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I cannot answer Tony Moriarty’s question about whether he needs an eye test or not (May 2) but I can assure him that the correct state representatives were present at the recent commemoration for members of the Dublin Metropolitan Police killed during the Easter Rising.
The DMP were a British police force. They wore the British crown above the harp on their tunic (similar to the RIC) and they swore an oath of allegiance to the British monarch. It was therefore quite appropriate that the British ambassador was present at the event.
Mr Moriarty must realise, however, that the DMP were far from a popular organisation among the ordinary Dublin working class, who, in their fight for decent pay and conditions saw the Metropolitan Police time and time again take the side of the rich and powerful businessmen and repeatedly baton-charge workers’ rallies and support strike breakers.
On Bloody Sunday, August 31, 1913, the DMP charged a group of union members waiting for James Larkin to address them in O’Connell Street (then Sackville Street) and inflicted horrific injuries on both workers and curious onlookers alike.
Over 400 were injured and two innocent men, James Nolan and John Byrne, were beaten to death. British Liberal MP Frederick Handel Booth who was present, stated that the police “behaved like men possessed, wildly striking with their truncheons at everyone within reach”.
Ernie O’Malley, a future TD, reported seeing women being knocked and kicked on the ground and described hearing “the crunch as heavy sticks struck unprotected skulls”.
Later, Michael Byrne, an ITGWU official from Dún Laoghaire died after being tortured in a police cell.
Another worker, Alice Brady, was shot dead by a strike-breaker as she brought home a food parcel from the union office.
That night, drunken groups of DMP rampaged in the north inner city, breaking into workers’ homes and destroying their possessions. It was largely because of these events that James Connolly and Captain Jack White formed the Irish Citizen Army to protect themselves against violence from the police.
Therefore, I feel that it would be totally inappropriate for there to be any official state commemoration of any sort for this organisation.
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