Leo Varadkar: Ireland should be "mature enough as a State to acknowledge all aspects of our past" 1 month ago

Leo Varadkar: Ireland should be "mature enough as a State to acknowledge all aspects of our past"

The Taoiseach took to Twitter on Tuesday to further address the controversial issue.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that a planned commemoration for members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) next week "is not a celebration" and that Ireland should "be mature enough as a State to acknowledge all aspects of our past".

Varadkar, who expressed disappointment at plans by a number of politicans and public figures to boycott the event on Monday, calling it “regrettable”, weighed in on the controversy again on Twitter on Tuesday morning, saying:

"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."

The planned commemoration next Friday (17 January) has generated a huge backlash in recent days.

On Monday, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald called for the government to cancel the event, stating: "In no other State would those who facilitated the suppression of national freedom be commemorated by the State and I am calling on the government to cancel this proposed State commemoration."

Additionally, Dublin City Council have voted to boycott the ceremony, posting on Facebook saying: "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 host of the event, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, 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'."