Sinn Féin MEP calls on government to cancel RIC commemoration
The government plan to ‘commemorate’ the RIC on January 17 is ‘an insult to those who fought for Irish freedom’ and should be cancelled according to MEP Matt Carthy.
The event, which is due to be held at Dublin Castle, is planned as part of the government’s programme marking a decade of centenaries.
The Midlands North West MEP said the All Party Consultation Group on Commemorations were not consulted on this event and would likely have ‘dismissed it out of hand’ if they had been because ‘it is an insult to those who fought for Irish freedom’.
Matt Carthy said: “Since the plans for this event were first revealed last week public opposition has intensified and several elected representatives, from various shades of political opinion, have publicly stated they will not attend the event.
“The role of the RIC and the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) was not merely, as indicated by senior Fine Gael representatives, to act as normal police services. Instead, they had a specific role of upholding British rule in Ireland, which often manifested itself through instilling terror in the populace particularly in their attempts to break the democratic will of the Irish people for independence.
“In no other State that has emerged from anti-colonial struggle would they celebrate the deeds of the oppressors.
“This is Fine Gael revisionism in action – this has been evident at several points during these commemorative years. The commemorations have often been partitionist and more concerned with commemorating those who tried to suppress the Irish Freedom struggle than those who fought for their own country. They have been almost apologetic of the Easter Rising and the subsequent armed struggle despite the fact that these events were responses to British aggression in Ireland.
“Fine Gael, by being more interested in commemorating the enforcers of British rule in Ireland than ordinary citizens who bore the brunt of British forces, have drastically misjudged the public mood.
“Yes, all those who died in conflict should be remembered and we should acknowledge all who were killed during the pivotal period from 1914.
“But there should be no tolerance for any attempt to equate those who died for Irish freedom with the ones who were paid to oppress it. The RIC commemoration must be cancelled” he concluded.