Easter Week 1916 was marked by a newspaper information shortage. The intensity of city fighting prevented Dublin’s Irish Independent and Freeman’s Journal from going to press. The Irish Times managed to issue a daily paper between Tuesday and Thursday. The Saturday provincial weeklies carried only outline information, from government wires.
Full newspaper reports emerged in the week after the Rising. The Irish Times, which went into circulation again from 1st May, argued repeatedly for ‘severe’ punishment of the leaders. Editorials in the Irish Independent and Freeman’s Journal on 4th May called for punishment of the organisers, but clemency for the rank and file. Subsequent leaders attributed the Rising to unionist militancy and British government indecision.
The provincial press issued again on 6th May with detailed accounts of the Rising and news of the first executions. Commentary in these newspapers denounced the Rising’s leaders as unrepresentative of Nationalist opinion but also consistently advocated amnesty for the ‘brave’ but ‘misguided’ ordinary rebels. International precedents in South Africa encouraged expectations of British leniency.