Government defers its controversial RIC commemoration

The Government has deferred the planned commemoration of the Royal Irish Constabulary and Dublin Metropolitan Police in Irish history.

The event had been widely criticised by TDs, elected representatives and members of the public.

A number of ministers and opposition politicians had already said they would boycott the event.

The RIC and DMP fought rebels during the 1919-1921 War of Independence.

They were supplemented by the Black and Tans and ‘Auxiliaries’, who became known for their brutality, in 1920.

Minster for Justice Charlie Flanagan said: “As a Government, we have at all times sought to have a national programme of commemorations that is authentic, sensitive and inclusive.

“We very much support the recommendation that there should be specific State-led initiatives to commemorate the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP).

“However, given the disappointing response of some to the planned event on 17th January, I do not believe that the event, as planned, can now take place in an atmosphere that meets the goals and guiding principles of the overall commemorative programme.

“Therefore, I am announcing its deferral.

“I know that, regrettably, this decision will be a cause of hurt and upset to many people. I commit to proceeding with an alternative commemoration in the months ahead.

“As a next step, I will consult further with the expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemoration, with the all-party consultative group on commemoration and with other stakeholders, with a view to organising an event that is inclusive and fully respectful of all the traditions and memories on this island.”

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