Sinead O’Connor is many things. She is a strong woman. She is a talented musician. She imploded her rising career when she tore up a picture of the pope which she was uniquely entitled to do, given her suffering in the Magdalene Laundries. Most of the world hasn’t heard of or from her since. But now, so many years after that first provocative act, she has done another – and this time around, she has thrown down a gauntlet and called for a revolt against the Irish government, by any means necessary.
I still admire the woman although if I’m honest, I hadn’t paid much attention to what she was doing these days. I have heard about her open letters to random people about random things but since I couldn’t care less about Miley Cyrus or the Twitter war they are apparently having, I have avoided most of the recent headlines that she is involved in. Until yesterday.
That’s when Sinead penned another one of her infamous open letters but this time it was to the government of Ireland. This time the heading was a Cumann Na mBan logo at the top of the page – which always makes me perk up and take notice. I don’t know how they feel about Sinead’s use of their badge but given their history, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that they agree with the spirit of her letter. It certainly spoke to me – and gave vent to some of the frustrations that many share about the 2016 government-sponsored shitshow of a centenary celebration.
It reads :
“Dear Sirs and Madames,
As we sit on the cusp of the centenary of The 1916 Rising a revolution is headed your way like an inevitable slow train coming. You’ve sensed this for some time. This is why you have lately set about cravenly discrediting those who fought and died in 1916 so that we might have an Ireland wherein we could be honoured as we deserve to be. We never had that Ireland and we want it now. Ultimately its going be your choice as to whether this is a violent or non-violent revolution. I support the latter wholeheartedly and will do what I can to encourage others to support it.
I give you a warning however and I hope you take heed. The Irish people are not as afraid as you’ve been banking on (excuse the pun). IF YOU WANT THIS REVOLUTION TO BE NON-VIOLENT DO NOT FORCE THE PEOPLE TO ARM THEMSELVES BY MEETING THEIR NON-VIOLENCE WITH VIOLENCE. THE VIOLENCE WITH WHICH YOU HAVE MET THE PEOPLE WILL ONLY INSPIRE VIOLENCE.
When we do come to take our country back, you’d be advised to step down and hand over peacefully. We will declare the First Republic of Ireland a failure and establish the Second Republic of Ireland, by any means necessary. I refer you to paragraphs two and three of the Declaration Of The First Republic (below) in order to spell out for you exactly on which points that Republic has failed and continues to fail.
In short, we didn’t sign up for what you’re peddling. And we deserve better.”
It ends with a picture of the Proclamation. Now, I don’t know if what she predicts will come to pass. I doubt too many people are going to listen to her warnings or opinions and many will probably never hear them at all. She’s written plenty of ‘open letters’ over the years they have been ignored or mocked and unfortunately this may be another one. However, I think this one deserves some attention. It has that same tone of a rousing speech—one that triggers a little cocktail of pride, excitement, and adrenaline—and it made my heart beat a little faster, much like some of her music has in the past.
So cheers for Sinead. I hope this one is not dismissed. The Rising deserves to be celebrated in 2016, not swept under a rug of politically correct, tourist friendly, watered-down politics. People should stand up against the vilification of those whose actions eventually gave them their first taste of freedom. I hope for one hell of a counter-celebration – one that honors the men and women of the Rising with the dignity, grace, and gratitude they deserve. If I can find one that does that and highlights the pride of modern Ireland and the respect it should be entitled to I will be there with bells on. Maybe she will too.
Her original letter can be found here