Finn McRedmond: Casement statue says more about us than him

Our commemoration of a gay, anti-imperialist republican speaks volumes

Roger Casement: stands with his back to Dublin Bay as a perfect tribute to the complexity of the world

Roger Casement: stands with his back to Dublin Bay as a perfect tribute to the complexity of the world

Just over a year ago, a statue of Edward Colston, a 17th-century slave trader, was toppled and dumped into Bristol Harbour. Around the same time a likeness of King Leopold III was burned in Belgium, in recompense for his brutal crimes in the Congo. And that same summer, Confederate figures were torn down across the United States.

Given this nerve-wracking time for statues, we must applaud the bravery and assuredness of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for its recent installation: a statue of Irish republican Roger Casement looming over Dublin Bay. Not because Casement is the moral equivalent of any of the aforementioned men, far from it. But because statues have newly fallen to the mercy of baying crowds, and reappraisals of towering figures of history are in vogue. Few men – least of all ones as complex as Casement – are safe.

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