Saturday 14 December 2019

Pawns who serve in British wars

Kevin Myers once again refers to Irishmen in British uniform as Irish soldiers (Irish Independent, October 7).

Specific reference is made to a Lt Patrick Bury from Co Wicklow, who has written a book on his exploits in Helmand Province as a British soldier.

Upon enlisting in the British army, all recruits are duty-bound to take the oath and swear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors.

Such sworn allegiance by Irishmen in British uniform brings them into conflict with Article 9.2 of the Constitution of Ireland, which states: "Fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State are fundamental political duties of all citizens."

Irish people's primary allegiance, therefore, should be to those who established this State, not to those who tried to prevent it.

The notion espoused by Mr Myers, that Irishmen in the service of the British army qualify to be referred to as Irish soldiers is not just preposterous but offensive and an affront to those who fought, many making the ultimate sacrifice, to free this country from British rule.

They were -- and are -- paid gladiators, pawns on a chessboard, colonialists.

Lt Bury may indeed be Irish, but he is certainly not an Irish soldier.

Mr Myers apparently finds no contradiction between his blanket support for Irishmen in British uniform being part of the mass-murder of millions of people, mostly civilians, in imperial wars for king, queen and country; and his trenchant opposition to Irishmen in Irish uniform using force to rid this country of that same imperial power whose only 'right' to govern Ireland was as a result of their military conquest of Ireland.

It is my view that the Irish Independent should promote a distinctly Irish world view based on our policy of neutrality, not war, and should in no way be used as a vehicle to encourage foreign militarism, especially a militarism that kept this country in subjugation for centuries.

Tom Cooper
Knocklyon, Dublin 16

Irish Independent

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