This coming Easter will see the 97th annual Easter Rising commemorations taking place across Ireland, North and South. Undoubtedly, these events represent great controversy in Northern Ireland as they have become a symbol of militant republicanism, resented by many unionists. In a country were unity is becoming emphasised and a common identity stressed, are these celebrations an obstacle to peace and a shared future, in the same way that the Twelfth celebrations often are? I respect those who wish to celebrate these two events and why they would wish to do so, but are they compatible with what power-sharing and attempts at healing division? To my mind anything that does emphasise the divided nature of society in Northern Ireland is not favourable and puts a shared future in danger. Many will say that these celebrations aren't divisive or sectarian (which makes sense since their are no mentions of religion) but these celebrations clearly emphasise the distinction of republicanism and unionism and the division between communities, in the same way that the marching season does. So my question is are these celebrations really compatible with a Northern Ireland which is united rather than divided? Or does it not really matter and both celebrations should be respected and be allowed to go ahead?
I am not condemning the celebrations or the Easter Rising itself but from the situation which exists in Northern Ireland I can't see these celebrations as contributing significantly to peace and unity between communities.