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Commemorations redux January 15, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Only got to this late on Sunday, so therefore didn’t link to it in comments on Sunday Statement, but EH was in typical form on the Sunday Independent site about the RIC/DMP controversy. Replete with oddities, not least the idea SF were taking the lead on the issue. No disrespect to that party but it seemed to me it was not at the forefront of criticism, which makes the following strange reading:

Last week, Sinn Fein probed the two main parties for signs of moral fibre and found moral mush, first in Fianna Fail, then in Fine Gael.

Critics sought to cover their moral cowardice by complaining about ‘mishandling’ and lack of ‘consultation’.

But then there was so much curious about it, not least this:

The site is in close proximity to the Garda Memorial Garden where there’s already a DMP plaque – do the critics not know that the legendary Colonel Ned Broy was also a DMP detective?

There’s something almost childlike about thinking that that latter point justifies ‘commemorating’ the DMP – because Broy was working to destroy the DMP from the inside. I can’t speak for him, who can at this remove, but one imagines that he would understand the distinction between commemorating an institution and those who are members of an institution. Something Harris just doesn’t appear to grasp.

Further curiosities:

Most RIC men were from humble homes and the Catholic cottier class. Most joined because – unlike some of their current well-got critics – they desperately needed money to feed their families. Many were married and in middle age, the softest of targets.

Dan Breen, who was clearly a psychopath, fell on these sheep like wolves – and better men followed his brutal bad example.The casualty figures show clearly the IRA campaign was aimed at these hapless RIC Irish victims rather than the natural-born killers of the Black and Tans.

The IRA killed only 191 Black and Tans but they killed 322 RIC men.

On a human level it is impossible not to feel for those men who died, but there were 10,000 Black and Tans, and 17,000 RIC, or there or thereabouts. The difference in figures explains themselves. And of course the RIC was – and Harris ignores this entirely in his ‘sheep’ point, armed.

Harris himself strikes an equivocal note in the following:

The Lord Mayor of Cork is the only one with a credible case because of the cruel murder of Tomas Mac Curtain.

But he still might have done better to read and reflect on the city’s two great writers before he made his decision.

But hold on – the RIC weren’t sheep. As an organisation it would have to take responsibility for acts done in its name. Distinctions between Cork and other parts of the country, problematic at best, are rendered irrelevant.

Anyhow, on it goes:

The same ideology [Irish nationalism] is currently sanitising the Provo IRA murder campaign. Judging by social media, the rising generation is the most rabidly tribal I can recall.

This sick regression, which is degrading Irish democracy, is the result of three factors: the steady greening of academe purged of sceptical revisionists, a sectarian campaign on social media by SF trolls, and three years of bashing Brits and unionists over Brexit.

For the first time in my life, I fear for the future of our Republic as it retreats into the nationalism that brought misery to the Balkans. But all is not lost.

The Irish state stepping back from commemorating the RIC and DMP is so far from tilting towards internecine conflict of the sort that wracked the Balkans that even to raise it in the same breath is to indulge in frankly offensive hyperbole.


1. CL - January 15, 2020

“Replete with oddities, not least the idea SF were taking the lead on the issue. No disrespect to that party but it seemed to me it was not at the forefront of criticism”,
SF was a little slow off the mark but in this digital age time is compressed, and a few hours seem to make a difference. Or maybe SF was wondering if criticism of the commemoration might eliminate any prospect of coalition with FG.

Speaking of ‘sceptical revisionists’, they haven’t gone away you know.

“Brian Hanley complains that the recent debate on the RIC has been “infuriatingly partitionist”. While he has a point, he does his case no favours by identifying the RIC with the Ulster Special Constabulary and eliding the previous history of the RIC in Belfast.
One of the main reasons why Carson and Craig pressed the British government for the recruiting of a special constabulary was a long-standing unionist suspicion of the RIC dating back to its replacement of the Belfast municipal police force, whose Orange sympathies made it unsuitable for dealing with the large outbreaks of sectarian violence which had scarred the life of the city in the second half of the 19th century….
Charlie Flanagan was right to propose a commemoration of this force’s complex history.”
-Henry Patterson, Letter to IT, Jan 15. ‘Conflict and Remembrance’


WorldbyStorm - January 15, 2020

Yeah wasn’t impressed by HPs critique – very partial reading and his last point was utterly unsupported by what he wrote before it in the letter


Fergal - January 15, 2020

“Rabidly tribal”… this is EH talking about … himself?

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