Councillors vote unanimously to boycott RIC commemoration

by Rachel Darcy

Dublin City councillors have unanimously voted against participating in a planned event to commemorate the infamous Black and Tans at a ceremony in the capital later this month.

The event will take place on January 17 at Dublin Castle, commemorating those who served in the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the Dublin Metropolitan Police prior to Irish Independence.

The RIC are also known as ‘the Black and Tans’, a specialist body of crown-forces constables during the Irish War of Independence.

Both the RIC and the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) were disbanded in 1922 following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Aengus O Snodaigh, has said that the commemoration is an insult to those who fought for Irish freedom.

Deputy O Snodaigh also claims that the All-Party Consultation Group on Commemorations were not consulted about these plans.

He said: “The role of the RIC, and the DMP, were not merely to act as police forces, but they had a specific role to instil terror in the populace in an attempt to break the democratic will of the Irish people for independence.

“In no other state that has emerged from [an] anti-colonial struggle would they celebrate the deeds of the oppressors.

“Fine Gael are more interested in commemorating the enforcers of British rule in Ireland than ordinary citizens who bore the brunt of British forces, including those in the RIC and its reinforcements in the Black and Tans, and Auxiliaries.

“It is an insult to their legacy.”

Outrage

There was outrage on social media as news of the plans came to the fore, with questions raised over why the Government has decided to ‘celebrate’ the notorious body.

Catherine Dolan wrote: “A relative of ours, Michael Hogan, a Tipperary GAA player, was shot dead in Croke Park by the Black and Tans on Bloody Sunday 1920. He was 24.

“The Hogan Stand is named in his memory … So, tell me Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, why you are celebrating these parasites?”

A Twitter user also pointed out the insensitivity of using Dublin Castle as the site for the commemoration.

They wrote: “What is embarrassing about the Black and Tans commemoration being in Dublin Castle is that it’s like licking the boot in the same spot that it cracked your skull.

“Irish people were killed there in the pursuit of Irish sovereignty.”

At a press conference on Monday, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that it is “regrettable” that some politicians have decided to boycott the event.

A motion against Dublin City council representation at the event was passed at last Monday’s council meeting by 38 votes to 10.

Speaking following Monday’s vote, former Lord Mayor and current councillor Nial Ring said: “It is appropriate that Dublin City Councillors object to the commemorative event and while I have no doubt the wishes of the elected representatives of the capital city will be ignored by a Government hell bent on revisionism and sanitation of historical events.”

Lord Mayor Paul McAuliffe undertook to pass on the content of the motion to the organisers of the commemoration event.

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