'Pirates in pinstripes' are no patriots, event told


THE ROLE of Irish patriots such as Gen Liam Lynch should not be diminished by revisionists but should instead serve as an example and inspiration to politicians and leaders today, a leading lawyer said yesterday.

Senior counsel John O’Mahony told the annual Liam Lynch commemoration at Kilcrumper near Fermoy that patriots such as Lynch would be disappointed by the Ireland of today, despite some progress being made since his death during the Civil War.

Lynch was an officer in the Irish Republican Army during the War of Independence and its commanding general during the Civil War.

“Certainly efforts and some progress has been made in the 89 years since his untimely death. However, look at our country today. It is but a very pale and poor shadow of what Liam Lynch’s vision for it was,” said Dr O’Mahony. He told a crowd of about 300 that deregulation and what is “euphemistically termed ‘the markets’ have taken control of Europe, including Ireland, resulting in economies being destroyed by out-of-control capitalists”.

“These are pirates in pinstripes who have crashed red light after red light in a craven chase for easy and amoral profits. They have used opaque and exotic financial instruments to hoodwink naive societies and innocent citizens of the victim countries.

“They have ignored and stampeded national governments – they caused unprecedented debt that has impoverished nations,” said Dr O’Mahony, adding that this was not the system for which Lynch had fought for freedom and served his country.

Recalling Lynch’s role in the War of Independence and the Civil War, Dr O’Mahony pointed out how disciplined and principled Lynch and his men were, including when they captured the senior British officer, Gen Cuthbert Lucas.

The unselfish dedication and standards set by Lynch had not been matched by those who claimed to be his rightful successors, said Dr O’Mahony.

Acknowledging the oppression of nationalists in the North, Dr O’Mahony said there were “respectable limits beyond which the old IRA did not [go] and would not have gone as a means of addressing such injustices and wrongs”.

“They would not have blown up innocent people, nor would they have denied knowledge of the burial places of their assassinated victims,” he said, instancing the failure of the Provisional IRA to reveal where they had buried teenager Columba McVeigh in 1975.

There was an unbridgeable chasm between the principles and activities of those involved in the War of Independence and “the conduct of those pretenders who dishonoured the name of the old IRA” during the Troubles, he said.