“unsuited to a sporting occasion and therefore inappropriate and inconsequential”

While the Secretary of State for Wales, etc, Peter Hain maintains that he had “never proposed doing anything other than attend and watch the match” – despite acknowledging, the day before, that the question of marking the day itself was “being considered and discussed” – in today’s Irish Times the GAA reveals that the suggestion that a wreath be laid at the ground was raised, “rather obliquely”, by the British ambassador.. about 2 weeks ago.. something they say was felt to be “unsuited to a sporting occasion and therefore inappropriate and inconsequential”[subs req]

“The circumstances and manner in which it was proposed weren’t acceptable for something we felt should be done a) in a non-sporting context and b) unequivocally. We weren’t inclined to be receptive to what was felt to be political opportunism.”

From the report [subs stiil req]

The basis for this strong reaction is that the idea of a formal gesture was not at any stage contemplated or encouraged by the GAA and the fact that it was nonetheless pursued even to the point where yesterday’s briefing implied that the issue was up for negotiation has clearly irked the association.

It is believed that the raising of the commemoration during the above courtesy visit was a surprise to the GAA delegation of president Nickey Brennan, director general Liam Mulvihill and Lynch, who says that this was an unwelcome development.

“The approach lacked sensitivity and understanding as to how this matter should be dealt with. Our belief was that it should be a stand-alone exercise conducted genuinely and unequivocally without any ambiguity about the gesture. The reality is that this was placed on the public agenda through leaks to try and pre-empt our reaction.”

And the report also sets out the GAA’s reasons for rejecting such an “inappropriate and inconsequential” gesture

One was the context of the weekend’s rugby match and the overtones of reconciliation in respect of an event for which the association clearly feels an outright apology is due.

Although the GAA has always maintained the significance of its members’ sacrifice on Bloody Sunday it has equally always distanced itself from the actions of Michael Collins’s agents in killing British military personnel that morning, which led to the reprisal at Croke Park.

After weighing up the situation, the authorities had decided to proceed with the Dublin-Tipperary challenge match that day in November 1920 precisely because it was felt that to do otherwise would in some way associate the GAA with what had happened earlier in the day.

The second reason for the reluctance is the stated belief that a sports fixture is not the appropriate time to come to terms with something that, although it took place during a match, has long ago grown into a broader political concern. Given that Saturday is an IRFU occasion, from which the GAA will deliberately step back, the weekend’s match is seen as an especially unsuitable platform for any such gesture.

Finally, there is a strong concern that the use of Croke Park by other sports shouldn’t be confused in any way with such a powerful political and historical context.

, , , , ,

  • Niall

    Political opportunism – exactly. Another good decision by the GAA. Now if they would just get rid of the provincial championships for hurling.

  • Steaky

    I think we should adopt the baseball tradition i.e. having someone throw out the first pitch.

    What better gesture to see Sleazy Hain in his Armani’s trying to kick the ball for touch.
    You could maybe ask Bertie to attempt to return it. Actually I am just hoping that someone would flattened them, wishful thinking I know.

    Its sport people, I have friends going and they have a few gestures for the English that they have been practising but to politicise it is just pointless.

  • Niall

    Bishops used to throw in the ball at All-Ireland finals. That should be brought back for the England game.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “What better gesture to see Sleazy Hain in his Armani’s trying to kick the ball for touch”

    Brilliant- especially if Neil and Rory Best could then lead the irish pack in flattening him and trampling him into the mud in a gratuitously over the top ruck as he tries to slime off the pitch

  • Harris

    RTE News 19th February 2007 18.02PM

    British & Irish Governments Plan Ceremony in Croke Park Northern Ireland Minister Peter Hain has announced details of a joint ceremony before Irelands crunch game against England in Croke Park on the 24th February.

    The significance of the game is not lost on GAA followers and republicans who remember the infamous shooting of 14 players and supporters by the British Army on the 21st November 1921.

    However according to GAA spokesman Ulick Magee a plan being devised by the GAA and the Northern Ireland office, will attempt to draw a line under the incident.

    “We’ve spoken to the British government and they understand the significance of the event back in 1921. Back then 14 people were killed by British forces so in the spirit of the peace process and friendship we’re proposing that we shoot 14 of their lot before the match. Then maybe have fireworks afterwards or something.” Said Mr Magee.

    Government Reaction
    The plan has had a mixed reaction from Downing Street. Prime Minister Tony Blair thinks the idea has merit but said that it needs to be done properly and with dignity.

