Mayor of Kerry the latest public figure to boycott the Royal Irish Constabulary and DMP commemoration
"The organisation was guilty of gross interference with this country’s search for freedom and independence."
Councillor Niall Kelleher, the Mayor of Kerry, will not be attending the State commemoration of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) in Dublin Castle on 17 January, he has confirmed.
The Fianna Fáil politician also said that his deputy, councillor Norma Moriarty, will not be attending the event.
In a post to his official Facebook page, Mayor Kelleher wrote: "As Mayor of Kerry, I have been invited but will not be attending the event to commemorate the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Metropolitan Police as I do not think it would be appropriate for me to do so.
"I acknowledge that many of the RIC members were quite decent people but, as a body, the organisation was guilty of gross interference with this country’s search for freedom and independence.
"As per protocol I have passed the invitation to Deputy Mayor Norma Moriarty, who has also declined the invitation. Therefore the invitation has been passed to the Corporate Policy Group of the Council, who will meet on Tuesday next to consider it."
Kelleher joins various Dublin City councillors, Mayor of Clare Cathal Crowe, Lord Mayor of Cork John Sheehan, Galway Mayor Mike Cubbard, Mary Lou McDonald and several other politicians in declaring that they would be boycotting the event.
On Tuesday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "The RIC/DMP commemoration is not a celebration. It’s about remembering our history, not condoning what happened. We will also remember the terrible burning of Cork, Balbriggan, partition and the atrocities of the Civil War. We should respect all traditions on our island and be mature enough as a State to acknowledge all aspects of our past."
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris will be among those attending the event on 17 January.
Flanagan, the host of the event, said in a statement that: "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'."