Museum gains Proclamation original

by Democrat reporter

THE IRISH and British public will be able to view an original 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic this year after it was donated to the National Museum of Ireland.

Museum director, Dr Patrick F Wallace, said he was "deeply honoured" to have been presented with the rare historical document by the family of Joseph Mc- Crossan, a former librarian in the Irish Oireachtas.

"We are deeply honoured to be presented with this document, which represents one of the most important historical documents in modern Irish history," he said.

The proclamation came into the possession of the McCrossan family, after paternal grandmother Mary McCrossan picked it up in O'- Connell Street and hid it in the lining of her hat. No one knows how many of the rare documents survive today. Some have recently surfaced and were sold at auction to private collections for large sums of money.

The document will now form the centre-piece of the museum's new 1916 exhibition, staged to coincide with this year's 90th anniversary celebrations.

Clare-based historian Meda Ryan, author of several books, including Tom Barry: IRA Freedom Fighter, told the Irish Democrat she was delighted with the news.

"The proclamation is a sacred document for Irish Republicans. It incorporates everything they have aspired to. The central tenet of achieving 'the ownership of Ireland for the people of Ireland' found in the document presents an egalitarian, non-sectarian template which people like Cork IRA leader Tom Barry valued above all," she said.

"Barry was with the British army in what is now Iraq when he heard the 1916 leaders had been shot. It led him to leave the army and follow the tenets of the proclamation instead," she added.

The official government 1916 Rising Commemoration at Arbour Hill in Dublin will be led by president Mary McAleese, the taoiseach Bertie Ahern and senior ministers on Easter week. Senior members of all political parties in Ireland, with the exception of unionist parties in the North, will be present, while an official parade by the Irish army and forces of state will form part of the event.

Republicans and socialists throughout Ireland and Britain will be holdng their own commemorative parades and rallies.

Many have voiced cynicism at the official events, claiming that establishment parties in Ireland were merely paying lip-service to the memory of the anti-imperialist Rising in order to gain political capital from popular public support for the 1916 leaders' political idealism and militancy.

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2006-04-06 19:03:20.
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