Wellington monument in Trim


Madam, - While welcoming the interest which my original letter initiated re The Duke of Wellington monument in Trim, I am disappointed in some of the arguments put forward by your pro-Wellington correspondents.

What fish and chips, double-decker buses and New York skyscrapers have to do with the central question of the Trim monument I fail to comprehend.

I repeat my initial point. Why is a man who was ashamed of being Irish commemorated in an Irish town? I am quite aware of Arthur Wellesley's background while in Ireland. He contributed nothing worthwhile to the development of modern-day Ireland. As for saving Europe from Napoleon, I firmly believe that many 19th-century Irish peasants would have taken their chances with Bonaparte in exchange for life under English absentee landlords.

Moreover, the Iron Duke would have quite readily used his outstanding battlefield skills to crush any Irish drive for freedom. I have read my books and know that Wellington commanded the garrison in London during the 19th century, willing, if need be, to forcefully put down the Chartist reform demonstrators.

Those in Trim and others in Ireland who seek to portray the Duke of Wellington as some kind of benevolent, colonial do-gooder need to think seriously about their opinion of the Iron Duke, and not try to airbrush his reactionary political philosophies.

Finally, I reiterate my original contentions that the Duke of Wellington:

(a) opposed Catholic Emancipation, conceding it only for his own political survival;

(b) supported the British Government's continued denial of Irish self-determination;

(c) did absolutely nothing for Ireland and its people.

For these reasons I suggest that he be replaced by someone more worthy. - Yours, etc.,

THOMAS DION RUSSELL, c/o Hillsea Guest House, Quay Road, Ballycastle, Co Antrim.

PS: I propose a change at the top of the Trim monument, not its demolition.