Remembering the RIC

 

Sir, – Reminding us of “how easy it is to whip up atavistic emotions for political gain” (“Centenary events foster a simplistic narrative of independence”, Opinion & Analysis, January 18th), Stephen Collins nevertheless cannot pass up the opportunity to blame “Sinn Féin and its supporters” for allegedly causing the cancellation of a State commemoration proposed by then-minister for justice Charlie Flanagan.

Whatever about “widespread ignorance about what actually happened 100 years ago”, Stephen Collins’s article reveals a few misconceptions of his own about what happened just two years ago.

Mr Flanagan’s proposed event was intended to commemorate not only Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) casualties of “the 1916-1921 period”, as your columnist claims, but all members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) who served between 1836 and 1922, a delineation which includes both the Black and Tans and the Auxiliary Division.

It was the well-publicised clarifications of members of the Government’s Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations that they had not recommended that a service for the RIC and the DMP be included in the list of State commemorations that compelled Mr Flanagan to shelve the proposed ceremony.

To attribute the cancellation to “Sinn Féin and its supporters” is to disregard the insight, eloquence and agency of a number of professional historians and Government-appointed experts. –Yours, etc,

BRIAN Ó ÉIGEARTAIGH,

Donnybrook,

Dublin 4