RIC Commemoration betrays the depths of Fine Gael’s identity crisis – Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described the proposed State commemoration for members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) who were killed during the War of Independence as a significant act of cultural and historical insensitivity. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Mayors of Clare, Galway City and the Lord Mayor of Cork City all indicated that they will boycott the upcoming commemoration events:

“The decision to commemorate the RIC in this way is almost incomprehensible for those of us with strong and vibrant links to the authentically Republican traditions of this state.

In fact, it was entirely inappropriate for the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, to accuse those of us who will oppose these events as people who want to take “a step backwards to a more narrow-minded past.”

This is the kind of typical, patronising commentary we have become accustomed too from a Fine Gael elite who are out of touch with the enduring and painful legacy of the War of Independence.

If anything, the determination of government to press ahead with events that will eulogise and elevate the actions of the RIC at state level, with its inextricable links to the butchery of the Black and Tans is what is truly narrow minded.

It speaks to a deep rooted identity crisis within modern Fine Gael, who almost seem embarrassed at being made to recall the true nature of our struggle for freedom.

What is also deeply frustrating about this particular controversy is the manner in which it will overshadow or even eclipse so much of the excellent work that communities have been engaging in; in terms of honouring the heroic sacrifice made by their loved ones during that traumatic period of our history.

The Taoiseach and the government must urgently reassess the approach that is being adopted toward these commemoration events. It is simply not open to Fine Gael to engage in this kind of historical whitewashing and to expect no criticism for doing so,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

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