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Legacy of British colonisation has impacted views

Published 15/04/2015

As part of what revisionists call our "shared history", relatives of British soldiers who fought and died during the Easter Rising in 1916 have called for a joint memorial to the British soldiers and Irish volunteers to be erected on Dublin's Mount Street Bridge.

Patrick Mercer, a former Tory MP and commanding officer of the Sherwood Foresters, said it would be the "ultimate reconciliation" if the taoiseach was to visit the graves of British soldiers killed in the Easter Rising.

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, said consideration would be given to erecting a memorial to the soldiers.

Calls to venerate and commemorate those who ruthlessly suppressed the Easter Rising is both insulting and demeaning to the memory of those who gave their lives in 1916 for Irish freedom.

Would the British Government memorialise at the Cenotaph the Irish rebels killed in Britain fighting for Irish independence? Or those Luftwaffe airmen killed on bombing raids over London?

British soldiers killed enforcing colonial rule around the world are not commemorated by the former colonised. Indeed, as the recent apology extended by the British government to Kenya for the brutality inflicted on the Mau Mau during their war for independence demonstrates, it is now common for the British to make apologies for their past colonial atrocities.

In Ireland, bizarrely, we have calls to honour and memorialise our former colonisers.

It appears the legacy of our colonial experience has left us with a warped sense of nationhood.

TOM COOPER

Dublin

Belfast Telegraph

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