by ehistoryadmin on October 11, 2017

Leinster Leader 23 April 1949

Mr. de Valera in Naas

Kildare 1916 Men Honoured

Mr. de Valera said in Naas on Wednesday night that the name Republic was a sacred name to him.  It was the name used by the men of 1916 when they proclaimed the Republic, and it was intended to be a Republic for the whole of Ireland. He was speaking at a dinner given in honour of the Kildare men who marched to Dublin and fought in the 1916 Rising. Mr. de Valera said he would like to repeat words he had used at the graveside of Padraig Pearse:

“Let us remove all the symbols of foreign rule, let us establish a Republic in fact, and when we have it established the proclamation of it will be a mere ceremonial – a mere ceremonial to give expression to something that is already a fact.”

“My hope was” he said, “that we would present the Irish people with a Republic in fact for the whole of the Thirty-two Counties.  Proclaiming the Republic as the name of the State would be a small matter once the fact that it had been established was accepted.”

The State could not be described as a Republic if it were not so already, but now it had been formally described as a Republic.  Because it has happened in another way, they were in the fortunate position that the Republic was accepted and recognised by all parties.

“Thank God for that,” he said.  “That may of may not make the ultimate task easier, but my hope had been that I could have the fact of the Republic first and then have its name. We might not have officially described the State as had been done by Act of Parliament.  Of course, there was nothing to prevent people describing the State as a Republic.” He had described it as such, but he did not take the action of having an Act of Parliament enacted to call it so.

Unforeseen Event

Continuing, Mr. de Valera said: “It would have been a more glorious thing if we could present the Republic to the people and then unreservedly we could participate in the rejoicing. I don’t think anybody could have foreseen a year or so ago what has just happened. But the way it has happened, it has put, I hope, all sections behind the Republic. We have been very fortunate.  Thirty-three years is a long time in the life of a man; it is not much in the lifetime of a nation.  We have been very fortunate and God has been very kind to us.

“To carry on to the end of the struggle there must be the same devotion shown in the future as has been shown in the past.  We want the devotion that was shown by the men of Kildare who went out in 1916.  I hope that particular kind of action will not be necessary, but the same fundamental devotion will be necessary to complete the task. Even if we had a Republic here and had world recognition for a Republic of the whole Thirty-two Counties we could not be satisfied that the aims of Pearse and his comrades had been achieved.

“These men wanted not merely an Ireland free, but they wanted an Ireland Gaelic as well.  The work of this generation will not be accomplished until we have laid the foundations so that in the next generation or two we shall once more be an Irish-speaking nation. We shall be in a miserable condition if we fail the nation in regard to the language.  I have no doubt that this nation will be united as a single State and as a Republic but I have anxious doubts whether the people realise fully the implications of the task in regard to the restoration of the language.”

Reports of various toasts will appear in our next issue.  Mr. W. A. Tynan, Monasterevan, presided, and there were close on 300 guests, including Senator Mrs. Margaret Pearse, Dr. James Ryan, T.D., Mr. T. Harris, T.D., and Mr. M. J. Nolan, Athy.


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