Wednesday 13 December 2017

Hail real martyrs

Madam -- I was at a function recently where a band struck up rousing rebel tunes and sang songs about heroic figures from the past who died fighting for Ireland. Two of the songs celebrated "heroes" of the 1969-97 Troubles, or the Armed Struggle as others call it.

I have yet to hear a ballad devoted to Irish people who died in the course of defending us against a countrywide reign of terror that threatened the survival of democracy itself on this island. The late Detective Garda Jerry McCabe is one who comes to mind, a family man who died while serving the public and fighting crime.

Another is, of course, Private Patrick Kelly, who has been posthumously awarded the Military Star Medal by the State for his action during the search for supermarket executive Don Tidey back in 1983, and Garda Gary Sheehan, both of whom died the same day at the hands of an armed gang.

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