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The committee of the National Graves Association would like to bring to your attention the on-going situation with the historic Kilmichael ambush site in Co Cork.
Two local committees, The Kilmichael and Crossbarry Commemoration Committee and The Kilmichael Historical Society, sought and received planning permission from Cork County Council to build major additions to the site. We believe that this site is of such obvious importance nationally that major additions or alterations should not be the sole prerogative of local committees and Cork County Council.
We are particularly concerned with the intention in the planning application (which was approved by Cork County Council) to build a commemorative area dedicated to the Auxiliaries who died in the ambush. Despite the briefness of the deployment in Ireland their litany of atrocities and abuse of the civilian population is legendary. From Bloody Sunday to the sacking of Cork, from the burning of homes in Clare to the destruction in Trim. So bad was their behaviour that their commanding officer, General Crozier, resigned his commission.
We believe it is ludicrous to attempt to create a parity of esteem between the Volunteers and the Auxiliaries. Tom Barry’s men went out to defend Dáil Eireann and the sovereignty of Ireland. Against this is the background of the highly paid mercenary Auxiliaries who opposed our Volunteers with a campaign of murder, looting, and destruction. Considering the fact that the British authorities have never seen fit (to the best of our knowledge) to build any form of commemorative structure to the Auxiliaries or the Black and Tans, we believe that it is an appalling affront to do so here, particularly at a site like Kilmichael.
The Auxiliaries at Kilmichael broke battlefield honour, with a false surrender which led to the murder of three Volunteers that rose to accept it. No honour is due to the Auxiliaries from the Irish people. These criminals were put down for their activities by the Volunteers.
We note that the Kilmichael/Crossbarry Committee now state that they will not build a commemorative structure to the Auxiliaries as per their planning permission. But, when asked if there will be a commemorative area to the Auxiliaries the chairman, Seán Kelleher, is reported to have said “not as such”. We believe that this sort of vague response is wholly inadequate considering the national importance of the issue and the controversy surrounding the proposals. We would ask all public representatives to bring clarity to this matter in any way they can.
National Graves Association
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