January 17

Commemorating the RIC and the Black and Tans

Shocking and inappropriate - Martin Kenny TD

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The day Black and Tan soldiers stopped a Kildare GAA match and interrogated players

Black and Tans pictured in Dublin in 1921.

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Martin Kenny TD has said government plans to commemorate the Royal Irish Constabulary and its auxiliary force the Black and Tans along with the Dublin Metropolitan Police on January 17 next are shocking and inappropriate.

“There is certainly no public demand for this as most Irish people recognise that the RIC and the Black and Tans were brutal enforcers of British rule in Ireland.

“While some people may have regard for deceased family members who were in these colonialist militias, it is up to them to commemorate them individually. Everyone has a right to mourn their dead. However, it is for the British, whom they served, to commemorate them as a force if they wish.

"In no other State formed from anti-colonial struggle would they celebrate the deeds of oppressors. This is more Fine Gael revisionism, from a party which would like to see more emphasis placed on celebrating partition and the Government of Ireland Act than 1916 and the struggle for independence.

“British police and military in Ireland ruled with terror for centuries, from the RIC with their battering rams evicting families during the Great Hunger, to the Dublin Metropolitan Police attacking and murdering poor workers during the 1913 lock out. 

“One hundred years ago the war of Independence was raging, as the RIC and Black and Tans pillaged, murdered and burned out communities across the country, in their attempt to enforce the rule of the British Empire.

"It is shocking that this government would think it right that these oppressive brutal colonial militias, should be honoured for their service,” Deputy Kenny said.