Another brick in the Wall

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That Wall – it’s impressive, you have to admit. Glossy black/grey marble, names in gold or gilt or whatever. Making no distinction between those who died in 1916, no hierarchy of …I almost said victims there. No hierarchy of those who died during the violence of Easter week a hundred years ago.

I applaud that. What it appears to be saying is that all lives lost through violence are wasted lives, robbing their owners of the years of mortal existence which we wake up to every morning. No matter what side they were on, they were snatched out of our world before their time. That’s commendable. Its clear core message is: don’t kill people.

Which makes me a little puzzled about the demonstration of armed  strength that paraded through Dublin a week or so ago. No sniggering at the back – the Irish armed forces are clearly nothing compared to those of Britain – we don’t even have a nuclear weapon, for goodness sake. But it was clear that what we have was disciplined, well-armed, alert.

And that, as I say, makes me a little puzzled. The Glasnevin wall was constructed by the Glasnevin Trust (founded in the nineteenth century by Daniel O’Connell) but it clearly had the full support of the acting Taoiseach and Minister Heather Humphreys, who attended the unveiling. What ‘s confusing is that the Wall represents a silent condemnation of all violence, from whatever side; while the Irish armed forces, paid for from the public purse, represents an endorsement of violence or its threat as a method of getting your way politically.

“Outrageous!” I hear the cry. “The Irish army has played a valuable role in UN peace-keeping missions!” It has indeed. But it hasn’t gone on those missions equipped with pea-shooters. When we say that the Irish army is part of a peace-keeping mission, we mean the Irish army is part of a well-armed international group that tries to get people and countries to act in ways that they believe best. And the method they use to encourage such compliance is violence or the threat of violence. If it isn’t, what’s with the weapons?

Come to that: what was all that stuff, on TV and on the streets, about the Easter Rising? It involved violence – and the main thing that people quibble about is whether the leaders of the Rising had a democratic mandate to be violent. Not violence itself, note, but a mandate to be violent.

When you take that in, and take in the banner which hung over the entrance to the Bank of Ireland, with images of Grattan, O’Connell, Parnell and Redmond, all clustered round the 1916-2016 motif, you begin to see what the Glasnevin Wall is really about. Like the Bank of Ireland banner it’s about erasing the notion that some people were on the right side of history and some were on the wrong side. That those who fought to maintain British rule in Ireland were as deserving of commemoration and honour as those who fought to end it. And those who never engaged in violence at all, who didn’t come within an ass’s roar of the GPO, are the true heroes of Irish history, and if that means bending the centenary commemoration to include people who had nothing to do with it, that’s just fine.

The Irish establishment has worked tirelessly for months and maybe years to pretend that they honour the men who gave their lives for Irish independence in 1916, while at the same time working feverishly to say, in so many words, “Ah lads, wasn’t the whole thing a terrible unhappy and violent mess? Wouldn’t we be far better sticking with the political path?”

Footnote. The above reference to “lads” does of course include lassies. It does not, repeat not including northerners and particularly republican northerners.  It’s time they stopped moping and accepted the fact that they’re not really part of Ireland.

19 Responses to Another brick in the Wall

  1. jessica April 4, 2016 at 9:00 am #

    “It’s time they stopped moping and accepted the fact that they’re not really part of Ireland.”

    Stop moping and do something about it.

  2. Iolar April 4, 2016 at 9:48 am #

    “The Irish establishment has worked tirelessly for months and maybe years to pretend that they honour the men who gave their lives for Irish independence…”

    An examination of evidence of submitted to the Flood Tribunal suggests that many in the Irish establishment worked tirelessly carrying large sums of cash in suitcases to banks in various parts of the world. Not only did the Irish establishment not care about the events of 1916, it cared even less about events in Ireland since 1968.

    The only wall that the Irish establishment is interested in is a wall of silence about financial transactions in locations such as the Cayman Islands or the Bahamas. Stooges with OBE’s will help deflect attention from the tireless work of the Irish establishment. Hysterical voices denounced workers who engaged in industrial action for a living wage in 1913. Similar voices are complaining about workers involved in industrial action, today.

    The fact that there is no effective or representative government in the 26 counties in April 2016, is a fitting tribute to the men and women who gave their lives for Irish independence. The Irish establishment may regard atonement in relation to matters Anglo Irish as a one way street. The electorate have a different perspective and it does not include cash carrying chancers from cosy cartels, moving money around the world rather than fund public services or pay a living wage.

