Row erupts over World War I commemorations

Row erupts over World War I commemorations

A wreath laying ceremony at the cenotaph on the South Mall in 2014. Crowds will gather again this week to mark the centenery of the end of World War One. Picture: Dan Linehan

A ROW has erupted over the city’s World War I commemorations, with claims that the events are honouring the “evil cause” of British Imperialism.

Wreaths at the cenotaph. Pic: Larry Cummins
Wreaths at the cenotaph. Pic: Larry Cummins

As Cork City Council prepares to mark the centenary of the ending of World War I in the coming days, a county councillor has hit out at the Remembrance Sunday events.

Independent councillor Diarmaid Ó Cadhla said he believes World War I was a war of “imperialism” and a group he is involved in, the People’s Convention, will hold a protest rally at the National Monument on Grand Parade at the same time as a memorial takes place to mark the Irish who were killed and injured in World War I at the Great War Memorial on South Mall.

“The tone of these events is that they talk about the Great War and the great sacrifice of the people who gave their lives for a cause. The problem about World War I is they gave their lives in an evil cause which was a war of imperialism. There was no honour. The near 40,000 Irishmen that went out were told they were fighting for the freedom of small nations which was a lie. We should not glorify that,” he added

A commemoration event at the Cenotaph, South Mall. Pic: Larry Cummins.
A commemoration event at the Cenotaph, South Mall. Pic: Larry Cummins.

Lord Mayor Mick Finn will be in attendance at Remembrance Day ceremonies in the city.

“I am one of the chief organisers of this civic event in Cork city,” he said.

“Thousands of Irish people died and hundreds of Cork people died. This is a tribute to those that died. It is nothing to do with the merits of war or anything else. I make no apologies to anyone for commemorating 100 years since the end of World War I. We are not glorifying war. This is about remembering Cork people that died. They went to war for various reasons and it’s in their memory this event is being held and I think it’s a fitting tribute to those Cork people, families and ancestors.”

Former Lord Mayor Brian Bermingham, who has been involved in previous Remembrance Day ceremonies in the city and had a relative that fought in World War I, defended the commemorations, saying: “You have to go back to the time itself. The whole point at that time was to reject Germany and its potential imperialism.”

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