Micheal Martin and how to blur history

What is it about Irish people – or more accurately, some Irish politicians – that they are afraid to salute those men and women who fought to establish the present southern state?

The main strategy employed to navigate the 1916 Easter Rising commemoration was to twin it with the Battle of the Somme in the same year. The twinning ran like this: “Irishmen fought and died in the Easter Rising. Irishmen fought and died in the Battle of the Somme. So if we are to embrace all the children of the nation, we must honour the Irishmen and women who fought against the British army, and equally those who fought in the British army.”

This is passed off as the ability to see the big picture, to realize that our history is complicated and belongs to no one political party. Therefore we should extend equal homage to all who died.

Which is what I would call jesutical crap, except that I don’t to offend the Jesuits. One group – those who fought in the Easter Rising – sowed the seeds that led to independence for much of the country; the other group fought in an imperial war, hundreds of miles from home, and gave their lives for …what? Mother Britain? To save the world from German tyranny? Uh-uh. They gave their lives because they were hoodwinked by Redmond and others into believing they were doing something noble. In fact they were doing something bloody, obscene and futile.

And now Micheal Martin is peering ahead at the 1919-22 period, the Black and Tan War/The War of Independence. We’re being warned by the Fianna Fail leader that this period doesn’t belong to any one party, that it’s a very complicated business with many sides to it, that we must approach it in a cautious, “evidence-based” way.

Quite right, Micheal. But please don’t try smothering the period in on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hands. Yes, 1919-22 fits into a wider historical panorama. But that doesn’t mean that we seek out flaws, warts, carbuncles, cancers on the face of those who fought for Irish freedom then. Can you imagine the French celebrating Bastille Day by producing balancing evidence of how kind Marie Antoinette was to her ladies-in-waiting? Or how awful it must have been to be one of the royal family guillotined? Do you think the Fourth of July is trimmed and modified by emphaising how courageous the British red-coats were in the face of George Washington’s rebels? How they all deserve our respect for what happened back then?

It’s not history that’s driving Micheal and his mates to mute as much as possible the courage and achievement of men like Tom Barry and Dan Breen. It’s fear that it might mean the Irish people will see through the fraud of what was claimed as a Free State and then a Republic, and the shameful way parties like his own hid their ‘The Republican Party’ tag for some forty or fifty years.

The Irish people aren’t quite that stupid, Micheal. And all your ifs and buts and on-the-other-hands won’t bamboozle them. Great commitment and great courage and great daring pushed the British administration and its army out of most of Ireland during that time. Enough with the historical head-of-pin dancing.

5 Responses to Micheal Martin and how to blur history

  1. Des Hughes. July 31, 2017 at 11:34 am #

    “The Irish people aren’t quite that stupid,Michael” Sadly they are…have you spoken to a freestater lately or in the past 30/40 years.

    • Pointis July 31, 2017 at 6:49 pm #

      When you say ‘freestater’ are you referring to a Fine Gael supporter or some type of wider meaning?

      • seamus mallon August 1, 2017 at 11:09 am #

        Well said.

  2. TurboFurbo July 31, 2017 at 11:41 am #

    Michael Martin needs to up his game as FF continue to drift – but he has absolutely no clue as to go about it as evidenced by his latest nonsense about the Irish War of Independence.

    It is very clear that the vast majority of the Irish Nation is very proud of the brave Irish men and women who stood up to the British Empire and fought for freedom, securing independence for 5/6 of the country.

    Micheal Martin needs to get a serious reality check – and fast.

    Michael Martin is in very grave danger of being the first leader of FF never to become Taoiseach – moreover, he may well follow John Redmond in both destroying his own party and in being air-brushed from Irish history.

  3. RJC August 1, 2017 at 6:47 am #

    Many Irish politicians, and a large portion of the Irish media class still seem to suffer from a sort of post-colonial guilt when it comes to our relationship with our noisy (and violent and abusive) neighbour.

    It can seem as if there are some who feel the need to apologise for the events of Easter Week (anyone remember that promotional video for the 1916 Commemorations featuring noted Irish revolutionary David Cameron?). As Irish people we are expected to ‘get over it’ despite Britain still occupying a fairly sizeable portion of our island.

    Amidst all the handwringing, I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard one question the sanity of having a statue of Oliver Cromwell standing proudly outside of Westminster. Funny that.