Recognising sacrifice of our security forces
The sacrifice made by British soldiers at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 is deserving of sombre remembrance.
Catholics and Protestants served with valour. But for a century in Ireland, whether it was a British Tommy killed by the 'Boche' in the trenches or a constable killed by an IRA flying column in Tipperary, those who served the Crown were despised as enemies of Ireland. The treatment of these men and their families was shameful. Many had to flee.
In a new Free State it was the IRA who were heroes. Republicans influenced what the Irish media printed. A biased narrative blamed the British for a 'dirty war'. Republican propagandists mowed down opposed views as effectively as a German machine-gun mowed down Allied troops. This is the republican way.
A 'peace process' that favours republicans was always destined to criticise the security forces and praise the IRA.
Current historical inquiries are the outworking of a strategy hatched in the late-1980s when the IRA leadership realised clear military defeat was inevitable. They needed a face-saving way out if the 'armed struggle' was to give them any sort of political dividend.
At great cost (three times more security forces were killed than IRA terrorists), police and soldiers stopped the IRA's hard men in their tracks. This prevented Northern Ireland from descending into chaos. Like the Great War, it may take 100 years for Irish nationalism to acknowledge the honourable service and sacrifice of these brave men and women.
Belfast Telegraph Digital