Collins knew how to free all nationalists

YOUR columnist Diarmaid Ferriter (August 23) wrote that neither Collins nor his contemporaries had any idea how to free their own fellow nationalists in the North from “the shackles of oppression”.

I beg to differ. It is a (seemingly) little-known fact that while Collins was drilling a hole in the anti-Treaty republicans during the Civil War, he was simultaneously giving weapons to the Northern IRA units for protection against sectarian paramilitaries and policemen.

He was therefore doing the very best he could and thus won the support of the majority of the Northern command (with the exception of Frank Aiken). Thus we can say Collins did his best to help every citizen of Ireland on both sides of the border.

By accepting the Treaty, he originated the concept of the principle of consent. Michael Noonan and Enda Kenny, if they even know about his gun-running activities, have a barefaced cheek to claim any connections with him.

In 1974, FG and Labour capitulated in the aftermath of the Dublin/Monaghan bombings, proving they were unwilling (not unable) to stand up for their own citizens, let alone help the beleaguered Ulster nationalist community.

Bertie Ahern would have us believe loyalist paramilitaries will go away if we give them enough money. What courage! This country still needs a Michael Collins.

Justin Scannell

16 Richmond

Glanmire

Co Cork

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