Kevin Myers takes aim at Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford

Kevin Myers: Proposing a memorial for IRA terrorists is grotesque

Tuesday February 02 2010

The report that Enniscorthy town council had “unanimously” agreed to raise a memorial to five IRA men – two of whom were Wexfordmen – who blew themselves up in 1957 was disturbing. It was also partly inaccurate. But enough was sufficiently correct for the Government to act and prevent this proposed memorial being raised.

Firstly, there was no vote after Enniscorthy town council discussed this proposal, which was put to it by the town clerk Padraig O’Gorman, and which had initially come from an organisation called Cloiste Cairde na Laochra. It was Padraig O’Gorman who, rather astoundingly, was quoted as saying that the memorial would be in “remembrance of those who played their part in the struggle for Irish freedom”.

And one can imagine the atmosphere in the council meeting after the town clerk had so spoken. Who is going to oppose anything done for “freedom”? Who is going to be identified by local republicans as the naysayer? Who is going to propose a vote, and go against the apparent wishes of the town clerk, and then argue the case, and be henceforth remembered as the town traitor?

Go with the flow: as ever in Ireland, go with the flow.

But actually, it wasn’t quite as simple as that. According to the ‘Enniscorthy and District Echo’, Councillor Paddy Kavanagh pointed out that both Wexfordmen had already been “honoured” at the time. Cllr Pat Cody agreed, and asked for “a bit more examination of the inscription”. Cllr James Browne said he was “not overly supportive”. Cllr Keith Doyle expressed concern about the idea, and suggested that they examine the situation, without deciding upon it that night.

But none forced a division: for who would be remembered as the “West Brit” who opposed the memorial to the gallant IRA men who gave their lives for freedom? For who guards the public narrative in a small town like Enniscorthy but a bunch of self-styled “republicans” (though they are nothing of the kind: I deny them the use of a fine word to describe their deviant addiction to violence).

For tragic as the Edentubber deaths might have been, the men concerned almost certainly intended to bomb other people that Armistice Day, November 11, 1957. No part of such an act can be construed as a blow for “freedom”. No franchise was going to be enlarged, no civil right extended, no essential human dignity furthered by such an act of terrorism. The IRA Border campaign was about killing people. Its first victim was – like each of the Edentubber Five – an Irish Catholic: Sean Scally, a 23- year-old Ballycastle police constable.

When Irishman kills Irishmen, please do not – in the words of the town clerk of Enniscorthy – refer to it as “the struggle for Irish freedom”.

Since that futile Border campaign, we’ve had another IRA campaign, which (including Troubles-related suicides) took over 4,000 lives. Few of the victims have permanent memorials raised to them: one such memorial is to the 11 people killed at the Remembrance Sunday service at Enniskillen in 1987. In its own way, it was the 30th anniversary explosive commemoration of whatever the Edentubber Five intended for 1957, but which didn’t happen.

That anyone in 2010 should be proposing such a selective memorialisation of events over half a century ago is not merely baffling, it is grotesque, perverse and obscene.

We have been here before. We know the consequence of selective memorialisation, and the creation of a one-dimensional narrative that obscures complexity and celebrates the bloodshed of fellow Irishmen and women. Such memorial events are usually the work of a small body of people, whom others are too timid to oppose: hence the disgusting statue to the Nazi collaborator Sean Russell in Fairview Park, raised when the genocide of the Jews was an irrefutable fact. But Dublin Corporation hadn’t the nerve to say “no”, because Russell was part of the “republican” golden thread.

So too was Patrick Parle from Wexford, killed at Edentubber. Not remembered in Wexford today is his fellow Wexfordman, Gunner William Parle, Royal Artillery, killed in action, June 1942.

Michael Watters was killed at Edentubber: any relation to Lance-Sergeant John Watters, Irish Guards, killed in action in the drive to Arnhem, September 1944?

George Keegan, of Wexford, was killed at Edentubber: any relation to Guardsman Jerry Keegan, Irish Guards, died of wounds, 1945?

Paul Smith from Armagh died at Edentubber: any relation to Rifleman Sam Smith, from Armagh, Royal Ulster Rifles, killed in action, Belgium, 1940?

And Paul Craven, of Newry and Edentubber: any relation to Private Bernard Craven, Royal Irish Fusiliers, also of Newry, who died August 1918, after his hospital ship ‘Warila’ was torpedoed out of Le Havre?

I know what freedom is. It emphatically was not served by the Edentubber Five. But it has always been served by the Defence Forces of this State, as it is today. And it was served also by the 1,400 Irish-born soldiers of the British Army who were killed in 1944 alone: an average of an Edentubber every single day.

Moreover, some 800 soldiers from independent, self-governing Ireland gave their lives in the freeing of Europe, from the shores of Sicily in 1943 to the gates of Bergen-Belsen and beyond.

No memorials, of course, for any of them in Wexford.


Irish Independent

Enniscorthy is a big Ra town alright.
Glad to see we’ve irked Myers

Up the Ra :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

I tell what will make me actually buy the Indo

If Pat the Cope’s missus makes it onto the FF ticket in the by-election.

Myers would deffo be worth the alternative lifestyle I would be signing myself into.

We should setup a fund to erect this monument just to piss myers off

what an attention seeking cunt

We know Tipptops is but what about Myers.