Wednesday 26 June 2019

Forget the 'hierarchy of victims' - we must remember our heroes

Veronica Guerin
Veronica Guerin
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

It is sickening to hear Sinn Fein, an organisation which consistently supported the IRA as the terror group who left a trail of bodies in this country and elsewhere, talk about a "hierarchy of victims."

One of its councillors, Jonathan Graham remarked that he and his party are opposed to a motion before South Dublin County Council to name the flyover on the N7 at Newlands Cross, Dublin in honour of the murdered Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin, callously shot dead at this spot because of her crusading crime writing.

Mr Graham went on to say that this opposition had "nothing to do with Veronica as a person or a journalist."

Veronica was more than just a journalist, she was someone who fearlessly exposed the underbelly of criminality and drug dealing in Ireland - some of which went hand in hand with the 'cause' espoused by the Republican movement and its military wing, the IRA.

Does the Republican movement not want to be reminded of that every day when someone mentions the 'Veronica Guerin Fly-over'? No they don't. But we should all be reminded of it. And when the children of the future ask: 'Who was Veronica Guerin?' they should be told that she was someone who gave her life telling her readers about the criminals and thugs, paramilitary and otherwise, who were blighting the lives of so many of our citizens.

Unlike Pearse or MacDonagh or McBride she did not want to sacrifice her life. But she was killed, like them, for pursuing an ideal. Does Mr Graham agree with the "hierarchy" of victims in the Sinn Fein pantheon? Should we start renaming the Pearse Parks and McDermott Streets around the country, so that others might not be offended?

Veronica herself would be bemused by a plan to honour her in this way. She didn't want honours or awards, she just wanted to do her job. But the leader of Sinn Fein, the man to whom Councillor Graham pledges allegiance, has his own thoughts about newspapers and freedoms.

"Mick Collins's response to the Independent's criticism of the fight for freedom was to dispatch volunteers to the Independent offices. They held the editor at gunpoint and then dismantled and destroyed the entire printing machinery! Now I'm not obviously advocating that…' Gerry Adams told a Sinn Fein fund-raiser, to much mirth. Half joking, whole in earnest? It indicates precisely where Sinn Fein stands on a journalist's right to disagree and the journalism of Veronica Guerin. Mr Graham may think it is "inappropriate" to honour someone who gave their life for telling us how it is, but most Irish people would not agree with him.

Irish Independent

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