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Labour TD sparks another row over Home Rule and WWI - this time it's about stamps

And John Bruton’s getting involved…

AN POST SHOULD withdraw stamps commemorating John Redmond, a man who “promoted, recruited and shamed Irishmen into killing for Great Britain” in World War I, according to Labour TD Eamonn Maloney.

In a statement, Maloney said it was appropriate to commemorate “the thousands of Irish boys and men who were slaughtered during World War One,” but An Post were “wrong” in honouring Redmond, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party at the outset of the conflict.

The 1914-1918 World War is constantly referred to as the Great War. But there was nothing great for the 200,000 Irish recruits who fought in it.
There was nothing great for the almost 50,000 young Irishmen who were slaughtered.

90351144 Former Fine Gael taoiseach John Bruton Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Former taoiseach John Bruton has been quick to reject the Dublin South-West TD’s comments, however.

Speaking to the Irish Daily Mail, Bruton issued the following statement:

I think on the merits of the case, [Redmond] deserves to be celebrated.
Will Eamonn Maloney be taking a similar stance with regards to those men of 1916?
Is he going to ask that he commemorate those who went to war in 1916 on behalf of the German, Austro-Hungarian and Turkish empires, which they clearly stated they were doing?
The 1916 GPO occupiers did so in alliance with the Kaiser against a country that was defending the French Republic and the small nation of Belgium.

stamps-single

An Post, meanwhile, has said there are no plans to withdraw the stamps.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson explained that the stamps in question were not commemorating John Redmond as such.

One was to commemorate the centenary of the 1914 Home Rule Act, and also featured Ulster Unionist leader Edward Carson, the spokesperson said.

The other was a reproduction of a WWI recruitment poster which happened to feature an image of Redmond, and was part of a special series of stamps to commemorate the centenary of WWI.

A spokesperson for Arts Minister Heather Humphreys - who has responsibility for the ‘Decade of Centenaries Commemorative Programme’ – did not specifically comment on Deputy Maloney’s remarks.

However, in response to questions from TheJournal.ie, the spokesperson did say:

The Minister will work to ensure that the events which shaped that tumultuous decade a century ago are each commemorated in a manner which is appropriate, respectful and inclusive.

Read: Gerry Adams lashes out at John Bruton for calling the 1916 Rising ‘a mistake’>

Irish Prison Service honoured with new commemorative stamps>

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Dan MacGuill

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