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New Radio programme Irish dead in World War One

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  • New Radio programme Irish dead in World War One

    Myers fires off a Great War volley at RTE

    Sunday November 09 2008
    CONTROVERSIAL journalist Kevin Myers has accused RTE of "airbrushing" him out of history, in their forthcoming radio and public debate series to mark the 90th anniversary of the Armistice and the role of Irish troops in the First World War
    Mr Myers, who researched the role of Irish soldiers in the Great War extensively and was a lone voice in writing about the neglect of their memory through the 1970s and 1980s, said he learned only recently that RTE, in conjunction with the Royal Irish Academy and Trinity College, planned a 10-part radio series and other events starting tomorrow.
    "RTE is starting this project on Monday. At the last minute I was asked if I would like to appear in a debate on the Western Front. That is all. I was alone in writing about this from 1978 onwards.
    "I did a full-page article in the Sunday Independent in 1979, and throughout the 1980s I wrote about the Irish who had survived World War One. I wrote about the Islandbridge Memorial which had been turned into a corporation tip head.
    "I was writing about this amnesia created by this State. TCD lost 500 students and staff in World War One. In the 1960s, the historical syllabus made no mention of Irish involvement in the First World War.
    "If you learned Irish history, you did not know 300,000 served in World War One," he said.
    "A friend rang me and said he had been contacted by RTE about appearing and he had asked the RTE man who was on the list. He listed various people; no mention of Kevin Myers," he added.
    Mr Myers said he received "this last minute invitation" to take part in the audience for a radio broadcast debate but had to decline because of other commitments.
    "They are deliberately writing me out of this series, concealing my role. I am being airbrushed out of history," he said.
    A spokeswoman for RTE said that Mr Myers had been asked on as a panelist to one of their programmes and said the station viewed him as a "valued contributor".
    Mr Myers bought the published list of British Army war dead in the 1980s and spent years going through it, looking for soldiers of Irish birth and who had given addresses in Ireland when they signed up. Previously, the total for Irish war dead had been given as 49,000, but that was based on the numbers of dead from Irish regiments.
    Mr Myers said that this figure, drawn up in 1921, included many British soldiers serving in Irish regiments and was not accurate.
    By trawling through the official list of dead and missing presumed dead -- a total of almost 700,000 -- from the British military archives, he arrived at a figure of 35,000 which he "first revealed in the late 1980s".
    He also wrote extensively about the neglect of the Islandbridge War Memorial in Dublin, built in the 1920s on a design by the architect Edward Lutyens.
    "By the 1970s, the Office of Public Works (OPW) had leased the War Memorial to Dublin City Council which was using it as a tip head. You cannot imagine a more deliberate insult. It was also a camp for itinerants," Mr Myers said.
    The editor of the book accompanying the radio series, Professor John Horne of TCD, said: "The radio series is a set of talks by ten academic historians. The book is the expanded texts of the lectures, plus a large collection of supporting documents.
    "None of the historians concerned (if I can speak for them) feels either that they have a monopoly of the subject or that this is the last word on it," he added.

  • #2
    Kevin Myers strikes again. Well done that man.

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