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  • whimpersnap
    replied
    Originally posted by Jackie Brown View Post
    Technically it was a commemoration of the RIC not a celebration of the Black and Tans. Sad how it's been twisted.

    My family had members killed and burnt out of their home in Cavan because my Great Grandfather went to France. The vermin who did this were seen as freedom fighters and held on a pedestal by the Irish state.

    I assume it's RIC bad, IRA good. Both were Irish men but it's the victors who write the history books. Maybe Ireland as a nation isn't as mature as it portrays.
    I wouldn't share your view on what it was technically. I suppose that could be taken as the strict definition of the word but Fine Gael didn't frame it that. I'm sure you know better than most of us that everything is political and FG deciding to proceed with this was a clear political move against republicans, in my opinion. I don't for a second think Leo Varadkar or Charlie Flanagan give a single **** about any RIC man or his memory, but they do give an awful lot of ****s about sticking two fingers up to Sinn Fein every chance they can get and they're not concerned about whose memory they sully in the process.

    Leave a comment:


  • ustix
    replied
    Impressive opinion piece from Brian Hanley in the Irish Times on the whole affair.

    Leave a comment:


  • mr chips
    replied
    Honestly though, why would the Republic of Ireland commemorate an organisation which was never connected to it? One which has already been commemorated by the crown?

    To place the rest of my answer in context, I will mention that I led one of the first ever "Community Safety Partnership" projects which were set up following the establishment of the PSNI, back in 2002 or thereabouts. This involved no small leap of faith on my part, for which there was a certain price to pay, but it was one I was willing to make because I believed it was the right thing to do as part of the broader effort to build a better society in NI.

    I also happen to have long-standing friendships with a couple of former RUC officers, both of whom still suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder many years after retiring from the force. I'm unlikely to forget listening to one of them describe watching a blown-up Land Rover being taken away from the scene of the explosion once what was left of the bodies had been removed, and seeing the blood of his dead colleagues cascade out from under the back doors like a scene from a horror movie.

    Nevertheless, I am also completely cognisant of the fact that the RUC as an organisation was a paramilitary force of a sectarian state, which was centrally involved in the often violent oppression of one section of the community it was supposed to serve. It was persistently culpable in abetting criminal individuals and organisations in the murder of other citizens, not only "combatant" members of republican organisations but also others who were simply uninvolved but easy to kill, such as at Loughinisland. It was blatant and shameless in its suppression and destruction of evidence which could have led to prosecutions against its own corrupt and criminal members, such as the fire set in the incident room of the Stevens inquiry.

    I am capable of differentiating between the likes of the former officers I count as friends, who would have been ordinary decent bobbies no matter where they had done their policing, and the rotten, murderous elements of the organisation for which they worked. I know that the RUC included many individuals who were decent men and women who put themselves in harm's way and whose key motivation was to make the place where they lived as safe as they could. And I know that the RUC also included a significant proportion of corrupt, criminal, murderous bigots who were protected from the top and were extremely well rewarded having left the organisation with their reputations undeservedly intact. In the face of the darker elements of its history, I think it has already had its share of fanfare and ceremony. I don't see the basis for a 32 county Republic of Ireland to honour an organisation with an even more egregious record than the RIC. I think that to do so would be massively counterproductive and foment rather than diminish feelings of mistrust and resentment.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jackie Brown
    replied
    Originally posted by mr chips View Post
    You asked whether the RUC would be "besmirched and airbrushed from history".
    I wasn't referring to by the UK, I meant in the context of a United Ireland.

    Leave a comment:


  • mr chips
    replied
    You asked whether the RUC would be "besmirched and airbrushed from history".

    Leave a comment:


  • Jackie Brown
    replied
    Originally posted by mr chips View Post

    *NB - in case anyone wasn't aware, the RUC was as a collective awarded the George Cross at the time of its transition to the PSNI.
    Excellent post Chips, but what's your point with this comment?

    Leave a comment:


  • desert man
    replied
    Originally posted by mr chips View Post

    Just wanted to add to my earlier reply, as I was a bit short of time when I posted -

    Among my forebears were many who fought in the War of Independence and then in the Civil War, including one of my grandfathers. My other grandfather served in the Home Guard, and several from his parent's generation fought and died in the trenches during WW1, while his brother (for whom my father is named) was shot down and killed in WW2. I mention this to hopefully show I have no axe to grind with regard to anyone's identity or heritage.

    What happened to your family held echoes for me, albeit from a different perspective. I was born in Belfast and probably would have grown up there, but our family moved south when I was still small. A large part of the reason for this is that we'd been living in a mixed part of north Belfast at the time, but my parents were warned twice to "get out before being burned out". The vermin who did that were seen as defenders of the union and were equally acclaimed for their actions. Moreover, those actions were constantly and zealously encouraged by the man who went on to co-found Ulster Resistance before eventually becoming the First Minister of the NI Assembly. His bitterness and contempt inform his political heirs to this day.

    Nevertheless, we can't use our own victimhood as a springboard to castigate others. I'd say most of us, especially those who live in NI or have connections here, have either been touched by the events of the past and/or the recent conflict, or else know someone who was directly affected. I can only imagine how terrifying it would have been for my parents, who were not from Belfast themselves and had no family support networks around them, to be faced with that sort of threat. But my upbringing was not coloured by handed-down resentment or bitterness about it, which I never appreciated until later in life.

    In my view, it's uneven at best to characterise Ireland as being immature when Stormont has just spent three years in stasis because of corruption and intransigence and when Westminster has spent even longer than that gouging its own eyes out. It looks like the impasse in NI may finally have been overcome, but this absolutely will not last if we keep using casually dismissive, even scornful language about one another.

    On this somewhat confected controversy, I'll echo what Jenta said - even if for some reason one chose to set aside the later creation and brutality of the Black & Tans/Auxiliaries (and what would be the grounds for doing so?), the truth is that ultimately the RIC/DMP was, unlike police forces in Britain at the time, a paramilitary force much more akin to what the RUC* and the B Specials became in NI than the model followed by the Garda Síochána. It was a tool of empire which was responsible for the first Bloody Sunday massacre - the murder of innocent civilians as an enraged act of revenge on behalf of the crown, a key foundational moment in the history of the republic. It was daft for this commemoration to be planned the way it was because it was inevitable that there would be a backlash against it.

    *NB - in case anyone wasn't aware, the RUC was as a collective awarded the George Cross at the time of its transition to the PSNI.
    Chips for First Minister

    Jokes aside, excellent post.

    Leave a comment:


  • mr chips
    replied
    Originally posted by Jackie Brown View Post
    Technically it was a commemoration of the RIC not a celebration of the Black and Tans. Sad how it's been twisted.

    My family had members killed and burnt out of their home in Cavan because my Great Grandfather went to France. The vermin who did this were seen as freedom fighters and held on a pedestal by the Irish state.

    I assume it's RIC bad, IRA good. Both were Irish men but it's the victors who write the history books. Maybe Ireland as a nation isn't as mature as it portrays.
    Just wanted to add to my earlier reply, as I was a bit short of time when I posted -

    Among my forebears were many who fought in the War of Independence and then in the Civil War, including one of my grandfathers. My other grandfather served in the Home Guard, and several from his parent's generation fought and died in the trenches during WW1, while his brother (for whom my father is named) was shot down and killed in WW2. I mention this to hopefully show I have no axe to grind with regard to anyone's identity or heritage.

    What happened to your family held echoes for me, albeit from a different perspective. I was born in Belfast and probably would have grown up there, but our family moved south when I was still small. A large part of the reason for this is that we'd been living in a mixed part of north Belfast at the time, but my parents were warned twice to "get out before being burned out". The vermin who did that were seen as defenders of the union and were equally acclaimed for their actions. Moreover, those actions were constantly and zealously encouraged by the man who went on to co-found Ulster Resistance before eventually becoming the First Minister of the NI Assembly. His bitterness and contempt inform his political heirs to this day.

    Nevertheless, we can't use our own victimhood as a springboard to castigate others. I'd say most of us, especially those who live in NI or have connections here, have either been touched by the events of the past and/or the recent conflict, or else know someone who was directly affected. I can only imagine how terrifying it would have been for my parents, who were not from Belfast themselves and had no family support networks around them, to be faced with that sort of threat. But my upbringing was not coloured by handed-down resentment or bitterness about it, which I never appreciated until later in life.

    In my view, it's uneven at best to characterise Ireland as being immature when Stormont has just spent three years in stasis because of corruption and intransigence and when Westminster has spent even longer than that gouging its own eyes out. It looks like the impasse in NI may finally have been overcome, but this absolutely will not last if we keep using casually dismissive, even scornful language about one another.

    On this somewhat confected controversy, I'll echo what Jenta said - even if for some reason one chose to set aside the later creation and brutality of the Black & Tans/Auxiliaries (and what would be the grounds for doing so?), the truth is that ultimately the RIC/DMP was, unlike police forces in Britain at the time, a paramilitary force much more akin to what the RUC* and the B Specials became in NI than the model followed by the Garda Síochána. It was a tool of empire which was responsible for the first Bloody Sunday massacre - the murder of innocent civilians as an enraged act of revenge on behalf of the crown, a key foundational moment in the history of the republic. It was daft for this commemoration to be planned the way it was because it was inevitable that there would be a backlash against it.

    *NB - in case anyone wasn't aware, the RUC was as a collective awarded the George Cross at the time of its transition to the PSNI.

    Leave a comment:


  • ustix
    replied
    I was struck by Munsterfans mostly steering clear of this matter this week. Good to read some measured and considerate comment here.

