One for the Irish - Condemned by our neglect of the war dead

#1
http://www.independent.ie/opinion/c...-of-the-war-dead--lest-we-forget-1139579.html

Condemned by our neglect of the war dead -- lest we forget

We have just a month to get it right, this time around; for Remembrance Sunday falls a month from today, on Armistice Day itself, November 11.

And will, once again, our ambassador in London be absent from the Cenotaph as the guns in Hyde Park bark and roll, as the bronze bell calls solemnly over the Mall, and diplomats from around the world lay green-garlands to honour their dead?

Why is this so difficult for us to do?

If Fiji and Canada, India and Nepal, South Africa and Nigeria, can gather in the Mall to recall their men who died in the service of an extinct empire, why do we have such trouble in doing the same?

And how can our national pride be nourished on the sullen neglect and a righteous disdain towards those innocents who in 1914 onwards merely did the bidding of their betters?

The Sikh who lays his wreath at the Cenotaph does honour to neither emperor nor the butchers of Amritsar: the Zulu who bows his head before that unpeopled tomb is not praising those who slew his kinsmen at Rorke's Drft and Islandwhana; yet they can stand with members of the diplomatic corps and remember their dead fellow-countrymen of two world wars, and be not a whit diminished by that deed of remembrance.

So where lies the justification for our ambassador to the Court of St James not being present when his colleagues from so many countries across the world remember their dead, and the dead of the country to which they are accredited? That we are not Commonwealth? A petty problem, and one easily resolved. Or is it confirmation that we still are -- in Olivia O'Leary's lapidary phrase -- Britain's official non-friend?

All else shall change: where dust-devils once blew, the ocean deep now swells, and straight timber stands where formerly ice-floes sailed: yet diplomatic Ireland stays true to its ancestral grudge.

The unending tale of the GPO: one band of heroes, one golden thread of history, one single narrative.

A visit to St Symphorien cemetery in Mons will show you another thread: the Irish dead of August 1914 and the Irish dead of November 1918, the outward slices of a bitter sandwich of tragedy that enfolds the fields of Flanders and Picardy, and the skies above, and the seas beyond. No headland, dune or plain which was visited by British forces during those four dreadful years went untrod by Irish boot or unnourished by Irish blood. Other Irishmen fell from the skies in flames, and frozen Irish fingers despairingly slipped from the gunwales of floundering lifeboats.

We were legally at war; those who served went at the command of their political masters, and were showered with their bishops' blessing.

Does Ireland stand taller now because our ambassador in London is absent from the service which remembers their sacrifice?

And would our neutrality somehow or other be compromised by a diplomatic presence at the Cenotaph?

Yes it would -- but only to dogmatic neutralists, who have turned a temporary ploy of 1939 into an enduring principle, a permanent declaration of a greater virtue than those who go armed.

But piety does not guard a country's beaches or protect its airspace. Steel and sinew alone do that, and we have never had enough of either.

Ireland's defences in 1940 began not at Dun Laoghaire in Dublin but Dungeness, in Kent: and Irish bellies were fed by wheat-bearing allied convoys we refused to protect. If Britain fell, so should we, the helpless fen beyond the dyke.

That fen now stands proudly aloof from the London remembrance of those who perished in the dyke.

Yet 60pc of the National Army in 1939 were within two years soldiers of the British army, in which, all told, 100,000 Irishmen served during the war. The first Fleet Air Arm, military and Royal Navy VC's of the war went to Irishmen, and perhaps a hundred Irishmen died in the D-Day landings alone.

Is it good that this state does not formally attend the service to commemorate the sacrifices which brought freedom to the lands which now compose the EU?

Is this absence honourable, ennobling or dignified?

Is independent Ireland made prouder and more Irish because our ambassador in London is at home, when so many of his suited peers queue silently on the Mall, as the great bell tolls, and the 25-pounders boom?

Yet such diplomatic distance is utterly outdated.

In the presence of the President and the Taoiseach, the Army last year already commemorated the Irish of the Somme with dignity and military splendour.

All differences between Dublin and London over the North are long since resolved, and the Troubles are well and truly over.

So Iveagh House could change this boycott policy towards the Cenotaph ceremonies over the coming weeks; and must, for the honour of Ireland, change it by next year, when we shall be marking the 90th anniversary of the end of the Great War.

Those who use their freedom to turn their back on the men who fought to make that freedom possible are diminishing themselves and their country.

