the number of people who are “looking for to scam a house”?

      You’re calling other people horrible but claiming that people forced to load in on family members in absence of a dwelling of their own are not homeless. You’re basically a step off advocating a return to the tenements.
      Thats pretty horrible in my eyes.

      1. Anomanomanom

        Stop doing the BS favourite of “show figures, show link proving”. Of course I don’t have figures, but we all know it goes on. If all you took from that was the little rant you had then that’s ok but I need to say WTF are you on about tenements for. I certainly didn’t live in a tenement and my family lived with my grandparents. Your what’s wrong when it comes to people on the homeless issues, the hyperbole doesn’t help.

        1. Clampers Outside!

          Em… it’s a favourite because it stops the bullcrap you get on TheJourno and stops personal attacks in their place, usually. Like the knob end who said Carol Hunt sends her kids to the Southside for schooling when she lives beside Croker…. I hate that shih. Calling for links and figs is a good thing, deal with it.

          1. Anomanomanom

            Yes when actually direct state of -he/she done this or that- but not for everything that’s said. Like I know for a fact some single parents scam the system, loads in fact do it, I know people doing it. Now of course I can’t get exact numbers yet people still say ‘prove” “link please”

          2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            +1 – anecdotes or stories from the Mail are not evidence for a reason

          3. ahjayzis

            But how does mentioning scammers help the situation? Do we not help 100 people because 5 are on the take?

            When we talk about the problems in the health service, no one says we can’t improve things or take action because we’d only be encouraging the hypochondriacs and people with Münchhausens.

          4. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            Are you telling me that everyone is a scammer? Bringing up the few to discredit the many is ridiculous but great as a distraction from the main points, which is exactly what has happened here. The evidence, at least where I am, shows that less than 1% of welfare payments are fraudulent, I am sure Ireland has figures as well that are available which would be available rather than going on about a women you heard about on the radio.

    2. ahjayzis

      Three kids and their mam in their granny’s box room are homeless. That’s not conducive to a healthy home life and a dreadful start for the kids.

      1. Anomanomanom

        Again hyperbole, nobody said box room. And again nobody asks why the “single” parent can’t live there. Look unlike most of you I actually deal with and help homeless. Some of you on here have actually helped me with the donations for the shelter beside me, I’m not naming because people on here are weird at the best of times and I wouldn’t want most of you knowing where I live, anyway I actually see real homelessness.

        1. ahjayzis

          I’m not trying to be hyperbolic, I just think a mother sleeping on a couch is homeless.

          I think a bed and a modicum of privacy is the basic requirement of anything calling itself a home as opposed to just shelter from the elements.

        2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          Great stuff. You must be able to see the pathways that end up with people being homeless?

          Out of curiosity, what is your definition of homeless?

  5. Anomanomanom

    I apologise for the grammar I’m still half asleep and did not check it before posting.

  6. Medium Sized C

    Wasn’t Luke Kellys “Foggy Dew” the one about fornicating with some wan who went on to marry someone else?

  7. dav

    The hatred of some (including those in power) of those who are homeless is unbelievable. It’s as if they feel they homeless “deserve” to be that way and improving the lot of the homeless is somehow interfering with gods plan or some other archaic belief.

    1. Bonkers

      They’re annoyed that the Proclamation didn’t make provision for at least 2,000 homeless children before we have to admit we have a homeless problem.

      Those feckin idealists of 1916, how dare they want all children to have a good start in life.

  8. Digs

    These children are in better shape than many others. The children the state are failing most are the ones who are being physically and mentally abused, not just by abusive families but also, and more worryingly, by state institutions. There is a very low level of expertise and education among many social and child care workers in this country and the HSE is not equipped to remedy it as they themselves are not fit for purpose. Way too many civil servants and chronically bureaucratised institutions and thier legal reps squandering funds that any fool could budget better.

  9. DubLoony

    A few short years ago, we had an excess of housing. The problems we are experiencing are a result of population growth, coupled with a failure to build homes to meet the needs of the growing population.
    Money is not the problem, Labour allocated €3 billion for social housing.

    The problem is implementation – planning, land hoarding, need for skilled trades, builders suppliers that went bust, banks that won’t lend to builders for obvious reasons etc. It will take about 2 years for housing to start coming on stream again. Assuming locals aren’t out with pitchforks objecting to social housing in their leafy area.


    “According to the preliminary Census 2011 results issued in June 2011, there are 294,202 vacant dwellings in the State. We will find out in 2012 how many of these are holiday homes, but at this stage it still appears as if we have some 100,000 homes which represent an excess over the long term average vacant housing stock, and this represents the overhang of vacant property that will act as a drag on prices, until used up”.

    1. Kieran NYC

      The problem with your answer is a) it is true, b) it isn’t a rage-fueled rant and c) it doesn’t blame Joan Burton and/or DO’B. It has therefore been ignored.

      Please resubmit and try again.

  10. some old queen

    I think that anyone accusing the Social Democrats of jumping on the housing bandwagon really needs to take a good look at what they are actually about.

    In a way, the actual homeless figures do not matter. We know they are high, the highest ever, and there is no more sorry sight than human beings lying along the side of a street. What have we become to allow this to happen? We cannot blame the British or the Church anymore so it is our own doing, our own fault.

    And then there are those who are forced to buy something with a two hour commute each way or those who have increasingly obscene amounts of their income eaten by rent and are only two pay checks away from being homeless themselves. The working poor are most of us now.

    This is why this is such an important issue and this is why arguing the finer details of what is defined as homeless is as useful as feathers on a frog. We just celebrated 1916. When a roof over your head is so hard to come by, what has really changed?

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