State historians pressured to provide centenary ‘propaganda’
State historians pressured to provide centenary ‘propaganda’


Historians involved in advising the decade of centenaries for the Dublin government have revealed how they were asked to provide pro-British propaganda for use in the north of Ireland, but refused “point blank”.

The chairman of the government’s advisory committee, Maurice Manning, said the historians involved wanted nothing do with contemporary political events in the Six Counties.

“We were into commemoration. We were into history. We were not into politics. We said no,” he said.

He told the Parnell Summer School that the Taoiseach Enda Kenny realised from the beginning that the decade of centenaries could pose “huge problems” for the government.

There was no consensus as to how it should be handled amid suspicions over the coalition government’s motivations for the commemorations. Those included that the government was embarrassed by Irish history and that it was seeking to “sanitise” what happened in 1916, Mr Manning said.

He said the advisory committee was determined that nobody would be able to hijack the commemorations for party political purposes. It was important he stated, that it not be co-opted by “some kind of State propaganda machine”.

However, there have been new claims that the Dublin government is still attempting to commemorate the British colonial forces who fought to defeat the struggle for Irish independence.

An event is to be organised in connection with the little-known ‘Irish Harp Society’, according to Republican Sinn Fein. The group’s mission statement reads: “‘The Harp Society’ will strive to honor in every way possible the contribution to peace of all police services and in particular those of Ireland and Great Britain.”

Among their objectives are to secure a monument for the notorious Royal Irish Constabulary, the Dublin Metropolitan Police, and their “predecessor forces” who were “killed in the course of duty”.

Republican Sinn Fein condemned the plans.

“In 847 years of the English Crown’s colonial aggression in Ireland those who police on behalf of England have been bound by duty to stand by every act of brutality, every unjust English law attacking Gaelic cultural identity, the genocides, the ethnic cleansing and plantations, the enslavement of Irish people, the mass orchestrated starvation of millions, the list is long as it is harrowing,” they said.

“The RIC, DMP and ‘predecessor forces’ are all a continuation into modern times of that legacy, the Royal Ulster Constabulary – RUC, An Garda Síochana and the PSNI are all an embodiment of the same, all working in tandem to safeguard the present objective of normalizing British rule in Ireland.

“Republican Sinn Féin in representing the true ideals set out in 1916 will not be silent in the face of this agenda. We will continue to educate, to agitate and to organise upon the principles of our Revolutionary tradition against the imperialists who have suppressed the Irish people and ruled our country to ruin.”

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© 2016 Irish Republican News