    “Frankly I think its a small price to pay for progression in Anglo-Irish affairs, but I think the idea of getting Ray Houghton to do the shooting would be too much for many English fans to take particularly after his goal against us back in 1988. And he’s Scottish which is worse.”

    Proposed Victims
    According to informed sources, the GAA and Number 10 have already drawn up a list of names for those to be shot. The list, which is not yet agreed, is thought to be a compromise of people that both the Irish and English public dislike. Among the names are moaney-hole singer James Blunt, foul mouth idiot Jade Goody, Trinny & Suzannah, Man Utd donkey Rio Ferdinand, cream cake expert Vanessa Feltz, “comedian” Russell Brand and any of the blokes who do outside broadcasts for Sky News.

    But discussions took an ironic twist when both sides agreed on shooting Belfast singer Brian Kennedy, but neither side agreed on what nationality he was. GAA representatives claim he’s British with their Foreign Office counterparts claiming he’s Irish. The Irish claimed no Irishman should sing or dance in such a manner and the English saying he couldn’t be a Brit because he had no tattoos on his forearm and didn’t wear Ben Sherman shirts.
    However there was eventual consensus that he should be shot regardless of his nationality.

    Plans agreed
    The shooting will be carried out my members of the 2nd Infantry Battalion from Cathal Brugha Barracks in Dublin. The original idea to get the FCA to carry out the executions were dropped when they revealed that their rifles are in fact made of baked-plastercine. Similarly the Garda Emergency Response Unit was discounted for fear they’d shoot more innocent civilians then claim overtime for it.

  • parcifal

    fascinating serious of exchanges in the run up to an historical event:
    Hope its a great game, and Ireland doesn’t get massacred.

  • Steaky

    Niall,
    I for one would prefer not to see Irish Bishops throwing their balls anywhere.

  • barney

    harris

    that wasn’t particularly interesting first time round, give it a rest lad.

    Well done to the GAA, things have improved considerably under Nicky Brennan, thank God the eejit of a Kelly has moved on to quango quango land. Hopefully he’s the last Kerry man ever to hold a position of responsibility in the GAA.

  • John East Belfast

    The GAA tends to forget the context in which the shootings took place – doesnt excuse it but if you are interested in why and how it is not cut and dry.

    ie didnt it occur within 24 hours of those cold blooded assasinations of several soldiers and agents throughout Dublin ?
    Werent two wounded auxiliaries taken out and executed without mercy?
    Hadnt the GAA used Croke Park and other of its venues for fund raising activities for the ‘volunteers’

    In other words the Black in Tans just didnt walk in some Saturday completely out of the blue and start shooting people.

    Tempers and emotions were running high on all sides.

    In my opinion Sorry is a great word but Forgiveness even better and in terms of historical events when there is nobody alive who was there then wreath laying etc should be reciprocal.

    ie I didnt see any offer by the GAA to simultaneously lay a wreath for the ‘crown forces’ killed during that period.

    If they cant bring themsleves to do that then the British have no need to act unilaterally.

  • nmc

    ie didnt it occur within 24 hours of those cold blooded assasinations of several soldiers and agents throughout Dublin ?

    Soldiers are killed in their duty, so an acceptable response is to execute a random selection of civilians?

    In any other situation, it would be considered a war crime, but to some executing Irish people isn’t quite the same thing as executing non-Irish people.

  • Aaron McDaid

    JEB,
    What context? Killing gaelic football fans in response to IRA actions would make as much sense as the British Army killing cricket fans in Lords in response to IRA actions.

    There was an intention to kill 100% innocent civilians, with no reason to believe there were any IRA members were among the crowd. There wasn’t even a suggestion that they would be targetting ‘sympathisers’ of the IRA.

    If you’re going to start apologising for British state terrorism, I recommend you try to justify something else – Bloody Sunday 1920 is about as clearly unjustifiable as anything in the history of the world.

    JEB,
    I normally am interested in your contributions, even though I usually disagree. This is not one of your best though.

  • Steaky

    John East Belfast,
    For the interesting, if not empathic history lesson, I thank you, it should ensure a lot of responses, and take the attention away from my Carry on All-Ireland like posts.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Bishops used to throw in the ball at All-Ireland finals. That should be brought back for the England game. ‘

    I agree but this time throw in the bishops 🙂 Some of them could do with a kicking!

