Dublin City Council votes to boycott the Royal Irish Constabulary and DMP ceremony
"The RIC and the DMP had an intolerable record of barbarism in this country while carrying out British rule in Ireland."
Dublin City Councillors have voted to boycott the upcoming ceremony to commemorate the Royal Irish Constabulary and Dublin Metropolitan Police.
An emergency motion put before councillors described the event planned to be held in Dublin Castle on 17 January as "obscene".
The motion was passed by 38 votes to 10.
Councillor Nial Ring shared the news via his Facebook page and added that: "This was the police force that brutalised and murdered workers in Dublin during the 1913 lockout. This was the force that identified those to be executed after the Easter Rising. This was the force that supervised the eviction of thousands of impoverished people from their homes leaving them destitute on the roads or inside the workhouse."
In a statement that was released, the councillors added that "only a subservient government suffering from a post-colonial state of mind and ashamed of our revolutionary history would encourage this disgraceful event".
The council also said that "the RIC and the DMP had an intolerable record of barbarism in this country while carrying out British rule in Ireland. That this obscene event is taking place is not only an affront to generations of patriots who struggled to end centuries of imperial tyranny but it seeks to question the very legitimacy of our battle for independence and sovereignty."
The event is due to take place in Dublin Castle on 17 January, with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris scheduled to address the event.
Mary Lou McDonald is the latest public figure to voice opposition to the event, with Mayor of Clare Cathal Crowe, Lord Mayor of Cork John Sheehan, Galway Mayor Mike Cubbard and several politicians having already declared that they would be boycotting it.
Speaking on Monday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar expressed disappointment at plans to boycott the event, calling it “regrettable”.
“I remember, you know, 10, 15 years ago, it was very controversial to commemorate the deaths of soldiers in World War I because some people felt that they shouldn't be remembered, because they fought for the United Kingdom, because they fought for the British - that has changed,” Varadkar said.
“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 and the DMP, many of whose families are still alive and remember them.
“So I think it's a shame that people are boycotting it. The Government stands over the decision to hold the event.”
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan added to Mr Varadkar's comments, saying: "The approach to the Decade of Centenaries has made clear that there is no hierarchy of Irishness and that our goal of reconciliation on the island of Ireland can only be achieved through mutual understanding and mutual respect of the different traditions on the island."
Mr Flanagan said: "It is not a celebration. It is an acknowledgement [of] the historical importance of both the DMP and the RIC, and is in no sense a commemoration of the 'Black & Tans' or the 'Auxiliaries'."
The Black and Tans were recruited from March 1920 to supplement the RIC. They were mainly former British army soldiers.
Both the RIC and DMP were disbanded in 1922 following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.