  3. BYC April 4, 2016 at 10:04 am #

    “The Irish establishment has worked tirelessly for months and maybe years to pretend that they honour the men who gave their lives for Irish independence in 1916, while at the same time working feverishly to say, in so many words, “Ah lads, wasn’t the whole thing a terrible unhappy and violent mess? Wouldn’t we be far better sticking with the political path?”

    Apart from your use of the word “pretend” I can’t actually see the problem with that Jude. Do you not think the leaders of the Rising would have preferred a non-violent path if they thought one was available to them?

    What John Green from the Glasnevin Trust actually said though was that the wall was nothing other than a necrology and that, (a bit like Lost Lives or the Sutton Index), people could take from it whatever they wished. He also said there are other, (he didn’t say more partisan but that’s what I think he meant), memorials at Glasnevin. There’s a memorial to the hunger strikers even though only one is buried there.

    I thought his speech was brilliant. Nearly applauded my telly.

  4. fiosrach April 4, 2016 at 10:11 am #

    Could you imagine,Jude,if that wall was erected in the colony? It wouldn’t be up a week until the Fenians had obliterated the planters names and vice versa. Wouldn’t it be great to live in a state where tolerance abides? As long as it’s our tolerance. And they even got the bit in the first national language wrong. But like dog’s faeces on your shoe, they cleaned most of it off at treaty time and finished the job in the late nineties.

  5. BYC April 4, 2016 at 10:16 am #

    What did you think of the ceremony itself Jude? Did you find the prayers from children from our different churches hopeful or were they also bit cloying?

  6. billy April 4, 2016 at 10:35 am #

    seems by the size of the wall they have left plenty of space for the black n tans names to be added.oul ruth will be chuffed.

  7. Bridget Cairns April 4, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    have visited Glasnevin cemetery many times, as a graveyard it is a sacred place. The history of Ireland lies there in large part, however, if those Republican dead were not there, would it be like most other places of rest, interesting mainly to families and the local community. Don’t get me wrong, I am one of those sad people who enjoy visiting graveyards of all denominations & reading the headstones. I have visited several places if rest overseas including Auschwitz. I do not expect to see any time soon memorials at these sacred grounds with the names of the victims & the perpetrators.

  8. greg odowd April 4, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    Is the names of people who died outside Dublin in that time ie the Nationlists of Belfast who where murdered at that time in our history

    • Jude Collins April 4, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

      You surely jest, greg – sure they didn’t even live in Ireland…Oops. Neither did the Sherwood Foresters…Shurely shome mishtake….(Besides the superfluous fada)

    • Tenerife1 April 4, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

      Greg, I think I heard last night on The week in Politics that those murdered in the Belfast Pogroms will indeed be listed and remembered. One lives in hope.
      Jude I was invited to a party before Easter, and the highlight of said party was to be the reading of the Proclamation by the relative of an IRA commander from Cork who fought during the War of Independence This was to be a practise run before she went home for Easter to read same at a rally in West Cork. After the reading ( beautifully done), and the singing of the National Anthem, (discordant but whole hearted), as I was about to sit down an arsehole retired banker (yes banker not the other) from Galway asked why was I joining in as I was from some place called N.I. Well the sight and sound of my lovely English Protestant wife laying into this West Brit banker was a sight and sound to behold.
      I remember my father, who hailed from Donegal telling his many siblings on many occasions that the Orangemen would a big enough obstacle to Unity, but God save us from the Free State middleclasses.

  9. Perkin Warbeck April 4, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

    The RTE commentary of the unveiling of the WALL, Esteemed Blogmeister, was suitably hush-puppy, slush-puppy and gush-halfpenny in its antennae-aware delivery.

    Although one didn’t watch it – Sunday morning coming down, alas, being inevitably taken up with the time-consuming task of stumbling to the closet and fumbling for one’s cleanest shirt – nonetheless one knows it was thusy.

    All it took was a subsequent gawk at the name of the she/he who were entrusted with the commentary – it wasn’t H. Blockhead, Uasal, from Raidio na Jailtachta. Snuff said. No question therefore of not flushing the turd-words of dissent down the plush Armitage Shanks bowl of Anglo-Ireland.

    No schisms no more when history is viewed through the prism of, erm, Mature Acceptance of Difference (M.A. D. )

    One understands there were two aspects of the this gable WALL of West British Inclusivity which got the push-button trollers playing handball. One obviously was the inclusion of the mandated backwoodsmen of the Sherwood Foresters and also, a typo.

