A distinguished Dublin Doctor, Chris Fitzpatrickwriting in THE IRISH TIMES says we should not commemorate Kevin Barry, an Irish soldier hanged in Mountjoy Prison after torture and Court Martial by British Military on 1st November 1920.
The circumstances were clearly given to the world by Arthur Griffith, the democratically elected Acting President of the Irish Republic at the time, and published by its official newspaper whose writers and distributors risked their lives to produce it.
“The boy Kevin Barry whose sworn statement of torture inflicted on him by his captors has been informed that he is to be hanged on Monday next.
Kevin Barry when captured was one of a body of armed Irish Volunteers which had attacked an armed English military escort with the object of disarming them.
Under similar circumstances a body of Irish Volunteers captured on June 1st of the present year a party of 20 English military who were on duty at the King’s Inns, Dublin. Having disarmed the party the Volunteers immediately released their prisoners.
This was in strict accordance with the conduct of the Volunteers in all such encounters. Hundreds of members of the English armed forces have from time to time been captured by the Volunteers and in no case was any prisoner maltreated, even though Volunteers had been killed or wounded in the fighting., as in the case of Cloyne, Co. Cork, when after conflict in which one Volunteer was killed and two wounded, the whole of the opposing forces were captured, disarmed and set at liberty.
Brigadier-General Lucas of the English army was taken prisoner by the Irish Volunteers on June 26th of this year. During the six weeks of his captivity he was treated in strict accordance with International Law, being afforded all the privileges due to his rank as a prisoner of war.
The English Government now proposes to set aside the high standard maintained by the Irish Volunteers and to execute prisoners of war, previously attempting to brand them before the world as criminals.
Such an outrage upon the law and custom of nations cannot be permitted to pass in silence by Civilisation. It may be in the power of England to hang an Irish boy of 18 under such circumstances, but it is not in her power to prevent the conscience of mankind reprobating with horror such an action. That conscience Ireland invokes against the intended outrage upon God and man.”