Dublin City Council does indeed think that Ireland, and specifically Dublin, needs more British army WWI Memorials. Apparently the concept of Irish neutrality, not to speak of the concreting of public green areas and destruction of public spaces, does not trouble Dublin City Council. The councillors, led by Sinn Féin Northside Councillor Micheál Mac Donncha (Chairman of Commemoration Committee) who hopes to gain a Dáil seat at the next general election, include the present Green Party Lord Mayor Carol Conroy, Fianna Fáil Councillor Deirdre Heaney, Independent Councillor Damian O’Farrell, and Fianna Fáil TD Seán Haughey.
Do the people of Dublin, and indeed the Irish people, have any say in this matter? Is public land the private prerogative of Dublin City Councillors to allocate, without the need for public consultation or indeed any publicity?
Why all the secrecy ? If this WWI British Army Memorial is indeed so uncontroversial, why has Dublin City Council not publicised their decision in any forum? The first mention of this story came from a piece in the Northside People (NE edition) on 19 October, after which a number of letters of protest appeared in the same paper. What the people of North Dublin did not know however was that the decision had already been taken by Dublin City Council behind closed doors in October 2022, and this was announced by Lord Mayor Conroy at the British Legion event in Killester on Saturday last, 12 November.
Is this type of memorial Sinn Féin policy now? If so voters in the next general election should be informed. Are we to see a proliferation of British army monuments and British Legion parades with their poppy wreaths all around Ireland, encouraged by Sinn Féin and other political parties?
And where does this leave Irish neutrality? Sinn Féin have given the impression that Ireland’s neutrality is important to them, but this type of secret decision-making leaves room for doubt, and is sending out the wrong message.
Has the Green Party any policy on Irish neutrality?
Most people would imagine that wars are bad for the planet, but perhaps the present Lord Mayor does not agree. As to Fianna Fáil, we can only hazard a guess that they are so desperate for votes that they hope the British army will assist them in the next general election.
Dublin City Council also have plans to erect a “History Signboard” at the planned WWI British army monument, which will contain only the history of the British veterans’ houses, ignoring the Celtic and Irish history of the historic area of Cill Easra.
Killester has an ancient graveyard which contains the Celtic and Gaelic history of Cill Easra, part of the province of Meath until the 6th Century and the site of a Celtic monastery. This area has never been excavated. There is also a Republican history from the 1920ies. Killester also has a large old corporation estate, streets of private housing, new and older apartment blocks and town houses, none of which have any connection to the British Legion.
Local people hope to start a campaign to oppose this undemocratic decision. Killester is a much larger area than that represented by the Old British veterans’ houses, the majority of which have now changed hands anyhow.
This undemocratic decision by Dublin City Council should be reversed. It is ill-thought out and should be dropped in favour of maintaining the present green space, along with the open and welcoming atmosphere which was normal in Killester before this politicising of the area took place.
Áine Ní Bhroin
Cumann Staire Chill Easra