Friday, 17 October 2008

Sinn Fein can't be allowed to disrupt Royal Irish parade

If reminder were needed of the tawdry sectarianism which characterises Sinn Féin, it is provided by the party’s intention to disrupt a homecoming parade for the Royal Irish Regiment, to be held in Belfast in two weeks time. Here we have a group of young Irish men and women, representing both of our main communities, drawn from either side of the border, whose bravery and safe return Sinn Féin would deny us the right to celebrate and acknowledge, simply because they have chosen to pursue careers in the British armed forces.

Ironically, in Shropshire, where the regiment has been based, but a long way from most of the soldiers’ homes and families, Rangers will enjoy a ‘homecoming’ parade without contention. Shadow Secretary for Northern Ireland, Owen Patterson, pays tribute to the young men and women, who will be recognised in his constituency. The Royal Irish has been deployed in Helmand Province on Operation Herrick 8. Their task has been to, “mentor and assist the Afghan National Army in all aspects of its operations including training and operations”.

Whatever the political arguments against involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, First Battalion’s Rangers have been working hard to assist Afghans stabilise their stricken country. However one might deplore the decisions which led to our troops presence in two theatres of combat, their hard-work, bravery and skill is not in question. These virtues should be recognised, loss incurred by the injured and fallen must be acknowledged and the safe return of those who put themselves in harm’s way ought to be celebrated.

Whilst republicans may present objection to Britain’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as the ostensible reason for their opposition to homecoming parades, the reality is much more elemental. The provisionals simply have an enduring and visceral hatred of all things British and in particular the British Army. That hatred is particularly acute when the British soldiers making up the army also happen to be Irish. They spent thirty years trying to kill and maim members of Britain’s armed forces and they continue to object to them walking Belfast’s streets.


Hernandez said...

It is sad and pathetic. However, if this is the sort of thing they are reduced to in terms of 'the struggle', then so be it. Their request will surely not be granted in any case. Between organising pointless marches and painting letterboxes green, surely a united Ireland is only around the corner?!

Ignited said...

Sinn Fein/IRA need to have a close look at what a real army looks like and how it acts in several theatres of war - discipline and engaging with their enemy to stablise the communities.

Compare and contrast to shooting unarmed civillians in the back of the head, or detonating car bombs in crowded market places.

Anonymous said...

the irish have a policy of neutrality in all wars, consequently would never support a foreign army marching triumphantly through our streets. how about we march 5000 IRA men and women through london to commemorate their struggle against the british?

Chekov said...

Anyone care to point out the gaping hole in that nonsense?

O'Neill said...

OK, I'll start...
the irish have a policy of neutrality in all wars, consequently would never support a foreign army marching triumphantly through our streets

I'm Irish, Chekov is Irish, the RIR are (as the name implies) Irish. I don't know about Chekov, but both the RIR and myself most certainly do not have a "policy of neutrality in all wars"- I believe that a policy of neutrality when faced by e.g. the evil of nazism would have been immoral.

So, moving onto the "foreign army" jibe; as already pointed out, the RIR are, in fact, Irish, they will be parading on their home soil; they are also a regiment belonging to the British Nation- Northern Ireland is legally a part of the same British Nation (as confirmed in the Belfast Agreement)and so the RIR parading in Belfast cannot, therefore, by any stretch of the imagination be considered a *foreign* army.

OK, that's the first sentence deconstructed, someone else can demolish the second one.

Anonymous said...

excellent article. But I need more written