Ireland is made stronger, truer and freer the day our man at the Court of St James finally lays the wreath that our dead deserve.

- Kevin Myers
A valid arguement. Is this something that Irish ARSSERS should start lobbying Bertie the Brown (envelope), etc about?

(Please, can the usual suspects not turn this into the usual anti-Irish slagging match - save that for the NAAFI :) )

Department of Foreign Affairs http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx

e-mail - http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=8797
 
#2
e-mail sent... c'mon guys!
 
#4
flamingo said:
Is this something that Irish ARSSERS should start lobbying Bertie the Brown (envelope), etc about?
An Taoiseach Albert "that money was only resting in my account" Ahern :lol:

I'm afraid it's our national chip on the shoulder about anything British which betrays a fundamental lack of self-confidence and immaturity as a nation.

Anyway I'll support this. Might get support here as well
 
#5
#7
Currently working with some Irish Troops - fine men all of them! I yay well have a wee dram with them on 11/11 at the Latin Bridge to commemorate our Fallen.
 
#9
Is the Inat Kuca still the best value meal in town?
 
#10
The Irish president, Mary McAleese, gave this Speech in Northern Ireland when opening a new exhibition at the Somme Heritage Centre. Great to see that in one breath she mentions the Somme and in the next the Easter uprising??? No fcuking surprise there then. But the Republic is only now getting their arrse into action and honouring their fallen!!! Over 90 years too late.

However at the 90th Anniversary of the Somme, which I was honoured to attend, the Irish Government, for the first time, did send a representative. Mary Hanafin, the Education Minister, was joined with Peter Hain, the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. In another snub to the British the Republic of Ireland STILL don't, and probably never will, favour the poppy; instead they lay a wreath of laurel leaves.

It was also strange to see, at Guillemont, the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment, playing the Republics National Anthem, a soldier’s song, and even stranger to see Rev Ian Paisley standing proud whilst it was playing!!! If Big Ian respects the Irish sacrifices in the War then the Republic should do more themselves; and without tainting their memory by drawing attention to the Easter uprising!!!. :pissedoff:
 
#11
Cuddles said:
Is the Inat Kuca still the best value meal in town?
No Cuddles there are loads of places now but it still does good scoff and reasonable beer. In fact I may take the Irish Band of Brothers there and have a Sliva at the appointed time - I am sure they will approve so I will ask next Tuesday when I see them at Kula.
 
#12
Thinking on this, it reminds me that as soon as the Brits go, the natives start killing each other - perhaps Eire would rather remember the dead Irish killed by Irish than those that stopped the Hun in the Great War and those who stopped the spread of German as the official language of Europe in the second show!
 
#14
big_mad_ejit said:
V30A said:
without tainting their memory by drawing attention to the Easter uprising!!!. :pissedoff:
Unfortunately if the state doesn't commemorate 1916 then the lads in black balaklavas will - better than having gangs of paramilitaries hijacking it and attempting to grab some spurious respectability.
Correct! At least this way its controlled.
 
#15
rickshaw-major said:
big_mad_ejit said:
V30A said:
without tainting their memory by drawing attention to the Easter uprising!!!. :pissedoff:
Unfortunately if the state doesn't commemorate 1916 then the lads in black balaklavas will - better than having gangs of paramilitaries hijacking it and attempting to grab some spurious respectability.
Correct! At least this way its controlled.
Also it's a opportunity to remind certain people that there's only one legitimate "Óglaigh na hÉireann" that has the right to that title. (Though I believe the British Army used to refer to us as the "Free State Fusiliers" :) )
 
#16
flamingo said:
http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/condemned-by-our-neglect-of-the-war-dead--lest-we-forget-1139579.html

Condemned by our neglect of the war dead -- lest we forget

We have just a month to get it right, this time around; for Remembrance Sunday falls a month from today, on Armistice Day itself, November 11.

And will, once again, our ambassador in London be absent from the Cenotaph as the guns in Hyde Park bark and roll, as the bronze bell calls solemnly over the Mall, and diplomats from around the world lay green-garlands to honour their dead?

Why is this so difficult for us to do?

If Fiji and Canada, India and Nepal, South Africa and Nigeria, can gather in the Mall to recall their men who died in the service of an extinct empire, why do we have such trouble in doing the same?

And how can our national pride be nourished on the sullen neglect and a righteous disdain towards those innocents who in 1914 onwards merely did the bidding of their betters?