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Soldiers are killed in their duty, so an acceptable response is to execute a random selection of civilians?”

    Here we go again. The evil Brits have to use Marquis of Queensbury rules at all times, but the IRA are allowed to do whatever they want, cos it wouldn’t be fair to expect a hotchpotch of plucky amateur “guerrillas” to be expected to adhere to any kind of standard in conducting their self-appointed “war”.

    There is a qualitative diference of course. The fact that even the evil Brits recognise the actions of the black and tans are indenfensible is in marked contrast to the truculent refusal of the IRA apologists to admit that they ever did anything even slightly morally wrong.Oh we’ll here the “terrible things happen in a war” cant, but that be applied equally to the Croke park killings to those not wearing their MOPE glasses.

  • Fraggle

    “The GAA tends to forget the context in which the shootings took place – doesnt excuse it but if you are interested in why and how it is not cut and dry.”

    First of all, the GAA does not tend to forget the context. The context is mentioned in the article:

    “Although the GAA has always maintained the significance of its members’ sacrifice on Bloody Sunday it has equally always distanced itself from the actions of Michael Collins’s agents in killing British military personnel that morning, which led to the reprisal at Croke Park.”

    Secondly, executing innocent civilians at a sporting event is very much cut and dried. It’s a total disgrace to suggest otherwise.

    You would do well to consider the overall context yourself. At that point, Ireland and Britain were one country. There was a violent insurrection under way but the civilians at that football match were equal to any other citizen of the UK. This act in effect vindicated the position of independance movement. It showed that the British didn’t consider the kingdom ‘united’. They were behaving as an occupation force committing war-crimes and not as the forces of law and order stamping out a criminal insurrection.

  • George

    Darth,

    “The fact that even the evil Brits recognise the actions of the black and tans are indenfensible is in marked contrast to the truculent refusal of the IRA apologists to admit that they ever did anything even slightly morally wrong.”

    I suppose that’s why Queen Elizabeth and Tony Blair saw fit to honour them only last April?

  • George

    April 2005,
    my how time flies.

  • nmc

    Nothing to do with “evil brits”. It’s everything to do with war crimes under the International Criminal Court. It’s down in black and white. Perhaps you think war crimes should go unpunished generally, or perhaps it’s only Irish catholics who don’t get the protection afforded to everyone else on earth.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_crime

    The following acts as part of an international conflict [apply as war crimes]:
    Directing attacks against civilians

  • Aaron McDaid

    Darth,
    You’ll will have to try better obviously. It was a football match, not an IRA convention. It would have made just as much sense to execute cricket fans at Lords in retaliation for the IRA action – i.e. no sense.

    What do you say to those demanding an apology who themselves have nothing to do with any IRA?

  • Aaron McDaid

    Put another way:

    1. Group A kills Person B.
    2. Person B’s family demand an apology.
    3. Group A says “It is OK to kill B because Group C still haven’t apologized for killing D”
    4. Family say “What the f*ck have C and D got to do with it?”

    The UK government haven’t a leg to stand on. If they did, then I’d be justified in going to France and kill some boules players in revenge for the Croke Park massacre.

  • confused

    The British are not the only ones to apologize. This debate will go on for ever until someone makes the first move.
    To bring this to a conclusion let both Governments apologise together for the wrong doing for which each is responsible. No one expects the IRA or loyalist para militaries to apologize because neither had any legitimacy.
    All participants have blood on their hands and one is as bad as the other.
    A day of reconciliation should be set aside and then the past forgotten. Why should one generation be carrying the guilt for acts carried out 100 years ago . We have enough problems dealing with what has taken place in our own lifetime.

  • Aaron McDaid

    confused,
    The British are not the only ones to apologize.
    All participants have blood on their hands

    Innocent, non-IRA supporting children who happen to follow Gaelic football are “participants” and should apologize? What for? “Forgive me, I follow football?”

    Remember this was an intentional killing of civilians only.

  • Papist lovin’ Romanist

    Darth and JEB,

    So if a Loyalist para group killed some people, you would consider it totaly acceptable for a sqaud to go into a Linfield match and start shooting into the crowd?
    Or is there a marked difference between a Linfield crowd, and a GAA crowd, i.e. one crowd is innocent until proven otherwise on an individual basis, while the other crowd, every man, woman and child deserves what they get as they are clearly all sympathisers as their very attendance at such an unholy event proves?

