Sunday, March 27, 2016

1916 Easter Rising Centenary: The story of the Rebellion

After O’Donovan Rossa was laid to rest, the plot to banish the British from Ireland took shape quickly.

With England firmly distracted by events in Europe, the rebels set about forming an army that could take on the might of the Empire.

The first step was to convince James Connolly to join the IRB, which he did in January 1916.

He was quickly voted onto the Military Council, to ensure the Irish Citizens Army would fight in the Rising.

Connolly had been considering leading his army into a rising on his own, but had been convinced by Pearse and MacNeill not to undertake premature action.

Days later, an agreement was reached for a joint uprising from the Irish Volunteers and the Citizen’s Army, to take place on Easter Sunday.

Their plans were shrouded in secrecy. Even the IRB President Denis McCullogh, who had been elected following Military Council manipulation, knew nothing of the Council or their plans.

Later, many would blame this secrecy on the mass confusion over the dates the Rising was to take place, and it’s subsequent failure – initially at least.

Another factor in the rebel’s defeat was the failure to secure a shipment of arms from Germany – although they came within a whisker of doing so.

When the Great War broke out, many republicans were hopeful Germany would support an Irish insurrection. The key negotiator in this endeavour was Roger Casement.

Initially, the former diplomat’s mission was a success. The Germans commissioned a steamboat – the SS Limbau – loaded with 20,000 rifles, 10 machine guns and a million rounds of ammo to sail to Ireland.

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