The Sikh who lays his wreath at the Cenotaph does honour to neither emperor nor the butchers of Amritsar: the Zulu who bows his head before that unpeopled tomb is not praising those who slew his kinsmen at Rorke's Drft and Islandwhana; yet they can stand with members of the diplomatic corps and remember their dead fellow-countrymen of two world wars, and be not a whit diminished by that deed of remembrance.

So where lies the justification for our ambassador to the Court of St James not being present when his colleagues from so many countries across the world remember their dead, and the dead of the country to which they are accredited? That we are not Commonwealth? A petty problem, and one easily resolved. Or is it confirmation that we still are -- in Olivia O'Leary's lapidary phrase -- Britain's official non-friend?

All else shall change: where dust-devils once blew, the ocean deep now swells, and straight timber stands where formerly ice-floes sailed: yet diplomatic Ireland stays true to its ancestral grudge.

The unending tale of the GPO: one band of heroes, one golden thread of history, one single narrative.

A visit to St Symphorien cemetery in Mons will show you another thread: the Irish dead of August 1914 and the Irish dead of November 1918, the outward slices of a bitter sandwich of tragedy that enfolds the fields of Flanders and Picardy, and the skies above, and the seas beyond. No headland, dune or plain which was visited by British forces during those four dreadful years went untrod by Irish boot or unnourished by Irish blood. Other Irishmen fell from the skies in flames, and frozen Irish fingers despairingly slipped from the gunwales of floundering lifeboats.

We were legally at war; those who served went at the command of their political masters, and were showered with their bishops' blessing.

Does Ireland stand taller now because our ambassador in London is absent from the service which remembers their sacrifice?

And would our neutrality somehow or other be compromised by a diplomatic presence at the Cenotaph?

Yes it would -- but only to dogmatic neutralists, who have turned a temporary ploy of 1939 into an enduring principle, a permanent declaration of a greater virtue than those who go armed.

But piety does not guard a country's beaches or protect its airspace. Steel and sinew alone do that, and we have never had enough of either.

Ireland's defences in 1940 began not at Dun Laoghaire in Dublin but Dungeness, in Kent: and Irish bellies were fed by wheat-bearing allied convoys we refused to protect. If Britain fell, so should we, the helpless fen beyond the dyke.

That fen now stands proudly aloof from the London remembrance of those who perished in the dyke.

Yet 60pc of the National Army in 1939 were within two years soldiers of the British army, in which, all told, 100,000 Irishmen served during the war. The first Fleet Air Arm, military and Royal Navy VC's of the war went to Irishmen, and perhaps a hundred Irishmen died in the D-Day landings alone.

Is it good that this state does not formally attend the service to commemorate the sacrifices which brought freedom to the lands which now compose the EU?

Is this absence honourable, ennobling or dignified?

Is independent Ireland made prouder and more Irish because our ambassador in London is at home, when so many of his suited peers queue silently on the Mall, as the great bell tolls, and the 25-pounders boom?

Yet such diplomatic distance is utterly outdated.

In the presence of the President and the Taoiseach, the Army last year already commemorated the Irish of the Somme with dignity and military splendour.

All differences between Dublin and London over the North are long since resolved, and the Troubles are well and truly over.

So Iveagh House could change this boycott policy towards the Cenotaph ceremonies over the coming weeks; and must, for the honour of Ireland, change it by next year, when we shall be marking the 90th anniversary of the end of the Great War.

Those who use their freedom to turn their back on the men who fought to make that freedom possible are diminishing themselves and their country.

Ireland is made stronger, truer and freer the day our man at the Court of St James finally lays the wreath that our dead deserve.

- Kevin Myers
A valid arguement. Is this something that Irish ARSSERS should start lobbying Bertie the Brown (envelope), etc about?

(Please, can the usual suspects not turn this into the usual anti-Irish slagging match - save that for the NAAFI :) )

Department of Foreign Affairs http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx

e-mail - http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=8797

My bold. Perhaps a hundred? Perhap a few more sirrah! The Royal Ulster (formerly Irish) Rifles were the only Line Regiment to field their entire strenght at D Day.

There were Tea Caddy's all over the place, as the author attests, so I'd be surprised, but very glad, if fewer than a hundred micks copped it in Normandy.

The fault of all of this lies in the current Republic. It, the Republic, has its foundations in murder, marxism and recalictrance.

