Retired gardai to honour RIC
Published 20/11/2011 | 05:00
RETIRED gardai are seeking permission from the Government to erect a monument in Glasnevin Cemetery to 500 members of the Royal Irish Constabulary, including the 'Black and Tans', who were killed by the IRA in the War of Independence .
The Garda Siochana Retired Members Association has written to Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Justice Alan Shatter seeking the go-ahead to erect a monument in an existing plot in the cemetery, which is famous for its links to 1916 and the War of Independence.
The 100-foot long plot contains the remains of 102 RIC men who died of natural causes. The association backed a motion at its annual conference in August to support and pay for the erection of a memorial to the RIC and the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP), including the names of all those killed.
The retired gardai propose to erect commemorative marble headstones bearing the names of 514 RIC members who have otherwise been written out of the official history of the Republic. The list would include policemen like Cornelius Crean, brother of the Antarctic explorer and British Navy sailor, Tom Crean, who has only had national recognition in recent years.
Retired Garda Pat McCarthy, who has headed the campaign to have the RIC commemorated, said the time had come for the State to recognise all who were killed in the War of Independence.
"We have a Garden of Remembrance in Dublin Castle for our 87 members of An Garda Siochana who have lost their lives since the foundation of this State. There is also a Garden of Remembrance in Belfast for 304 members of the RUC and the PSNI.
"Why don't we have a memorial for the RIC and the DMP? Are they a forgotten race?
"I am appealing to the Government to give the green light and its full approval for this very worthy project."
The Irish Independent columnist and historian Kevin Myers said: "There is this mystique about flying columns of IRA men fighting the British army, but for the most part the killing was of RIC men, some coming out of Mass or in front of their families when off-duty.
"Many were killed on patrol and always in ambushes, where 20 or 30 IRA men were involved in killing these policemen, who were alone or in two-man patrols."
He agreed that they should be remembered.