Even easier to forget is the fact that on this holiday ninety seven years ago, instead of enjoying roast lamb with their families, Irish citizens such as Countess Markievicz, James Connolly and Padraig Pearse were making the final preparations for their efforts to establish Irish independence. However, as we near a full century on from arguably the most important day in Irish history, it is important that we ask ourselves, are we living in the Ireland that the Irish Republicans of 1916 imagined?
While tentatively waiting on the DART home from my British-established university, in a station named after the beautifully skilled poet and republican Padraig Pearse, I constantly found myself considering that he would turn in his grave if he knew that there was a British news channel being broadcast on the big screen there for almost a year before being safely replaced by RTE. But I still frequently see Sky News being broadcast in government-owned hospital waiting rooms and airports across the country.
This may seem like I’m being belligerent, but choosing to broadcast (sometimes quite conservative) British news from a British point of view in an Irish government-owned building, still shows reliance on British media and portrays that British news consumption as the primary television source is still the norm over eighty years after independence from the UK was officially established.
Similarly, when on the way to a Luas stop named after republican and socialist leader James Connolly, who was shot by a British Firing Squad in May, 1916, it is a British voice programmed into the ticket machines which urges us to take our change. Considering that the Luas is semi-owned by the same government which Connolly essentially gave his life to establish, is this really what he would have had in mind?
Additionally, in recent years, both the impossibility and the undesired financial impact which a united Ireland would bring, has been gaining popular opinion in the Republic. In fact, the total independence of Scotland from the United Kingdom is beginning to look far more likely. Worryingly, ever since the Celtic Tiger let out its final roar, one of our top exports to the UK has been the majority of our highly-skilled graduates, who are unable to find jobs which adequately reflect their efforts in Irish universities around the country.
Not only that, but as broke students we often find ourselves choosing to buy our clothes, gifts and books on British websites such as Boohoo, Missguided and Amazon rather than local Irish-owned shops. This may seem like a harmless way to save a few euro; however, the reality is that the money you do spend goes straight to the British Exchequer and is thus eliminated from circulation in local shops, restaurants and supermarkets in Ireland. In fact, according to the Independent, three of the four billion euro spent online every year by Irish consumers ends up overseas aiding foreign economies presumably at the cost of our own.
So next time you pop into Tesco to pick up dinner or stick on Channel Four news, remember just how intertwined and dependent we once were forced to be on the UK, and that your decisions as a consumer may well be inadvertently making history repeat itself.