Lyrics: Jerry O’Reilly
Air: Skibereen

The title of my song is ‘Aspirations’.  On reading the proclamation that Pádraic Pearse read out outside the GPO on the 24th April 1916, it struck me that lots of the principles and aspirations contained in it have not been achieved.  It disappoints me that educationally the children of the nation are not being treated equally, with baptism being one of the criteria needed for admission to primary school.  It angers me that people are being evicted from their homes by speculative venture funds and that homelessness is still one of the big issues in our society, with families forced to stay in B&B accommodation, this, almost a century after we achieved our freedom.  It saddens me to see so many of our best and brightest young people being forced to emigrate and that the ‘wheelers and dealers’ are still the ones that have the final say in the running of our country.  There are still big social divisions in Ireland today.  I suppose my song is just a rant, but maybe it’ll jog us out of our complacency and provoke some thought in how we might improve things.  I wrote this song over the last three months and it pleased me when the reservations I express in it were reflected by our President, Michael D. Higgins in one of his speeches over the Easter weekend.

On the 24th of April, a hundred years ago
A proclamation was read out, at Dublin’s GPO
The aspirations it contained are unfulfilled as yet
Despite all of our efforts, and it’s a thing we must regret

Religious and civil liberty, was guaranteed to all
To live their lives as they see fit, no matter what their call
But when children come to go to school, the difficulties loom
Unless they’ve been baptised in the church, they’ll find there is no room

Equal rights and opportunities, to citizens it promised
But here again it seems to me, the chance it has been missed
Developers and gombeen men, have still not yet been shunned
And tenants are evicted by greedy vulture funds

Homelessness is rampant, in this land of ours today
As vacant properties lie unused, and fall in to decay
In B&Bs whole families, crammed in a single room
And as John Corrie dies in a doorway, there’s another property boom

The children of the nation, were to be cherished equally
But emigration’s still the game, it seems we have to play
We export the flower of our youth, to lands across the foam
There’s no job or opportunity, for them to thrive at home

The differences once fostered, by an alien government
Between minority and majority, were the cause of discontent
Our native government it has failed, to rectify this rift
And disenchantment is the word, that’s found on peoples lips

So now on the centenary, of this historic time
Let us aspire to be like those, who left us in their prime
Happiness and prosperity, should be our rallying call
Then Ireland as a nation, will be a place for all
Video Documentation of Concert
Recorded and Produced by Michael Fortune.

Jerry O’Reilly


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