James Lawless has expressed his delight that the RIC demonstration scheduled for the 17th January of this month has been cancelled by the Government.

The decision comes in the wake of public uproar and the decision of many Fianna Fáil representatives to boycott the ceremony.

“I am delighted to see common sense prevailing as the RIC commemoration event has been cancelled. I wouldn’t have been attending the commemoration for reasons I shall outline below.”

“Firstly, I think it was ill thought out and poorly planned. Also, It does not seem to form a part of the official programme of events which had been approved by the commemorations committee and relevant stakeholders. If there were to be a commemoration to include RIC members, it would be more appropriate that it be held as part of a wider event remembering all of the casualties of that time.”

“It is not appropriate to have a stand out single eulogising of that force, given that that force acted in flagrant defiance of the democratically expressed will of the Irish people as per the 1918 general election which elected the first Dāil which went on to become the sovereign demcratic government of Ireland. The RIC/ Black and Tans were in fact an imperial force which attempted to undermine the democratic government and did so through bloodshed, barbarism and numerous atrocities.”

“My first speech at the count center when I was elected as a TD in 2016 actually reflected and recalled my own Grandmothers experience at the hands of the Black and Tans in Dunmore East where she grew up when they ransacked her house, while she was a child which she had very early memories of, and the same experience is true of households all over Ireland. It is important and appropriate that we remember all sides and that our history and that our remembrance services are inclusive however this does not extend to stand alone single focus ceremonies glorifying what was an occupying force.”

“This is a very different exercise than remembering for example the Irish men who died in the first world war many of whom went out to seek a salary to provide for their families and died in difficult conditions. The RIC were a very different situation, they were an occupying force many of whom were not Irish and many of whom arrived as misfits from other forces who had been already rejected from the primary forces of the British army, the odds and ends who were sent over to Ireland to deliberately rape, murder, and pillage and that is exactly what they did.”

“I understand it is important to be inclusive in our commemorations but that does not extend to stand alone events and where these kinds of events are being planned they should be done so in consultation with relevant stakeholders and in observance with the commemorations committee. That clearly did not happen in this case, it seems to be a solo run by Fine Gael, poorly thought out and it is very clear that public opinion is outraged.”

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