From Irish Political Review: October 2007
Conor Lynch & Joe Keenan
The following two letters on President McAleese's speech at the Somme have been submitted to the Irish News.
President McAleese has said that Catholic and Protestant Irishmen met on the Somme in a spirit of "courage and generosity"; that their sacrifice in that battle of the Great War "forged our shared history". She did not mention that each was preparing upon their return to make war upon the other.
As the leading Redmondite, John Dillon, said at a meeting of Volunteers in Belfast: "when the war is over, and when we shall commence to resume the thread of Irish politics, that section of the Irish nation which has done best on the battlefields of France, will be the strongest in the struggle which may then be thrust upon us." [Freeman's Journal. 8th March, 1915.]
President McAleese (Irish News 11/9/07) commemorated the battles of Guillemont and Ginchy recalling "the courage and generosity of so many young Irishmen, from every background and belief ... whose sacrifice forged our shared history, our shared memory". This Hibernian nonsense is getting out of hand these days.
The men at the Somme may or may not have been brave. But they were there to kill young German men. What harm had the Germans ever done to the Irish - of either tradition? Indeed, what harm had the Germans ever done to the English? Britain launched a war on the Germans, and on the Turks, for Imperial purposes and no other.
The cause for which Irishmen died in that war was ignoble. We should be sad at the loss of our young men. We should not commemorate these battles as though they were honourable affairs. Let the dead rest in peace.
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