Monday 2 March 2015

Politician criticises An Post's 'contradictory' WW1 commemoration stamps

Published 15/08/2014 | 09:35

An Post First World War stamp featuring John Redmond (Photo: An Post)
An Post First World War stamp featuring John Redmond (Photo: An Post)

An Post should withdraw stamps commemorating World War 1 as they feature Irish nationalist politician John Redmond, according to Labour TD Eamon Maloney.

The Dublin South-West TD said it’s a ‘contradiction’ to have the former leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party on the stamps and not the 200,000 Irish soldiers who served for England or the 49,435 who died.

“It’s a bit of a contradiction to have John Redmond on the stamps. On one hand he is praised for signing the Home Rule agreement but, on the other hand, if that was such a useful piece of legislation, why did he have to recruit 200,000 to go and fight for the UK?," Maloney said.

“And at the same time, while recruiting for men, mostly teenagers, to go to what turned out to be a very savage war, the same Redmond turned around and condemned men who fought in 1916,” he added.

The TD said he was approached by a constituent two weeks ago who had family members who fought in the Great War and who was concerned that the stamps would not feature Irish soldiers that died on the frontline.

“I think my constituent made a good point,” Maloney told RTE Radio One.

“Redmond didn’t fight in the First World War and didn’t die, but almost 50,000 people did and most of them were teenagers.

“I know Mr Redmond was a prominent figure and leader of Home Rule and I don’t dispute his desire for an independent Ireland,” he continued.

“I stand by what I say, I still feel An Post should withdraw it, because I think those that did die made the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War.”

In a statement, the TD said An Post ‘were wrong’ in producing the stamp commemorating John Redmond MP.

“It is indeed appropriate to remember and commemorate the thousands of Irish boys and men who were slaughtered during World War One, but it is wrong for An Post to commemorate a politician who promoted, recruited and shamed Irishmen into killing for Great Britain,” it reads.

“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.”

Meanwhile, An Post have confirmed that they have no plans to withdraw the commemoration stamps from production.

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