Times Change.

Wide-ranging article in the Sunday Times Comment: Liam Clarke: Nationalist support must not be undermined again that looks at changing attitudes within the nationalist and republican community to those who served with British Forces in two World Wars. Something that wasn’t widely covered in the media this week, although it was carried by the Irish News, – the NI chairman of the Royal British Legion attended an event organised by Coiste na n-Iarchimi, the republican ex-prisoners’ group.

Republicans honour Irish war dead

From The Irish News Article on Friday:

A representative of the Royal British Legion was one of the speakers at an event on remembrance organised by a republican ex-prisoners organisation yesterday.

The conference examined the theme of commemorating the Irish sacrifice in the two World Wars and the reasons why the nationalist tradition has difficulties in identifying with the wearing of the poppy and the traditional Armistice Day ceremonies.

Chris Carson, Northern Ireland chairman of the Royal British Legion, told the conference his group had recently arranged for northern ex-servicemen to attend a ceremony at the war memorial in Drogheda in memory of three hundred local men who died in the Great War.

and

”Sinn Fein councillor Tom Hartley said that in the changed climate of the peace process it was now possible for republicans and nationalists to remember the victims of Flanders and Gallipoli.

The conference at the Linen Hall Library in Belfast was organised by republican ex-prisoners group Coisde na Iarceimi.”

From the Sunday Times article:

“Eamon Phoenix, the historian, told how the support of Irish nationalists for British wars was undermined and transformed into outright opposition to the British link by events such as the treatment of demobbed soldiers after the first world war. Many nationalists who got jobs in the shipyards were violently expelled as disloyal infiltrators by sectarian mobs despite their military service.

That radicalised many but, even so, support for the British armed forces persisted within nationalism for years.Until 1925, for instance, a rally of the Ancient Order of Hibernians was addressed, each Remembrance Day, by Sir James Craig, the unionist prime minister. The tradition ended abruptly when he pushed his luck too far and alienated the avowedly nationalist group by telling them that they must support the principles of unionism.

That was a bridge too far and, as the DUP comes to grips with Sinn Fein, it may care to reflect on Craig’s mistake in pushing nationalist co-operation past what could be delivered. This is not the first time nationalists have been willing to work with unionists to achieve stability. There has always been a willingness to give practical support to the institutions of the state while fully intending to change them by democratic means as soon as they can.”

Also in the Sunday Times article, the moving story of How Roy Garland and Gusty Spence helped Martin Meehan find the grave of his grandfather, Camillus Clarke, who died in Belgium during WWI.

(In Bold A.U.)

  • David Vance

    Not for the first time, a Royal British Legion official brings shame upon his organisation. I look forward to Mr. Carson’s visit to Berlin to lay a wreath in memory of all those who lost their lives in the 1939-1945 “conflict”. Pass the sickbag.

    Roy Garland and Martin Meehan..says it all.

  • Davros

    David, you sound like those in the bible who complained at sinners being welcomed back into the fold….

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    If DV is as peeved of Mr Carson as he claims he should of course complain through the channels of the British Legion. I’m sure such a firm defender of the empire does qualify for Legion membership.

  • Davros

    Ooooohhhhh Pat, that’s catty 😉

  • alex s

    DV is typical of a lot of unionists, they find fault in the detail while missing the important point, a bit like their response to the GFA

  • David Vance

    Pat may not be aware that the greatest contribution one can make to the RBL is in financial contributions for the sterling work it carries out. I’m sure Pat buys and wears his Poppy with pride – and so do I.

    As for alex s and his “typical of a lot of unionists” generalisation…honestly, what does one say??? I find fault in the SUBSTANCE – just like I did with the Belfast Agreement. This risible “hands acroos the divide” kindergarten story by Clark probably DOES have an appeal to pro-Agreement types who evidently lack the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. They thought it was RIGHT for killers to walk free from justice, so I SUPPOSE it’s not much of a stretch to praise Nazi sympathisers now posing as best friends of the RBL. Plus ca change!

  • alex s

    DV are you saying that thousands of catholic Irishmen didn’t die fighting for the British in the two world wars, especially the first?

  • Davros

    That’s a strange question alex. I don’t see any suggestion in what David wrote that he suggested that thousands of catholic Irishmen didn’t die fighting for the British in the two world wars.

  • alex s

    Davros, was that not the substance of Clarkes’ article that David referred to?

  • David Vance

    Exactly right, Davros.

    I refer to those republicans who gave support to the Nazi Party. I appreciate how awkward this may be but it seems only balanced to point out the historical resonance between the Nazis and Sinn Fein/IRA. I know well that many brave Irishmen gave their lives fighting against Germany – for too many years their bravery has gone unrecorded by their OWN country.

  • Davros

    Davros, was that not the substance of Clarkes’ article that David referred to?

    No.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    DV,

    there wouldn’t be a Legion to contribute conscience money to if others hadn’t died in the ditch. I take it that you cannot qualify for membership. Mr Carson who obviously did more than talk about queen and country obviously does.

  • Davros

    Perilously close Pat with the conscience money dig. The RM is asking that people respect their dead and we have seen irate posts here by republicans because that was not being accorded.

  • Davros

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