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Right or wrong, acknowledge sacrifice.

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  • Right or wrong, acknowledge sacrifice.

    Right or wrong, acknowledge sacrifice

    Roy Garland

    By Roy Garland The Monday Column.


    “But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

    I have spread my dreams under your feet;

    Tread carefully because you tread on my dreams”

    – WB Yeats

    On October 7, 500 members and 30 standard bearers of Irish and British ex-service persons’ associations paraded through Castlebar in county Mayo led by Castlebar Town Band.

    They were followed by 100 schoolchildren while other children and citizens lined the route to give the veterans a warm welcome. When everyone had taken their seats at the Peace Park, a 107-strong guard from an Irish-speaking unit were inspected by the Republic’s President Mary McAleese who opened the event. Irish Guards, including drummers and pipers in full uniform, played military tunes in the presence of Irish, British and international dignitaries.

    The Peace Park boasts a large memorial wall similar to the US Vietnam Wall and inscribed with over 1,000 names of Co Mayo service people who fell during the First World War.

    An impressive array of smaller monuments commemorate those who died in the Second World War, Vietnam, Korea and in British, US, Canadian and Australian uniforms.

    The previous night an Irish Guards band and a Liverpool ex-service Irish Guards Choir played and sang at a memorial concert.

    This represented a further step along the road to healing memories. The previous Sunday saw a remembrance mass with a military colour party marking Ireland’s 50th anniversary of contributing troops to the UN.

    Each year the Irish who fell at the Somme are also remembered at Dublin’s Islandbridge War Memorial where in 2006 the Union Flag took pride of place among the flags of the nations in that awful conflict while the Irish Tricolour flew silently overhead at half mast.

    The atmosphere was both solemn and liberating as veterans proudly displayed their medals and others talked excitedly about the new spirit of freedom that enabled them to speak about relatives who fought, suffered and died at the Battle of the Somme.

    Retired Irish Army Captain Donal Buckley credits former Taoiseach Sean Lemass for breaking the silence in 1966 by calling on Irish people to acknowledge these sacrifices. The call fell largely on deaf ears but the word “maturity” was on many lips at Islandbridge. People noted the large contingent from Northern Ireland representing all the major political parties.

    Four years previously on a lonely hillside near Westport, Co Mayo, a new headstone was ceremoniously unveiled at the previously unmarked grave of Sergeant Major Cornelius Coughlan VC, who died in 1915. Last year a moving service was conducted in Galway’s Catholic Cathedral for those of County Galway who gave their lives in the Great War.

    People throughout the island have long fought in British as well as Irish uniforms in various parts of the world. Today increasing numbers join the British army with an estimated 16 per cent of recent Northern Irish recruits being citizens of the Irish Republic. Ancient animosities are being forgotten and new relationships established throughout the islands while a new tolerance opens new horizons.

    The participation of Irish people from the 26 counties in the First World War was generally ignored in the wake of 1916 but entry into the European Community and the fact that many Irish people were sick of the violence in the north is credited with having helped to change things. Many have begun to question the partial histories we have learned and various Regimental Associations throughout the island seek to preserve honourable traditions.

    There is no need to judge the rightness or wrongness of any war in order to acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of youth. This should apply to the welcome home being extended to members of the Royal Irish Regiment in Belfast this weekend. Critics have every right to protest and panic-stricken reactions don’t help but relatives of lost loved ones and of returning soldiers are understandably hyper-sensitive. Their boys and girls suffered in, or have just returned from, the hell of war. We must tread carefully for we tread on their dreams.

    Email roy@
    Passed onto me my email.

    Connaught Stranger.

  • #2

    looking at the protests at the homecoming cermony in belfast today is the government not looking at what could go wrong. it is still a very fine line there yet


    • #3
      Cross-border service for war dead

      The cross-border service has been held for the past nine years

      Thousands of fallen soldiers have been honoured at a cross-border commemoration service in County Louth.
      Ex-service groups from both sides of the border paid tribute to the war dead at the only all-Ireland remembrance event on the island.
      The Irish Ex-Service Men's Association and Whiteabbey British Legion branch laid wreaths bearing the Royal Crest and Tricolour in Drogheda.
      The joint memorial service has been held for the past nine years.
      Drogheda Mayor Frank Maher and Newtownabbey Mayor Victor Robinson represented their respective areas.
      The event also included an inter-denominational religious ceremony recalling the service and sacrifice of thousands who joined the British forces to fight in the First World War.
      Brian McCalden, spokesman for Whiteabbey Royal British Legion, said it had grown in size and importance over the past decade.
      "It started off as a handful of people, but has attracted up to 200 in recent years," said Mr McCalden, who was one of organisers. "Last year the Irish Ex-Service Men's Association had 12 people at it, and we expect the same this year. "They remember their soldiers who were killed in all conflicts."

      BBC NI


      • #4
        All Irish people who fought and died have the right to be honoured for their services and sacrifices.

        The current Numbers of Irish serving with the UK AF reflects a new attitude in this country which shows a new attitude toward the differences of the past.

        Now this country has an obligation to honour those people, some of which have died in our time and maybe people whom we ourselves have served alongside at some stage.

        Just beacuse they wanted to do the job in someone elses army doesn't make time any less of an Irish men.

        Times are changing and the sooner the younger generations get over this who glorification of the PIRA etc the sooner our dead can be remember openly and with the honours they deserve.

        It troubles me looking through bebo how many currently serving members of the DF have links to groups claiming support for the IRA etc. These people should be taken to task and discharged and tried for treason.

        I have been digging around on bebo recently and have been horrified to the amount of this going on and am seriously considering reporting some of these people to the relevant military authourities.

        All theat provo clap trap and shite demeans the Df and certain demeans all thoughs who provided security services during this time.

        This needs to be stamped out..and very quickly .

        There is no point in some wanting to improve the level of tribute paid to the fallen while there are still these sick minded little shits in the back round especially when the actually serve in our DF.
        Covid 19 is not over's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe


        • #5
          Its the lack of education, or rather policy of revisionism, about the acts of the PIRA that make the activities of these groups attractive to todays youth, most of whom were in nappies when the provos carried out their worst atrocities.
          You could suggest that the FF government did a lot to encourage this revisionism.

          Lipservice is paid by the Government to the irishmen who died serving for other armies, but the Likes of Willie Redmond etc, do not even make a footnote in history, even though a delegation from the Irish government visited his grave in 1927.

          Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


          • #6
            You will find that most of what Murph is talking about is attributable to younger members of the DF

            these are lads who never had to wake up each morning and recoil in hooror at each news report

            about what these murdering bastards did in our name. .
            Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
            Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
            The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere***
            The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
            The best lack all conviction, while the worst
            Are full of passionate intensity.


            • #7
              I should have highlighted the age profile of some of these littlewankers, it is indeed the junior members who proliferate this crap..and the RDF isn't imune to it either!
              Covid 19 is not over's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe