Who gave Britain right to designate military regiments Irish?

Martin Mansergh (August 11) infers that a rational argument can be made to conclude that, in certain circumstances, Irishmen who fought for British Imperial war aims and Irishmen who fought against them can share a degree of moral equivalence and the appreciation of a grateful nation. He speaks in the context of re-examining ‘historical conflicts’. My grand-uncle was killed with the Irish Guards on the Western Front in October 1916. He was an Irishman but he was not an Irish soldier. He was a British soldier and what good does pretending otherwise do anybody? I clearly did not know him and have no right to speak on his behalf. Yet, because he came from a household steeped in the Fenian and later republican and anti-treaty traditions we can assume that at 27 years of age he was conned by John

Redmond’s need to prove his loyalty to the crown in order to obtain Home Rule. James Connolly wrote at that time: “Our leaders are prepared to sacrifice all the sons of the poor, and all the soul and honour of their nation for the deferred promise of a shadow of liberty.”

The only Irish soldiers killed in the 1914-1918 period were the IRA volunteers killed during the Easter Rising. The need to call British soldiers ‘Irish’ is part of the propaganda to rehabilitate the British army in Ireland. It is the agenda of those who seek an ‘agreed Ireland’ where Britain stays and the Irish agree to it. For republicans this is not an historic conflict. The conflict is clear and present. Britain continues to claim jurisdiction in Ireland, their army continues to occupy our country, their government continues to hijack Irish national symbols in its political and military iconography.  When did Ireland confer upon Britain the right to designate any of its military regiments ‘Irish’.  

Simple humanity compels us to feel sorrow for the deaths of these men and rage for the self-serving lies that butchered them.

Lest we get too sentimental remember that 50 per cent of the Free State army which overthrew the Republic in the Civil War was comprised of ex-British soldiers of Irish provenance.

Certain elements in the 26-county state owe a lot to the British army for their political ascendancy and its historical rehabilitation in those quarters is a natural and painless progression.

President John F Kennedy wrote: “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honours, the men it remembers.”  The 1916 Societies believe we should not honour the British forces which lured so many Irishmen to their deaths, but honour the republican forces who fought to rid them from Ireland so it never happens again.


Clones, Co Monaghan

Principles of Peace People right for society today

In the values they promoted when they first formed in 1976 the Peace People were right then for our society just as those same principles are

right now.

The consistency of their position stands in direct contrast to some of the political ideologies being promoted by others over the last 40 years and where they now find themselves. In particular they won the argument that violence was never going to solve the problems of this island and never will. 

Their clear message was simply the building of relationships through friendship would promote an island at peace with itself whatever the constitutional arrangements.

It was the death of the Maguire children that led to the formation of the Peace People. Also killed in that incident was a young IRA man, Danny Lennon. One of the untold stories of our ‘Troubles’ was that on the anniversary of his death, Anne Maguire, the children’s mother, visited the mother of that young IRA man to express her sympathies at her loss recognising that she had also lost her child.

Too often in our past we failed our children but we have a real opportunity to bed down the increasingly peaceful and stable society we now enjoy.

However, it will require constant vigilance and work and is something we should never take for granted.

Ultimately one of the tragic consequences of that terrible day was that Anne Maguire could not live with the pain of her loss and she eventually took her own life.

It reminds us of the impact on ordinary lives of the use of violence. In memory of her we should commit to the principles promoted by the Peace People and strive harder to build a genuinely peaceful and stable society as our tribute to the victims of the Troubles. 

In that regard it is the story of Anne Maguire and her family we should be emphasising to our young people rather than the story of others that are too often promoted instead.


Holywood, Co Down

Departure from reality

The media’s portrayal of the US presidential race as a choice between good and evil is a betrayal of reason and a cynical departure from reality that demonstrates the worst form of propagandising and exposure of the true forces that govern our world.

Hillary Clinton is a fiction of collaborative interests who make strange bedfellows from Wall Street to Republican hard liners and what can be loosely termed the left in US politics. They have forged an alliance in the hope to prevent someone whose behaviour and thinking poses a serious threat to those interests. Clinton’s smear tactics extend well beyond Trump.

It is employed to vilify anyone viewed as an impediment to her coronation. When Sanders threatened the heir apparent he was castigated as a Russian Trojan horse –decades old quotes about his admiration of Castro and the Sandinistas were circulated in the media. 

Notwithstanding the scandals embroiling her it appears the western world is going to swallow their scepticism and excuse and overlook her deep flaws because the alternative has been labelled dangerous and incompetent. I prefer the term independent.


Belfast BT15

No gain in confrontation

It is right and proper for all of us to remember the internment without trial that was inflicted on the almost entirely non-unionist community and to remember and protect against this wherever it occurs.

Internment without trial or recourse is an abomination.

There is now a situation where there are those charged with an offence yet the prosecutors seek remand on the basis that it hasn’t collated the evidence; that the accused may re-offend; that the accused will abscond or that the accused may interfere with witnesses (if any).

If prosecutors, who have taken away someone’s liberty are unable to within a reasonable space of time produce evidence that may convict, the court must act in defence of the person.

It is my belief that this anti-internment grouping, if it is interested in remand prisoners, ought not to be looking for confrontation with the Parades Commission or police but the machinations of the judiciary.

But that’s if they’re interested.


Derry city

‘White elephant’

It was interesting to read the problems they have had with a land slip at the Gobbins in Islandmagee. Rather than anticipating and hoping for a successful reopening it might be more worthwhile to investigate the possibility that this ‘white elephant’ will ever justify the enormous amount of money that has been spent. If any sensible auditors ever conducted a serious enquiry into the spending of EU and cross-border initiative money they may have a few questions that the people in charge of this particular venture would find hard to answer.


Kesh, Co Fermanagh