    Not any just any old typo –like say chisel-spelling Private Syd Bloggs as Blogs or Sergeant Alfred E. Neuman as Newman – but a typo (gulp)in the very first of the front-line words:

    -EIRI with the fada in the wrong place.

    But, no need to fret: already the sound of an outraged zimmerframe being stamped on the parquet floor from the distant general direction of Leeside can be heard. A sure-fire prelude to another pedantic dispatch from a certain simmering Professor Emeritus of Detritus Studies to the, erm, caring Letters Page of The Unionist Times. No zimmerframed letters left to languish in the corridor there !

    Now that pedophilia has been well and truly dealt with, give or take, south of the Black Sow’s Dyke, at long last pedantry is getting its long, overdue, erm, head.

    It was while trolling, oops, trawling the Podcosta of RTE that an item on the station of the nation’s flagship programme caught one’s rheumy eye. That prog, of course, is the Loot Loot Show and, of course, can only be viewed on Podcosta. It is just not feasible to watch a moribund show, erm, live.

    This was the item which featured one RTE megastar interrogating one RTE superstar. Or, even, vice versa. Little reason to mention that the welcome extended to the guest/ broadcasting wing of the SDLP reminded one (vividly) of a welcome once extended to the pest /broadcasting wing of Sinn Fein, not.

    Hugs, non-thugs, chug-a-lug.

    At first it was entirely clear as to why Gorman (for it was h.e !) was invite by the host down the corridor from the legendary Michelin five-star RTE canteen to discuss something which sounded uncannily like a water cooler conversation between colleagues: conceivably more a case of the license-paying listener eavesdropping than listening.

    The host, of course, being Ryan Tubridy, aka Tubs, aka, the affectionately known Skeleton who does not get out of the cupboard for less than (whisper it, on tiptoes) half-a-million squids from the public purse, that is.

    Happily, one can confirm from that reliable source, Reshapevine Inc, the acclaimed newsagency whose MD is the formidable Ms. Tittle-Tattle, that no, repeat , NO moola was exchanged for this revealing Loot, Loot Show interrogation. On account that it was prompted by a last minute change of venue due to the, erm, daughter-logged condition of said canteen.

    The reason why it was held now, rather than say, the week before last, or even, two months come Friday, was on account of a double anniversary being celebrated by the guest (honoured):

    -The Big 6. Oh.

    And, soberingly:

    -The 22 nd anniversary of his contracting the C-word.

    As the brave even heroic and softly spoken guest gently reminded the Loot, Loot Show’s vast audience that he did not want to discuss the latter, indeed, reminding them of this wish on a number of sober occasions, The Perkin is only too happy to abide by his wish.

    And to concentrate on the skylights of his stellar career. Through which a glimpse of (gasp) The Brightest Star of which had both host and guest even (gulping) and (gasping) in post-aromatic awe, even at this far remove. That was the appearance of One in the Grovel Hovel, hoops, elegant surrounds of St. Patrician’s Hall in Dublin Castle.

    Coincidentally, the focus was on one particular aspect of Queen Elizardbeth’s (for it was SHE !) pre-postprandial address , an aspect of which is tied up with the typo on the WALL (see above). When She thoughtfully condescended to get down to the Leprechaun-low level of the natives and speak in tongue:

    -Aw Hook Tar Awn aw gus a Geeny Oosh La.

    This was not so much Her ‘Ich bein ein Berliner’ moment as her (gulp):

    -Ich bin eine Saxe-Coburg-Goth moment.

    And so transfixed both the admiring host and the awestruck guest on the Loot, Loot Show that they were momentarily lost for words. Even in the Q’s English.

    ( Words, and words were all She used to take their hearts away.)

    Lost for words too was another hostess, the very one in situ at the Reconciliation Bean Quet. Even as Mary 2 of Aras an U (for it was she!) mouthed the W-word (no, not for WALL)

    -Wow !

    At first one did not recognize the hostess with the toastess. But of course five summers, with the length of five long winters have passed in the interim and many a Michaella McCollum-proportioned make over has passed beneath the beauty salon hair dryer since then.

    Back then Mary 2 was not sporting a Cassidy-type hair style even as she gazed agog-eyed up at the Sundance Biddy from Kidderminster. And in doing so, one had a chance to press the pause button and do a spot of forensic lip-reading. Thereby making an unexpected discovery, one indeed which bore the added value fruit of a (sigh) new collective noun.

    For not only did Mary 2 silently mouth the W-word:

    -Wow !

