Patsy McGarry, the Religious Affairs correspondent of the Irish Times, has an odd article in that paper today. In it, he points out that the RIC has been already commemorated in the south ten years ago. He says that there is a Garda Memorial Garden in Dublin. It has a stone sculpture dedicated “to all the deceased members of An garda Siochána, the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Metropolitan Police.”
Patsy selects examples of gardai remembered, all of them by the IRA or the INLA. He maintains that all the RIC and DMP men commemorated were “made up mainly of men from a common background – rural, Catholic and nationalist.”
He’s right about most of the last bit – they were from the country, they’d have seen themselves as Catholic – but nationalist? If you have a section of the population that is struggling for national sovereignty from a foreign power, and if you and your organization are struggling to quell and if necessary kill that section of the population, not even Patsy’s Jesuitical head-of-pin dancing can change the fact that the RIC and the DMP were enforcing British rule in Ireland and were prepared to kill in order to see that it was.
“Nationalist”? I think not, Patsy.