More than 200 emails were sent to the Taoiseach’s office in just four days after plans to commemorate the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) were made public.
In the majority of cases, these were sharply critical of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the plan, with many promising never to vote for Fine Gael again if the event went ahead.
One email, sent on January 9, threatened Mr Varadkar, warning him “not to go down any dark alleys”.
In all, 204 emails were sent to the Taoiseach’s office between Monday, January 6, and Thursday, January 9, with many of these also sent to Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and local TDs.
The emails were released to the Irish Examiner under a freedom of information request.
The Government had planned to hold an event at Dublin Castle on January 17 to commemorate members of the RIC and DMP but the plans were sharply criticised due to the connection of the two organisations to the Black and Tans
The event was postponed indefinitely after the angry response from the public.
Dozens of the emails claimed to be from lifelong Fine Gael voters who warned Mr Varadkar they would not voe for the party in the imminent general election due to the commemoration.
One said Mr Varadkar was handing “power over to Fianna Fáil”, while another said: “Acts like this will empower Sinn Féin.”
One supporter said it was “a total miscalculation”, saying that there would be no comeback for Fine Gael after it, while others said they would not be backing local candidates as a result, with Michael D’Arcy and Pat Deering mentioned. Mr Deering subsequently lost his seat in Carlow-Kilkenny.
“All the goodwill you built up over Brexit — and it was enormous — will be gone overnight if you persist in going ahead with this insulting commemoration to the reviled and detested collaborating RIC,” one correspondent said.
“Proceeding with this ill-judged mistake will badly damage Fine Gael and squander its already- depleted political capital,” another said.
The backlash to the event included several lord mayors and mayors confirming they would not attend.
This included the lord mayor of Cork, John Sheehan, who said it would not be appropriate given that his predecessor Tomás Mac Curtain was murdered by the RIC.