Sinn Féin spokesperson on Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has dismissed Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan’s statement that commemoration of the RIC is not a commemoration of the Black and Tans or the Auxiliaries.
He has said: ‘What the Minister for Justice, the Taoiseach and the government have conveniently chosen to ignore is that the Black and Tans – or the Royal Irish Constabulary Special Reserve – and the Auxiliaries were an integral part of the RIC’.
Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:
“The Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has issued a lengthy statement in which he has attempted to assert that those who served in the RIC were police officers whose job it was to uphold the rule of law.
“What he, the Taoiseach and the government have conveniently chosen to ignore is that the Black and Tans – or the Royal Irish Constabulary Special Reserve – and the Auxiliaries were an integral part of the RIC and were actively involved in the British effort to suppress and defeat the Irish freedom struggle.
“It was RIC officers that carried out the summary execution of the Lord Mayor of Cork Tomás Mac Curtain, and it was the Black and Tans and Auxiliaries that burned towns and villages and terrorised ordinary people the length and breadth of the country.
“Their role was not to act as a police force but to instill terror in the population to break the will of the Irish people for freedom and independence.
“Yet the government believes that these were the upholders of law and order and that we should afford them a State commemoration?
“Such folly is historic revisionism at its finest and it has rightly drawn massive criticism.
“This commemoration must be cancelled, and I am calling on the government to do that without delay.”