An invitation has been issued by Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD to civic and political organisations to attend in a dignified protest in opposition to the proposed state commemoration of the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Metropolitan Police.
An Teachta Tóibín stated:
“On January 17th, we are asking people to assemble at the Dame Street Gate of Dublin Castle to show opposition to the government’s proposed commemoration of the RIC and the DMP. We have sent an invite to political and civic society organisations to attend the protest. This will be a cross-party, cross-community event.
“We are asking people to bring photographs of civilians and republican Volunteers who were murdered by the RIC, the DMP, the Black and Tans, the Auxiliaries and the British Army during the War of Independence/Tan War. We are asking people to attend to do justice to the memory of those who sacrificed everything to create a free and democratic Irish Republic.
“Britain’s colonial police, the RIC and DMP, were to the fore in suppressing Ireland’s struggle for independence. Unable to defeat republicanism, the RIC was bolstered by Winston Churchill’s Black and Tan and Auxiliaries. Acting under the RIC’s banner, the Tans and Auxiliaries carried out a campaign of brutality across Ireland, burning numerous population centres, and torturing and murdering civilians and republican volunteers.
“Galway brothers Patrick and Harry Loughnane were among the RIC Auxiliaries’ victims. They were arrested on their family farm in November 1920. The men were locally prominent republicans and the RIC was determined to exact revenge on them for an earlier IRA ambush. A few days after their arrest, the Loughnane brothers’ bodies were found in a pool of water near Ardrahan in south Galway. They had suffered multiple broken bones and their fingers had been cut off. Both men had been set on fire and hand grenades had been detonated in their mouths. This is just one of the countless examples of British state atrocities against Irish people who simply sought independence and democratic freedom.
“There are few families in Ireland that do not have mixed politcal backgrounds. One of my grandparents was a member of Cumann na mBan, while one of my grand uncles fought and died as a British Army solider in World War One. Another Grand Aunt married an RIC man. Ireland today is sum of all its diverse historical parts. The death of one family member whatever their background is a tragedy. On a personal level it hurts the same and leaves the same family legacy. Everyone has the right to remember family members who lost their lives.
“However, the rights and wrongs the War of Independence are unambiguous. RIC and Black & Tan “soliders” imposing oppression through violence should not be commemorated equally with Volunteers seeking Irish freedom. To commemorate means remember officially and give respect to a great person or event. Government ministers should not give positive recognition to those who used violence to supress the Irish Republic.
“Charlie Flanagan misunderstands the meaning of pluralism. It does not mean that truth and justice are binned. The planned RIC/Black and Tan commemoration in Dublin Castle should be cancelled.”