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Cathal Crowe

'Revisionism gone too far': Clare mayor to boycott Royal Irish Constabulary commemoration service

The government recently said it will commemorate those who served in the force prior to Irish independence.

THE MAYOR OF Clare has said he will boycott the national commemoration service for the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) on 17 January, branding it “a step too far”.

The Government has confirmed plans to commemorate those who served in the RIC and the Dublin Metropolitan Police prior to Irish independence. Both groups were disbanded in 1922 following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

The event, which will be held at Dublin Castle, will be attended by the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. However, the Fianna Fáil Mayor of Clare has said he will not attend the event.

“As Mayor of Clare I was invited to attend the event by the Minister of Justice,” Cathal Crowe said.

“In the main, I think all of the government’s state commemorations have been apt and tasteful but I see the commemoration of the RIC as a step too far.

“I studied it for four years at the University of Limerick and blog regularly about local history on my social media pages. I am also a committee member of a War of Independence commemoration committee in my home parish.”

Crowe said that he did not hold any ill feeling towards those who served in the RIC Division of Clare, describing them as “decent people” guided by strong civic and law-abiding principles.

But he added: “I do however think it’s wrong to celebrate and eulogise (I consider “commemorate” to be a verb with positive connotations) an organisation that was the strong-arm of the British state in Ireland.

“The RIC joined army and auxiliaries (Black & Tans) in search parties and raids that resulted in our country-people being killed / tortured or having their homes torched.”

Crowe also expressed concern that gardaí would be central to the event, saying they should not seek to claim descent from the RIC, because the Defence Forces did not see themselves as descendants of the British army.

“I honestly believe that Ireland, her government and her people have thus far sensitively commemorated all of the seminal events of the decade of centenaries, but commemorating the RIC is definitively an overstretch,” he added.

“It’s also historical revisionism gone too far.”

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