An Unmarked Anniversary | In the Dark

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I didn’t have time to mention yesterday, 18th April 2024, that it was the 75th anniversary of the day that that the Republic of Ireland came into existence. The  Republic of Ireland Act, which provided the legal basis for the establishment of a new Republic, was passed in 1948 but only came into force on 18th April 1949. From that point the Republic no longer had the British monarch as Head of State and was no longer part of the Commonwealth.

That day was marked with parades and celebrations but “Republic Day” never became the public holiday that might have been expected given how many other countries mark such events in their history and indeed is hardly marked at all, not even on its 75th anniversary. I have quite a few Irish friends who were unaware of the significance of yesterday’s date.

The reason is probably explained by the statement made by Éamon De Valera when he declined an invitation extended to him by Taoiseach John A. Costello to attend the official ceremonies on 18th April 1949:

Celebrations such as those now proposed ought to be reserved until the national task which we have set ourselves is accomplished…We still believe that public demonstrations and rejoicings are out of place and are likely to be misunderstood so long as that task remains uncompleted and our country partitioned.

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