    But, aslo, the B-word:

    -Bow !!

    Ergo, erm, an orgy of corgies.

    Thank you Ma’am, says The Perkin.

  10. fiosrach April 4, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

    Mr Warbeck, you are well worth a second reading. As a matter of fact it is usually mandatory lest one miss a smidín of mirth or an ‘ arraing tríd ceartlá a gcroi’.

  11. fiosrach April 4, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

    Ceartlár – mo leithscéal

  12. Chris Fogarty April 4, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

    Why wink at the violence of predatory invaders while condemning the violence of defenders of the nation? Ireland’s leaders’ equating of hit-men (mercenary killers) to their own voluntary defenders is yet more evidence of their treason. For how much longer will the Irish people fail to prosecute them?

  13. Perkin Warbeck April 4, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    GRMMA, fiosrach, a chara.

    ‘arraing trid ceartla a gcroi’ / ‘a dart through the heart’ is a darlin’ phrase, a fhiosraigh, a daaaarlin’ phrase.

    Reminds one of Padraig Arraington and the way he might drop his ball on the green with all the precision of a Jockey Wilson with dart on board.

    But that was before Padraig began to ‘focus on his goals’.

  14. MT April 4, 2016 at 6:59 pm #

    “What ‘s confusing is that the Wall represents a silent condemnation of all violence, from whatever side”

    Why do you think that, Jude?

  15. Ryan April 4, 2016 at 7:27 pm #

    ” the Irish armed forces are clearly nothing compared to those of Britain”

    Of course they’re not, the Southern Government may have its faults but its not in the business of invading other countries and causing the deaths of millions of innocent people. The Iraqi Invasion of 2003, which has cost the lives of nearly a million innocent Iraqi’s so far, was the British states most recent invasion. They are currently helping to bomb Syria and from what I hear they’re more interested in removing Assad than ISIS. And of course there’s Libya where they helped remove Gaddafi and put ISIS type lunatics in charge. Where next? Where next will the British flex their military muscles while they play the part of the poodle with their much, much bigger partner the United States? Most likely Iran. Maybe even Russia? Nah, the Russians would leave Britain a smoking wasteland (A Russian official provoked outrage when he described Britain as “Just a small Island”), the Brits only go after smaller nations unless backed by their masters in the USA. In the long term fighting China could be on the cards and will maybe end with a nuclear worldwide winter.

    So why would the Irish Army be as big as Britain’s? There’s no need for it to be unless the Republic got in on the Invasion business with Britain and the USA. Could the Republic afford for it to be huge? Of course they could pay for it but why? why pay for 1,000 Challenger tanks, 1,000 Apache Fighter helicopters, 1,000 pieces of heavy artillery, 300,000 troops to just sit there and do nothing?…. though I’m of the opinion Ireland, when United, should bulk up its Military, not as an invasion force but as a very strong defence force.

    The issue with Ireland, and it effects many sectors of our society like the economy, etc is its population. There was more people in Ireland in 1816 than in 2016. We need a demographic boost. That can be done by promoting the family, combatting emigration (the curse of Ireland) and keeping abortion illegal. But all this is another topic.


    What we saw over the past few months to the lead up to the 100th Commemorations of the Easter Rising was a blunt distortion and rewriting of History. That’s what happens when Fine Gael and Labour are in Government. I didn’t see John Bruton at the Dublin Parade (was he even there?) but he was at the memorial of all sides, including those who fought against Irish Freedom. Can you imagine George W Bush or Bill Clinton, former Presidents of the USA, condemning the actions of George Washington and the American Patriots in the American War of Independence? Can you imagine Bush or Clinton distorting history and saying “There was a political path” to fighting the British? Can you imagine Bush or Clinton attending a memorial to remember those British who fought against American Independence, burnt down the White House, etc? Of course not, both Bush and Clinton would be shunned and, knowing Americans who are very fond of their guns, they would be strongly advised to leave the USA for their own safety.

    But here in Ireland John Bruton isn’t shunned. He was a former Taoiseach who condemns the Heroes that fought against British oppression. He’s the man whilst actually being Taoiseach was almost grovelling at Prince Charles feet, so pathetic was he that even many British newspapers condemned his reception and he even had Prince Charles looking awkward. Instead of the Irish public shunning Bruton we pay him over 160,000 euros a year for the rest of his life……

    There is something seriously wrong with the mentality of people in the South and that needs to change…..

    • MT April 4, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

      You do realise the American War of independence and the 1916 “rising” aren’t morally comparable?