    I don't know much about D.M. Leeson but I do recommend THE BLACK & TANS British Police and Auxiliaries in the Irish War of Independence, OXFORD, 2012
    Last edited by ustix; 10th-January-2020, 20:00.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jackie Brown
    replied
    Originally posted by McCloud View Post

    Fixed that for you. To be honest the Irish state can not afford the cost of supporting Northern Ireland so I'd imagine such a result is not a fore gone conclusion.
    It will happen. I understand the finance issue but it would be a gradual transition and the EU love a project. Give it 20yrs. Northern Ireland is not a natural creation, the inevitable will happen.

    Leave a comment:


  • blackwarrior
    replied
    Originally posted by Jackie Brown View Post

    Fair enough, that was a bit emotional. It is something I feel strongly about, I've visited Killashandra and the site of the family farm, it was a terrible time but it was Irishmen on both sides. The people who instantly refer to the Black and Tans are just attempting to muddy the waters. The RIC was an Irish police force, of Irishmen. The freedom fighting victors seen as heroes and martyrs for the poetic cause. The losers besmirched and airbrushed from history even 100yrs later.

    Will the same happen to the RUC when Irish reunification happens?

    Jackie I don't know the answer to your question but I hope not. I was angered by the extent to which this became a black and white issue this week and how it became about Black and Tans so fast. Even today I heard ridiculous radio panellists talking about "the mood of the nation" not being listened to, and how the "vast majority" of the people were against it.

    The RIC had been around for 80 years when James O'Brien, an Limerick-born unarmed constable was shot dead outside Dublin Castle. He was the first victim of the 1916 Rising, a violent rebellion which ultimately led to Irish independence. In my opinion, O'Brien and others should be remembered.

    Remembering / commemoration / Black and Tans all became conflated this week. We're the poorer for what has happened.

    Leave a comment:


  • McCloud
    replied
    Originally posted by Jackie Brown View Post

    Fair enough, that was a bit emotional. It is something I feel strongly about, I've visited Killashandra and the site of the family farm, it was a terrible time but it was Irishmen on both sides. The people who instantly refer to the Black and Tans are just attempting to muddy the waters. The RIC was an Irish police force, of Irishmen. The freedom fighting victors seen as heroes and martyrs for the poetic cause. The losers besmirched and airbrushed from history even 100yrs later.

    Will the same happen to the RUC IF Irish reunification happens?

    Fixed that for you. To be honest the Irish state can not afford the cost of supporting Northern Ireland so I'd imagine such a result is not a fore gone conclusion.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jackie Brown
    replied
    Originally posted by mr chips View Post

    Maybe don't assume that.
    Fair enough, that was a bit emotional. It is something I feel strongly about, I've visited Killashandra and the site of the family farm, it was a terrible time but it was Irishmen on both sides. The people who instantly refer to the Black and Tans are just attempting to muddy the waters. The RIC was an Irish police force, of Irishmen. The freedom fighting victors seen as heroes and martyrs for the poetic cause. The losers besmirched and airbrushed from history even 100yrs later.

    Will the same happen to the RUC when Irish reunification happens?

    Leave a comment:


  • mr chips
    replied
    Originally posted by Jackie Brown View Post
    Technically it was a commemoration of the RIC not a celebration of the Black and Tans. Sad how it's been twisted.

    My family had members killed and burnt out of their home in Cavan because my Great Grandfather went to France. The vermin who did this were seen as freedom fighters and held on a pedestal by the Irish state.

    I assume it's RIC bad, IRA good. Both were Irish men but it's the victors who write the history books. Maybe Ireland as a nation isn't as mature as it portrays.
    Maybe don't assume that.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jenta
    replied
    Originally posted by Jackie Brown View Post
    Technically it was a commemoration of the RIC not a celebration of the Black and Tans. Sad how it's been twisted.

    My family had members killed and burnt out of their home in Cavan because my Great Grandfather went to France. The vermin who did this were seen as freedom fighters and held on a pedestal by the Irish state.

    I assume it's RIC bad, IRA good. Both were Irish men but it's the victors who write the history books. Maybe Ireland as a nation isn't as mature as it portrays.
    I think we're still a relatively young nation grappling with the sins of the past. Irishmen who served in WWI are considered in a far different light now than they were even 20 years ago. It's an extremely complicated area and the last week has made me realise that we're still an awful long way from a united Ireland.

    But that being said, the idea of holding an official state commemoration for the RIC was obviously ridiculous from the outset. The conversation was twisted towards "but de black an tans!!1!" but the actions of the RIC/DMP on Bloody Sunday were enough to ensure this idea should never have been considered. There's growing up as a nation and then there's just going beyond sense to try and prove a mad point. I can't see an official state commemoration for the IRA lives lost in the North after partition being considered by the UK. I say all this as someone who's great grandfather was an RIC member too.

    Leave a comment:

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