HD Video with sound, 18 mins 30 sec
We need to go back and recover the promise of a real republic that would be built on citizenship and that would reject as outrageous in a republic the kind of radical individualism epitomised in that ugly statement of Michael McDowell’s that inequality is needed for the stability of society
– Michael D Higgins’, final Dáil speech, delivered on 25 January 2011, before his inauguration as President of Ireland
Ireland’s 1916 Proclamation was written by a group of ideologically conflicted leaders of the Easter Rising, the most critical event in the shaping of Ireland’s modern history. From this source sprang a War of Independence that culminated in the setting up of a twenty-six-county Free State and a six-county Northern Ireland within the Union. The political sovereignty hard-won over these years was enshrined in the declaration of a Republic in 1949. But that sovereignty was seen to be compromised following the economic crisis of 2008 when a troika of managers from the EU and IMF arrived in the Republic to oversee a financial bailout for the country. The centenary of the Rising occurs only three years after the troika’s departure in 2013, raising many difficult questions about how the country measures up to the dreams and aspirations in the 1916 Proclamation of Independence. The Proclamation was controversially a call to arms, with the promise of an egalitarian Republic that was never fully realised. A century later Ireland is the most globalised economy in the world. Manifesto raises important questions for so many people living in Ireland today forced to live in ‘a permanent state of crisis’ while multinational corporations maintain huge profits. Four writers – Pearse, Connolly, Plunkett and McDonagh – were central to the Rising. This ensured that art and culture were at the heart of the vision projected for an independent Ireland. Manifesto invokes historical and contemporary literature to reflect that fact that the Easter Rising was also an important cultural revolution and marked the emergence of Modernism.
In a series of co written scripts, a collaboration with Donal Nerney a homeless man, Lauretta Igbonosu who has managed to navigate herself and her family through the horror of Direct Provision and Laurence Mckeown a former republican hunger striker. The video is shot in historical and contemporary sites of struggle for political and cultural emancipation. Manifesto resonates with historian, Paul Ricoeur’s account of ethical memory and archives. Memory that is ‘not so much locked into the past, but is concerned with opening the past as a mechanism to release the future’ (Ricoeur: 2004).