  • confused

    A McDaid

  • confused

    The people attending Croke Park were certainly innocent. The civil servants murdered the previous day were also innocent.
    My main point is that we can not be responsible for the actions of our great grandparents nor can one government be held responsible for its predecessors.
    An apology from Britain at this time is meaningless. Our histories have intertwined for centuries and some terrible things have been done on both sides. Let history make a judgement on these matters.
    We should be thinking of reconciliation and not seeking to score points of each other because there is no end to that game and it is futile.

  • John East Belfast

    I never said it was right – I am just saying that if the GAA gets ‘involved’ with a bloody insurrection then shouldnt it share in the responsibility ?

    The GAA are not a purely sporting organisation – they have a strong cultural as well as political bent – the latter being its opposition to British Rule in Ireland.

    During the post War to 1921 conflict that opposition led it to often backing the volunteers including having its grounds used for fund raising events.
    Hogan from the Tipperary team killed that day was an IRA Officer himself.

    Indeed if you see how political they are today God only knows how intense that was 90 years ago.

    It is only last week that any sport other than GAA was allowed to play at Croke park.
    Just last year the Antrim GAA thumbed their noses at GAA HQ who had neither the balls nor the will to stop or punish them for hosting an H Block commemoration rally.
    Also last year – was it the GAA President ? – who opened a new GAA facility named after another ‘modern’ volunteer ?

    Dont tell me the GAA are just a sporting organisation.

    Once again the murder by state forces of unarmed and innocent civilians is wrong – I am as adament about that today as I would be then and have always been consistant about that.

    Its just I cant stand all this pious indignation from the GAA as if their hands are clean.

  • Cahal

    “Once again the murder by state forces of unarmed and innocent civilians is wrong – I am as adament about that today as I would be then and have always been consistant about that.”

    But….

  • confused on Feb 20, 2007 @ 04:54 PM wrote “The British are not the only ones to apologize. This debate will go on for ever until someone makes the first move.
    To bring this to a conclusion let both Governments apologise together for the wrong doing for which each is responsible. “
    the ROI Govt have nothing to apologize for relating to the 30 years of Troubles (except maybe Garrett & CCOB for their neglect of victims & course of law / investigation after the Dub Monaghan bombs). Whitehall and the British Army on the other hand have to apologize for numberous atrocities from Bloody Sunday, Dub / Monaghan bombs, 1980’s shoot-to-kill to the present Mount Vernon killings.

    “No one expects the IRA or loyalist para militaries to apologize because neither had any legitimacy.
    All participants have blood on their hands and one is as bad as the other. “
    there was legitimacy bestowed on the Mount Vernon crowd in the recent few years… a direct line of policy from the Glenanne gang in the 70’s. Whitehall and the British Army didn’t consider ‘one is as bad as the other’ but developed a hierarchy in blood… nationalist blood spilt good, loyalist blood bad.

    ”A day of reconciliation should be set aside and then the past forgotten. “
    And you’d want this on Nov11th and expect nationalist to wear a poppy, right? I think you’ve read and fallen for the BBC / British Govt line that they’re concern bystanders & not involved. However, truth be told… the British Govt’s are some of the worst participants. The ROI govt on the other hand were and are innocent and aimed / aim to mend fences and bring about reconciliation.

    “The civil servants murdered the previous day were also innocent. “
    wrong, they were an force of anti democratic agents working against the democratic mandate of the voters. Civil Servants my arse, they were a bunch of low spies who weren’t even respected by their leaders… cannon fodder to use the terminology of the times.

    “My main point is that we can not be responsible for the actions of our great grandparents nor can one government be held responsible for its predecessors. “
    I’m not asking for any contempory to be responsible but all to recognize and admit the activities which took place in Irel back then and in NI subsequently in your name. Black & Tans, Bloody Sunday Croker, partition took place for England and/or unionist benefits. Gerrymandering, discrimination / sectarianism, Bloody Sunday Derry & Mount Vernon took place in NI for the benefit of Whitehall and unionists.

    ”An apology from Britain at this time is meaningless.”
    Agreed. Don’t try and shove an apology down nationalist throats and think that now everything is in the past.

    “…and some terrible things have been done on both sides. Let history make a judgement on these matters. “ again with the ‘both sides are as bad’… that just isn’t the case relating to the govts nor in the British Army’s activities in supporting loyalists.

