Ciarán Quinn

Facing down inequality and building a better Ireland

Westfield University was established by Horace Mann, a leader who recognised the liberating power of education. A humanitarian, he believed that this power should be shared by all regardless of status, creed, or gender. He remains an icon of education, equality, and social progress. More than 70 schools across the United States are named after him, his impact on modern education is so widespread.

O’Reilly was a committed Irish Republican, he was arrested and sentenced to penal servitude in Australia for his part in a failed rising against the British in Ireland.

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All Politics Is Local

It is election season. Doors are being knocked. Posters hang in full bloom from lampposts. On June 7th, voters across the south will go out to elect new County Councilors and Members of the European Parliament.

I have been on the doors with the excellent local Sinn Féin candidate. I live in a commuter village outside of Dublin. They say that all politics is local. It is in these villages and small towns that decisions made in the Dáil, European Parliament, and County Councils play out.

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Getting Away with Murder

At the stroke of midnight on Tuesday, April 30th, the British Government’s “Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act” came into full effect. Behind this innocuous title is the coverup of multiple killings.

The Act immediately closed down 38 inquests linked to 76 deaths. Families will be left without basic findings of the cause of death of their loved ones. It also closes investigations into hundreds of unresolved killings carried out over 30 years of conflict. It ends the rights of the injured and bereaved to have access to the courts. Behind these cases are families who have fought for up to 50 years for justice and truth.

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Preserving Our Past, Rising to Our Future

Moore Street is more than just a street. It was the last meeting place of the Provisional Government.

At the end of Easter Week 1916 with the GPO ablaze, the order was given to evacuate the building. The rebels and their leaders, under intense gunfire, made their way to the terrace of houses on Moore Street. The injured James Connolly was carried along the laneways on a stretcher.

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An Ireland for All

Eyebrows were raised this week when the “Taoiseach for All” declared that, “Probably people of my generation are familiar now with London, and Berlin, and Paris than they might be with Belfast or Derry”.

This betrays the new Taoiseach’s worldview more than the reality. Travel and tourism from the South to the North far outstrips travel to London, Paris, and Berlin combined. Every weekend Belfast and Derry are full of Southern-registered cars. Many swear that Belfast has the best bars, restaurants, and clubs than overpriced Dublin. Derry borders Donegal and in both counties, people work and live interchangeably at opposite ends of a short road.

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Thank you and happy Easter

On Easter Monday 1916 Padraig Pearse read the proclamation declaring the Irish Republic and recognizing that it was, “supported by her exiled children in America”. The British would later execute Pearse and the other leaders, but the proclamation lived on and remains the foundation document of Irish Republicanism.  

There would have been no Easter Rising or Good Friday Agreement without the US and Canada. But the journey is not over. We have further to travel to realize the vision of the leaders of 1916.

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A Week is a Long Time in Politics

Legally, there has to be an election at some point within the next ten months. A general election should be called now and a government and Taoiseach returned with a mandate. The next Taoiseach should be elected by the people. That is the democratic thing to do. Unless you are afraid of the voters.

There is a sense that this Government has run out of steam, ideas, and ambition. Change is in the air. I hope that it lands with the first Sinn Féin government in the history of the state.

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What’s possible when peace with justice becomes the priority

The political standout was the wide diversity of speakers brought together with the shared hope of creating a better Ireland, excited by the opportunity to build a new and united Ireland.  

I believe that positivity is contagious. Speaker after speaker acknowledged the challenges but all also agreed that these are outweighed by the opportunities. There was a sense in the room that change was coming, and those present were determined to have their say.

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