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Proclamation of the Irish Republic

Proclamation of the Irish Republic

24 April 1916

The Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) decided soon after the start of World War I that a rising should occur in Ireland to overthrow British rule before the war was over. For this enterprise the IRB sought German assistance and infiltrated the leadership of the Irish Volunteers, a military but poorly armed body whose leaders rejected the notion of fighting for Britain and wanted Home Rule or independence. The IRB Military Council eventually set Easter Sunday 1916 as the day for the rising to begin. It began a day late amid confusion over conflicting orders and without German arms. Its greatest achievement was the proclamation of an Irish republic that Patrick Pearse read in front of the General Post Office on Easter Monday.

SEE ALSO Connolly, James; Pearse, Patrick; Politics: 1800 to 1921—Challenges to the Union; Sinn Féin Movement and Party to 1922; Struggle for Independence from 1916 to 1921

POBLACHT NA H-ÉIREANN: THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE IRISH REPUBLIC TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND

Irishmen and Irishwomen: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.

Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty: six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a sovereign independent state, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.

The Irish Republic is entitled to and hereby claims the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally and oblivious of the differences, carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.

Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent national government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government hereby constituted will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.

We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.

Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government: Thomas J. Clarke, Seán Mac Diarmada, Thomas MacDonagh, P. H. Pearse, Eamonn Ceannt, James Connolly, Joseph Plunkett

Reprinted in Irish Historical Documents, 1172–1922, edited by Edmund Curtis and R. B. McDowell (1943), pp. 317–318.

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