  • confused

    Anon
    You miss the point completely. If you wish to highlight these events I am surprised you did not mention the help given to PIRA by members of the FF government in the early seventies to murder fellow Irishmen in he north but perhaps you do not know the real meaning of Republicanism.
    Why did it take nearly 25 years to bring the Law into line and allow extradition while at the same time turn a blind eye to activities if IRA?
    You mention A mandate —-What mandate?
    There was never a free all Ireland election.
    Unionists were shot in their beds and in front of their families. If that is your definition of democracy I am glad the Irish people have frustrated you plans for the last 80 years.
    I did not mention 11 Nov as a date for reconciliation. This is to be sorted out by Irishmen when tempers improve.

  • jim

    jeb

    I presume you would agree that the IFA are also not a purely sporting organisation.

    After all they had no problems or objections to a minute’s silence being held to the political leader of the UVF , with little thought for the hundreds of Catholic & Protestant victims of the fully armed and active terrorist organisation.

    The strong protestant fundamentalist influence within the association will still not allow football to be played at any level on a Sunday, one of the only leagues in the world that still enforces such a sectarian and backward rule.

    The IFA has never made a public statement condemning the thousands of supporters who continue to shout the loyalist ‘ no surrender’chant during games at Windsor Park, eventhough the run a campaign claiming to be against sectariamism and bigotry.

  • me

    confused to claim some sort of equivalence between innocent gaa supporters and active british military counterintelligence agents or “civil servants” as you coyly referred to them is ridiculous.those civil servants had been killing some of there opposite numbers in the IRA in the preceding weeks and were hardly nonparticipants in the war.if they were dragging IRA men out of their beds and executing them in front of their wives it was brutish but yould have to concede that those IRA men were participants also and they had effectively signed up for the risk.but mowing down innocent sporting participants was just sickening and indefensible
    JEB-“Tempers and emotions were running high on all sides”.they always do in times of civil strife or war.thats why people have to keep some semblance of humanity and decency something the tans clearly failed to do that day.that tired old excuse gives people carte blanche to carry out atrocities.would you allow it to be applied to those 2 soldiers who were beaten to death after the attacks by michael stone???

  • John East Belfast

    Jim

    “I presume you would agree that the IFA are also not a purely sporting organisation.”

    I couldnt disagree more – there is no comparison between the IFA and the GAA.
    Indeed I am trying to think of a sporting organisation anywhere in the world that is comparable to the GAA and I cant think of one.

    However it contained until quite recently Rules and discriminations that could be paralleled with similar sentiments in sporting bodies in apartheid South Africa.

    “After all they had no problems or objections to a minute’s silence being held to the political leader of the UVF , with little thought for the hundreds of Catholic & Protestant victims of the fully armed and active terrorist organisation.”

    My opposition to the whole beatification of Ervine has been recorded on Slugger so I wont answer for anyone on that.
    I am not sure if it was an IFA thing or a Glentoran one – although Cliftonville didnt appear to object ?.
    However whoever was behind it can put themselves in the same company as the US, British & Irish govts, our own Chief Constable and just about it would appear everyone else.
    I share your sentiments but alas we appear to be the minority

    “The strong protestant fundamentalist influence within the association will still not allow football to be played at any level on a Sunday, one of the only leagues in the world that still enforces such a sectarian and backward rule.”

    I dont know the background to all the arguments here but respecting long held religious beliefs of society does not make an organisation less sporting.

    “The IFA has never made a public statement condemning the thousands of supporters who continue to shout the loyalist ‘ no surrender’chant during games at Windsor Park, eventhough the run a campaign claiming to be against sectariamism and bigotry”

    That No Surrender cry is a side show – and indeed you are more offended by the section of the crowd that shout it than the words itself.
    ie “No Surrender” is a slogan that very much epitomises the spirit of the Northern Irish team.

    That it has its routes in the siege of Derry true – but it is something that is engrained in the Northern Irish Protestant mindset.

    If we are going to share this part of the earth then we need to start respecting where each other is coming from and drawing on each community’s strengths rather than trying to silence each other.

    However it could be easily dealt with by stopping GSTQ @ NI Internationals which I would support and which I believe will eventually occur.

  • John East Belfast

    me

    I have already said the shootings that day were wrong.

    However as you are condemning all those civil servants as deserving being shot would you include Hogan, the IRA Volunteer and Tipperary player shot in the Park as a legitimate target for the Tans that day?

  • Globetrotter

    JEB

    The “Cairo Gang” were far from being a bunch of civil servants.

    So the whole Croke Park thing was just an arrest operation aimed at Hogan that went tragically wrong then?

