Ireland’s Great War victims – a true story that’s still hard to confront

THE indefatigable Tom Cooper has written an important and uncomfortable letter (March 1) on the subject of the cynical exploitation of the Irish war dead in the First World War.

Some of his points bear the ring of truth, a truth that is still difficult for many of us to confront.

The Irish who fought alongside the British in that war, followers of John Redmond (Clongowes and Dublin University) and supporters of Home Rule, were indeed lied to and deceived by the British (as indeed was TE Lawrence, Meyricke Exhibitioner, Jesus College Oxford) in Arabia in 1918.

The sons of those killed at Mons and on the Somme (and more particularly in Gallipoli at Cape Helles on April 25, 1915, on V Beach in the Dublin and Munster Fusiliers) and at Suvla Bay on August 7, 1915 in the 10th (Irish) Division were indeed subsequently terrorised in their Irish homes by the Black and Tans sent to Ireland by Lloyd George and Bonar Law in 1920.

It is a part of the truth of Irish and British history that we have all had to confront.

And must still confront. But it is only a part of the truth. It is not the whole truth.

Gerald Morgan

School of English

Trinity College Dublin

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