If there is any truth in the jokingly legendary stupidity of the Irish, surely, it must be this. Who would allow themselves to be led by a bunch of failed marxists headed up by the American spawn of a Cuban?

Good old Dev. God bless all here.

The author speaks of a "righteous" distdain, but, given the tilt of his article, I think he may have been better served by "self-righteous".

He speaks of Zulus and Sihks, warrior nations, like the Irish. He is right to do so. However, the difference is that these were people who were subjucated and became part of an Empire. Whereas, the Irish were full-on participants in the Empire, in that, it was thier country/nation, the UK of GB and I, which owned everywhere else.

If the Irish Republic came to the table, as he hints is easily resolved, then "their" warriors, and political representatives would recieve a very warm welcome.

Nobody would mention the slaughter of UK soldiers in the Irish War of Independance. Nobody would mention the slaughter of innocents in Britain in "thier" name. We would all just get on with it.In the same way that we would not expect them to villify the UK, or unionists of the past or present.

The author writes very well. The Irish have fought for many nations in the past, and for the last two or three hundred years, mainly with the British in adventures overseas.

The men who signed up in WW1 were fighting for thier own land, country, and King.

The men who fought in WW2 were fighting for what they believed to be right, whichever country they came from. It is thought that at least a third of the Skins, the Faughs and the Rifles (both Ulster and London Irish) were southern born and bred. Not to mention the Micks, the Cav Paddys, and everyone else.

President MacAleese can go on about 1916 all she wants. I wonder if she read the history books in school about how the Dubliners laughed/spat at the rebs, in '16.

President Robinson needs a telling off too though...I went to Westminster Cathedral a while ago, with my Da, himself the son of a Paddy who served in WW1 and (happily for me) survived both Gallipoli and the NW Front.

In there is a small military chapel, with plaques and/or colours from all the Irish Regiments under the Crown. There is also a book of the dead, where they have recorded all names, that they can find, of Irishmen who fell under the Colours.

Unfortunately, when I visited the chapel with me Da, himself the son of a Kerryman who fought at Gallipoli and Paschendale, and who (happily for me) survied) we found the chapel sullied by the Irish Republic.

Mrs Robinson had seen fit to put a tricolour ribbon around the book of the dead. Dad, himself an Imjin veteran witht the Rifles, went quietly mad. Demanded to see the Arch Bishop, but had to do with seeing a lackey.

Quite correctly though, he pointed out that these men died for a different flag, and to wrap them all, in another flag, was, quite simply, a lie.

Not being a Roman Catholic, I haven't been back, but often wonder if this piece of tricolour revisionism is still there.

These problems lie with the current Republic. A mentioned, it is founded upon shaky ground. The "tiger" economy? Don't make me puke. The EU benefits are paid for by the net contributors...guess who that is...apart from the Huns and the Frogs...

If the Irish Republic can't do as the author suggests, I have another suggestion. Outside of, and totally seperate from current EU/EEC rights, under UK law, a citizen of the Irish Republic can come to the UK and live, and more importantly, vote.

The living bit cannot be removed, for so long as the EU exists. But why should the UK extend voting rights, straight-off-the-boat, to Tea Caddys?

The current Republic is mealy-mouthed. If the UK were to be as mealy-mouthed, then the above would happen. As would the removal of the UK's bit of EU contributions to Eire.

The whole ethos of the current republic seems to have its only raison d'etre in blaming others for their previous ills. They should give themselves a bollicking and catch themselves on.
 
#17
Please bear with me,

after the war of independence, there was understandably a lot of anti British sentiment in Ireland. ( just as there was a lot of Anti German sentiment after WW2 in the UK)

It was a shame on us as a Nation that men who had fought came home and werent honoured.

But that was our own personal tragedy,

Men who had come back from the horrors of WW1 were at best neglected and forgotten about.

As we developed as a Nation, we realised that these were people to be proud of, we did them an injustice.

It took a while but we eventually got there; (1986 to be precise)

On the Sunday closest to July the 11th (The day the signing of the truce ending the War of Independence) we as a Nation Celebrate our own memorial day.
Lá Cuimhneacháin Náisiúnta or the National Day of Commemoration commemorates ALL Irish men and women who died in past wars or on overseas service .

It is a National Day of Commemoration when our President and Taioseach lay a wreath in memory of Irish people from the Island of Ireland who as I said fought and died in ALL wars and on overseas service.

I participated in this years day, and I felt proud and humbled to honour Irish men from both sides of this land who went away to make the World a better place and never came home.


