Irish Examiner View: 100 years after Black and Tans arrived in Ireland grave misjudgements are still possible

Irish Examiner View: 100 years after Black and Tans arrived in Ireland grave misjudgements are still possible

When the first Black and Tans arrived in Ireland 100 years ago today they could not have imagined that a century later they would still, and deservedly, provoke such anger.

Those 8,000 men who signed up, 20% of whom were Irish, may have been beguiled by “pay of 10 shillings a day... and pensions on the highest scale payable to any police force in the UK...” but their deployment was another tragic misjudgment.

Only Cromwell and Trevelyan challenge The Tans’ place in the hierarchy of villains in our long, fractured relationship with Britain.

Most people have, thankfully, moved on from what was the default response to any reference to The Tans but that does not mean their atrocities, or those of their opponents too, have been forgotten.

When Brexit talks resume it will be interesting to see if that progress has been replicated across the Irish Sea.

However, the deep ignorance on Ireland and our expectations so freely offered by a core of Brexiteers suggests they have some way to go.

Grave misjudgements are still possible.

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