After every war, after every border dispute and even after every terror campaign that brought sudden death to public places, a resolution strong enough to sustain a peace is utterly dependent on each side recognising the humanity of the other. This generosity never comes easily.
Enemies need not become friends but enmity must be tempered and set aside. Tragically, this generosity is not yet as widely understood as it should be in this society.
Yesterday, as a monument — a Remembrance Wall — recording the names of all those who died in the 1916 Rising was unveiled in Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery, scuffles broke out between around 100 protesters — many of whom wore 32 County Sovereignty Movement insignia — and gardaí. The protesters objected to the fact that the names of the 1916 dead were displayed chronologically, without distinction between whether the person was military or civilian, Irish or British. This, a century after the event, so offended this minority that they tried to burn a Union Jack, but it was too wet.
And, as ever, Sinn Féin were happy to fan the flames. TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh criticised the event, saying it was “totally inappropriate for a memorial wall to list indiscriminately together Irish freedom fighters and members of the British crown forces”. Sinn Féin styles itself as a progressive party, ready to embrace and lead change, but this position suggests otherwise. By their actions ye shall know them.
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