Whereas in the UK and other parts around the world, November the 11th is a day of commemoration for your fallen comrades, and it is a day where I am humbled to see the pride (and slightly jealous) you have in your forces.

it is however your day.

If a Paddy wants to wear a Poppy on Grafton Street, well done him, he is supporting a worthy cause.
if I see a RBL Box, I will donate to that great cause
If a Paddy wants to march with you boys, March with pride and have the craic.

but it is your day.

we celebrate our people in July (its a lot warmer, us Paddies arent thick).

I look forward to watching this years parade with my father and both of us will no doubt shed a sly tear for comrades from different Armies and Countries that never the less fell.
 
#18
These problems lie with the current Republic. A mentioned, it is founded upon shaky ground. The "tiger" economy? Don't make me puke. The EU benefits are paid for by the net contributors...guess who that is...apart from the Huns and the Frogs...
I think you'll find the "Celtic Tiger" has a lot more to do with our 12% corporation tax trick which has attracted US multinationals to set up in Ireland to the extent that they responsible for about 90% of our exports. Unfortunately that's easily copied by other small economies (eg Estonia) and we don't seem to have a plan B.

If the Irish Republic can't do as the author suggests, I have another suggestion. Outside of, and totally seperate from current EU/EEC rights, under UK law, a citizen of the Irish Republic can come to the UK and live, and more importantly, vote.
As far as I know that pre-dates the EU and Ireland did not sign up to the Schengen agreement in order to preserve the Common Travel Area with the UK.

The living bit cannot be removed, for so long as the EU exists. But why should the UK extend voting rights, straight-off-the-boat, to Tea Caddys?
Well it cuts both ways - the Irish in Britain have voting rights that the British in ireland don't have but

Under Irish law all British citizens — including those Manxmen and Channel Islanders who are not entitled to take advantage of the European Union's Freedom of Movement provisions — are exempt from immigration control and are therefore immune from deportation. They were then, with limited exceptions[13], never treated as foreigners under Irish law.
while

Unlike Commonwealth citizens however, Irish citizens have never been subject to entry control in the United Kingdom and have a presumed indefinite leave to remain if they move to the UK. They may, however, be subject to deportation from the UK upon the same lines as other European Economic Area nationals.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Travel_Area

btw agree with you 100% on Dev - he was a total cnut. Ireland would be a better place today if we had achieved independence by peaceful democratic means via home rule & Dominion status within the Commonwealth - a sort of mini-Canada. We might have avoided decades of fratricide and a tradition of ugly political violence which has marred our history. (I think Gladstone said something about Canadian home rule along the lines of "Canada did not get home rule because they're loyal and friendly, they're loyal and friendly because they got home rule").

I'm not a big fan of MacAleese either. That was a fairly insensitive act by President Robinson you refer to.

Whereas in the UK and other parts around the world, November the 11th is a day of commemoration for your fallen comrades, and it is a day where I am humbled to see the pride (and slightly jealous) you have in your forces.

it is however your day.
True that does not preclude that we should be represented at the cenotaph by the Irish ambassador and he/she should lay a wreath. If the Nigerians & Trinidadians can do it why can't we?
 
#19
Never understood, why the men from the South arent properly remembered,certainly the greatest army Britain ever had,owes much to the Regiments from the South. The Old Contemptibles of 1914.

Then onto the men who even though i guess realised the pain it would cause left the Republic to fight in WW2, certainly if Britain had fallen, the chances that the Republic wouldnt have also gone the same way,would have been very slim indeed.

Certainly id start campaigning for it, id be very suprised if it was seen as being anything else than remembering your Honoured Dead.
 
#20
Feckin disgrace. Do you know, I never clocked the absence of the ambassador!

Do they not know how many of us have served and continue to do so?

I was once called out of line at an MCP due to having an Irish passport by someone eagle eyed in the RLC and issued with a NATO travel order in lieu of my passport! He showed me the regs which stated something to the efect that, at the request of the Irish Government, Irish passports can not be used for military travel with the British Army.

Presumably they were worried about admitting the truth about all of us Irishmen serving in what they conceive to be an embarassment.

What is amazing is that I signed off the identity for an Irish passport for a fellow officer, was contacted by the embassy for authentication based on my Irish passport and status as an approved person, explained that we served together and that I did indeed know the cove in question and not an eyelid was batted!

Perhaps it is time for us to grow up and face facts?

Talk about head in the sand!
 

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