  • confused on Feb 20, 2007 @ 11:42 PM wrote “…you did not mention the help given to PIRA by members of the FF government in the early seventies…. “
    I’m sure you’re referring to the Arms Crisis when govts ministers properly attempted to assist the unarmed nationalist population from the murderous BSpecials RUC & loyalist gangs. Then this is a proper and justifiable action which failed due to the weakness of Jack Lynch. The state sponsored terrorism from Stormont needed to be defended against and with the encouragement of later members of the sdlp the ROI govt should have followed thro in defending nationalists. However, none of this can in any way, shape or form compares to the systematic sectarian discrim and continued belligerent behaviour taken by the Stormont govt and later the Westminster govts. Therefore the ROI has nothing, repeat nothing, to apologise for while the British govt should, relating to the cases I listed previously.

    ”Why did it take nearly 25 years to bring the Law into line and allow extradition while at the same time turn a blind eye to activities if IRA? “
    because the Irish govt, rightly, wouldn’t hand over Irish citizens to an unjust and sectarian legal system. Are you trying to compare this to the atrocities committed against the nationalists by Stormont & Westmonster… incomparable?

    Care to comment on any of the numerous examples I listed in my earlier post?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    JEB

    Sorry to interrupt but I feel I must.

    “However as you are condemning all those civil servants as deserving being shot would you include Hogan, the IRA Volunteer and Tipperary player shot in the Park as a legitimate target for the Tans that day?”

    First off, can you substantiate the claim that Hogan was an IRA volunteer? (You may be right but this is the first time I have ever heard this allegation.)

    Secondly, you have consistently referred to the Cairo Gang as “civil servants”. While it’s true that they drew their salaries from HMG, can I just clarify what you mean when you describe them as “civil servants”? What do you think their job actually was?

    I’ll tell you the historical verdict on the Cairo Gang, a verdict not disputed by even the most true blue, pro-imperial British historians.

    The Cairo Gang was a specially-recruited assassination squad. A crack unit of spies and assassins, they had spent months in Dublin putting together a “hit list” of high-ranking republicans they were priming for assassination. Upon hearing of the formation of the gang, Collins organised a crack unit of his own, the so-called Twelve Apostles – some of whom were on the Cairo Gang’s hit list – and the assassinations of Bloody Sunday were the result. In one fell swoop, much of the Cairo Gang was wiped out and its effectiveness was destroyed.

    By any definition the Cairo Gang were combatants. The manner of their deaths at the hands of their enemies was identical to the manner of the deaths they planned for those same enemies. Collins’s swoop was as clear a case of pre-emption as you’ll ever see. An assassination squad assassinated by those they were planning to assassinate.

    Now, I’m a pacifist by nature but even I can see that, in the context of a war, the elimination of the Cairo Gang was (for want of a better word) fair. The morality of killing seems misplaced when dealing with a case where clearly one side simply beat the other to the punch.

    None of which detracts from the reality that the Croke Park massacre was a crime against humanity that, perhaps more than any other single event, destroyed whatever moral authority Britain might have had in Ireland. Your attempts to draw a moral equivalence between the elimination of the Cairo Gang and the massacre of innocents at Croke Park demonstrates a crude tit-for-tat mentality and a flagrant sectarianism.

    It is true but irrelevant to say that the operation was scheduled to coincide with the big Dublin-Tipperary game at Croker later that day, as Collins reckoned this would give his men a crowd into which they could disappear. The GAA decided to proceed with the game precisely because they wished to distance themselves from the IRA. Collins sought to take advantage of the GAA, apparently supposing that, with no actual targets to aim for, the crown forces would have no choice but to retire in frustration – that they would not fire indiscriminately into a crowd, masacring innocent men, women and children. He was wrong.

    You also said: “It’s just I can’t stand all this pious indignation from the GAA as if their hands are clean.”

    Can you expand on this? In what way are the GAA’s hand “unclean”?

  • me

    by JEBs defintion the black and tans that day would also qualify as being “civil servants”.so for that matter would the british army in Iraq today-I can see the headlines now-3 civil servants killed in attack by insurgents

  • me

    wiki-A civil servant or public servant is a civilian career public sector employee working for a government department or agency. The term explicitly excludes the armed services.
    Ive never heard that michael hogan was an IRA volunteer and i doubt he was.even if he was the tans certainly weren,t aware of that fact when they shot him so I dont believe he was a legitimate target.