We stood up and won, DO NOT sit back down!

It should come as no shock to Republicans that the Fine Gael led Free State Government intended on commemorating the RIC, which comprised the black and tans.

The announcement today that this has now been ‘deferred’ has been met with great enthusiasm and indeed a sense of victory from the people.

The opposition to this commemoration came in thick and fast and from some surprising quarters, today is the first time I can say that I have seen social media have a tangible positive effect on politics. Largely led by the ordinary person on social media platforms, the protests against this commemoration could not be ignored and so it was announced that it was ‘deferred’.

I believe the word ‘deferred’ was used decisively by the State to try and save face, but as far as everyone else is concerned, this event is cancelled.

Speaking on RTÉ news Free State Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan stated that he was “determined” that a commemoration would happen at another time. The use of his word determined is interesting; have no doubt that if such an event resurfaces, they will once again be met with the determination of the people. 


Freestate Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan

All of this has given me a sense of renewed optimism, that perhaps for the first time in years the 
general populace is starting to wake up to the conservative ethos and rotten edifice of the Twenty-six county State. That it is not “Free Ireland” and that it is the same rotten state that has been crushing Republicanism for decades and to which they make no apologies. A quasi-dictatorship that relies on old civil war politics and your complicity for votes. 

How did we get to a point where the Free State Government thought it would be ok for a RIC/black & tans commemoration? You only have to look back over the last 10 years for your answer, perhaps all of this passed you by, maybe you have been largely apathetic toward Irish politics, it may be, it was only this despicable commemoration that woke you from your slumber.

If that is the case, it is time to stay awake and reflect on what was allowed to pass before they came up with this idea.

Already this has been a government that over the last few years, held a Free State ceremony to remember the British war dead of Easter Week not to mention another to commemorate the rightly-disgraced Irish Party leader John Redmond, and celebrated alongside British officials and Royalty the imperialist horrors that thousands of Irishmen suffered during World War I.

This is before I even mention the bizarre and offensive memorial wall in Glasnevin Cemetery, this wall already includes names of British Army terrorists alongside Irish Patriots, and they are soon to add names of the Tans and Auxies during this period. 

Glasnevin wall after it was paint bombed by Republican activists

All of these things were largely only opposed by dedicated Republican activists and this is exactly how they got away with it.

These instances only further highlight the ill-thought nature of this blandly sanitised 'Decade of Commemorations' project on the part of the Free State government.

Those who call on this conservative, reactionary government for an embrace of commemorating only those who fought for Irish freedom, and gave their lives for it, is, I think expecting way too much and needs to pay attention, that this proposed commemoration is a logical conclusion to their previous commemorative efforts.

They have been using commemorations over recent years to slowly normalise the Irish public, They have slowly but surely been boiling the frog for years, but this week they turned the temperature up a tad too high and the frog has jumped out of the pot, please don’t hop back in.

There has been a steady flow of revisionism being pumped into people in the 
Twenty-six Counties and for a long time, it has worked exactly as they had planned. We are told to be mature, that we must work on reconciliation and that the only thing that matters is that you are Irish. 

Defending holding the black and tan commemoration Leo Vardakar, Free State Taoiseach stated:

“We now all accept, or almost everyone accepts, that it is right and proper to remember Irish people, soldiers who died in the First World War. And I think the same thing really applies to police officers, police officers who were killed, Catholic and Protestant alike, who were members of the RIC”

By this logic, the only thing that qualifies a person to be worthy of commemoration is being Irish. (I will await the commemorations from the Free State for William Joyce, Lord Haw-Haw.)

It is important to state that as a Republican, Leo Varadkar or anyone sitting in Leinster House does not represent me, nor any Irish Republican. The idea that the 
Twenty-six Counties is somehow the Irish Republic is just more of the lies you have been told. 

As we go into these very important few years of commemoration it is imperative, more than ever that, we educate the Irish People as to what the Free State is and how we came to be where we are today.

This falsehood that the Irish public are told about the genesis of the 
Twenty-six County state is typically Orwellian, the blatant pathological lie fed to the public, that those currently in Leinster house somehow draw their constitutional line of authority from the 1916 Rising and the all-Ireland General Election of 1918 must be exposed. 

It is quite the opposite, The Free State and current pretenders to Dáil Éireann sitting in Leinster House today, originate from Britain’s Government of Ireland Act 1920, that constitutionally partitioned the Country, the Revolutionary Dáil sat in defiance of this act. When the treaty of surrender was signed a decision was made by counter-revolutionaries at the only sitting of the House of Commons of Southern Ireland in January 1922, to accept this Southern Parliament which was formed under the British Act, and this counter-revolutionary grouping is what is currently masquerading as the Dáil.

This is where Leo Varadkar, Charlie Flanagan and the rest of these treacherous swine draw their authority, these men should not even be commemorating Irish Republican Patriots at all, their very existence is a usurpation of the Irish Republic, and indeed, they have more in common with the black and tans than with any Irish Republican.

While it is commendable and right that we all stood up against the Free State attempts to sanitise the black and tans, it does not mean we look to them for any kind of leadership or guidance on commemorations.

It is incumbent on Republicans, local community groups and historical societies to step up and remember the efforts of our brave patriots, and those Irishmen and women who fought for Irish freedom in this period. We have never needed nor wanted State Commemorations to do this.

I firmly believe we should not be surprised that the last few years have ultimately resulted in an attempted commemoration for the colonial, paramilitary police forces of the Twenty-Six Counties, this ahead of a centenary year that will mark an array of infamous murders and atrocities that they took part in.

It is right too that we also commend those commentators and historians who highlighted the glaring historical anomalies at remembering these British paramilitary bodies, and the upset on the local memory that endures in some communities.

If anything this episode should make you realise that you have more power than you think, that when we stand together we are a force to be reckoned with. The people stood up against the Free State and said no, DO NOT SIT BACK DOWN!

Cáit

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