Ireland’s retired policemen want to honor over 500 members of the Royal Irish Constabulary who were killed by the IRA in the War of Independence – including the Black and Tans.
Representatives of the police force’s Retired Members Association have sent a letter to Prime Minister Enda Kenny and Justice Minister Alan Shatter to that effect.
They want to erect a memorial to the IRA victims at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin, final resting place of the leaders of the 1916 Rising and many other patriots.
The Sunday Independent newspaper reports that the retired officers want to locate the memorial at an existing plot which contains the remains of 102 RIC men who died of natural causes.
According to the paper, the former officers propose to ‘erect commemorative marble headstones bearing the names of 514 RIC members who have otherwise been written out of the official history of the Republic’
The paper says that the list would include policemen like Cornelius Crean, brother of the Antarctic explorer and British Navy sailor Tom Crean who has only received national recognition in recent years.
Retired Garda (police) officer Pat McCarthy told the paper: “The time has come for the State to recognise all who were killed in the War of Independence.
“We have a Garden of Remembrance in Dublin Castle for our 87 members of An Garda Siochana (police) who have lost their lives since the foundation of this State. There is also a Garden of Remembrance in Belfast for 304 members of the RUC and the PSNI.
“Why don’t we have a memorial for the RIC and the DMP? Are they a forgotten race? I am appealing to the Government to give the green light and its full approval for this very worthy project.”
A motion to erect the memorial was passed at the Association’s most recent annual meeting.
Irish Independent columnist and historian Kevin Myers has welcomed the move. Myers said: “There is this mystique about flying columns of IRA men fighting the British army, but for the most part the killing was of RIC men, some coming out of Mass or in front of their families when off-duty.
“Many were killed on patrol and always in ambushes, where 20 or 30 IRA men were involved in killing these policemen, who were alone or in two-man patrols. I agree that they should be remembered.”