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Who fears to speak of the Republic?

Robert Ballagh
p. 51-68

Author's notes

This essay repeats and expands on a 2006 essay published online with the Ireland Institute in 2006: “1916 and All That — A Personal Memoir”


Full text document will be published online on November 2018.

First lines

The British occupation of Ireland down the centuries was once seen as exploitative and repressive. However, according to “responsible” historians, this British presence in Ireland should be seen as an act of benign generosity. We should accept that the United Irishmen were fanatical bigots and the 1798 rebellion was a sectarian blood bath, that the famine was simply an accident of nature and that the resultant human catastrophe was not the fault of those who controlled the country and its resources, namely the British. The Fenians were violent bunglers; Parnell was a dangerous subversive who toyed with unconstitutional methods, and the Easter Rising was an unnecessary, even ungrateful, orgy of violence, as the British were on the point of ceding national democracy. Anyone who still clung to the point of view that branded British imperialism in Ireland as either a fact or a bad thing was dismissed as old-fa...

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Bibliographical reference

Robert Ballagh, « Who fears to speak of the Republic? », Études irlandaises, 41-2 | 2016, 51-68.

Electronic reference

Robert Ballagh, « Who fears to speak of the Republic? », Études irlandaises [Online], 41-2 | 2016, Online since 30 November 2018, connection on 21 January 2018. URL :

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About the author

Robert Ballagh

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© Presses universitaires de Rennes

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