Saturday 26 May 2018

My pangs of regret over ending of honour for 'The Pope'

The political tragedy of Irish nationalists who died in vain in the Great War lingers still, writes Charles Lysaght

HISTORIAN AND MORE: Eoin ‘The Pope’ O’Mahony (in glasses) Picture: NPA/Independent collection
HISTORIAN AND MORE: Eoin ‘The Pope’ O’Mahony (in glasses) Picture: NPA/Independent collection

Charles Lysaght

There was no death more symbolic of the political tragedy surrounding those Irish nationalists who answered John Redmond's call to fight in the Great War and of the noble aspirations that had motivated them than that of Redmond's younger brother Willie at the battle of Messines on June 7, 1917.

Just three months earlier, attired in his military uniform, the same Major Willie Redmond had held the House of Commons spellbound, invoking the sacrifice of Irish soldiers at the front when calling for the suspended Home Rule Act of 1914 to be brought into operation immediately.

He assured Ulster unionists that they would be treated fairly and offered that they could provide the first prime minister of a Home Rule Ireland.

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