While welcoming the decision to defer the planned commemoration for the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Metropolitan Police the Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called on the government to abandon any possibility of a commemoration.
Writing in his weekly Andersonstown News column this week, which will be published tomorrow, Mr. Adams accused the government of a “lack of respect for the courage and sacrifice of those who fought for Irish freedom” and described the government’s u-turn as “a great victory for people power. The widespread popular outrage at their stupidity and shoneenism is uplifting and proof yet again that the spirit of genuine patriotism and national pride is alive and well”.
The Louth TD said:
“No one should be surprised by the government’s attempt to hold this commemoration. It is symptomatic of an Irish establishment which is embarrassed by the revolutionary period in Irish history. Remember the disgraceful video used by the Government the launch the centenary of 1916 events. The 1916 leaders were not even mentioned.
“Last September the Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan attended a commemoration for RIC members who he said were murdered by the IRA during the Tan War. Minister Flanagan described the RIC as “doing their job. They were murdered in the line of duty. They were doing what police officers do. As they saw it they were protecting communities from harm. They were maintaining the rule of law. These are fundamental to police services everywhere.”
“The experience of families and communities across this island was very different. The RIC and DMP were not protecting communities from harm. They were inflicting harm. The rule of law these two paramilitary forces were maintaining was designed to defend British interests in Ireland.
“The RIC was intimately involved in the mass expulsion of millions during and after the Great Hunger. When families were being forcibly evicted from their homes during the Great Hunger. When the Dublin Lock-out took place in 1913 it was the Dublin Metropolitan Police that attacked striking workers.
“After the Easter Rising in 1916 the RIC and DMP enforced martial law and internment when it was introduced in May 1918.
“While there may have been some among them who wished to be police officers neither organisation was a police service. No doubt there were decent officers in their ranks and their families have the right pay tribute to them. But for the state to commemorate these organisations is wrong.
“The Taoiseach and Minister Flanagan’s disrespectful revisionism of the Irish people’s history of struggle for freedom does a grave disservice to those who were part of that struggle.
“Many of the events the government wants to commemorate this year, including Bloody Sunday at Croke Park, involved the RIC. It was an RIC squad which murdered Cork Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain. And it should not be forgotten that it was G Division of the RIC which was responsible for identifying the leaders of the 1916 who were to be court-martialled and executed. Are we now expected to be neutral about this? Or like Minister Flanagan to assert that, “They were doing what police officers do”.
“The Government must go beyond deferral and scrap any plan now or in the future to commemorate the role of the RIC and the DMP. The shallowness and opportunism of their position on these events has been exposed. So has the posturing of the Fianna Fáil Leader.
“The Government’s lack of respect for the courage and sacrifice of those who fought for Irish freedom has also been highlighted. Their U turn is a great victory for people power. The widespread popular outrage at their stupidity and shoneenism is uplifting and proof yet again that the spirit of genuine patriotism and national pride is alive and well.”
Note to Editor:
Gerry Adams full column will be published in the morning in the Andersonstown News and in his leargas blog: www.leargas.blogspot.com