Kettle’s men are still second class citizens — 4 Comments

  1. Sometimes things can be hard to explain, sometimes not so much.
    Recently Callan put up a monument to the people from the area that died in WW1. It came in two general components, a incised list and a figure of a British soldier in the uniform of the Royal Irish Regiment. While I truly doubt anyone has an issue with the list of names, the figure is another matter entirely. And it’s actually a rather good little statue reminiscent of the Canadian 1 div in Langemark. But just not for Ireland.
    But to address your post. The dead of WW1 are caught in that nasty crux between the social structure then, and the subsequent political evolution. But in the UK you have issues too. There because officialdom took over the ‘memory’ of the war many with very different attitudes were forced out of country areas to the cities. Of course many of the cohort that saw WW1 as a war of lions lead by asses became staunch labour organisers and delivered a short lived Labour led government in 1924, brought down by the Liberals, more of less ending them.

  2. I think that there are still men from the most marginalised communities who would sign up with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers today. The gap between their lives and the lives of the richest in our society is probably wider now than it was a century ago.

  3. Yes, of course. They wouldn’t have any choice in the matter. It would be the army or starve. But that’s my point about social attitudes being unchanged. Their grandchildren are those the John Lundrigan (wrong spelling but I can’t find the correct) refers having met visiting their fathers and mothers in Mountjoy and then as night follows day are in themselves in their own right.

  4. Through the good offices of my good lady, who for ten years acted as chaplain to Mountjoy Prison, I had John Lonergan to speak once in my last parish. He told of how when the new women’s prison was near completion he was approached by a woman prisoner who asked that when the gate to the old female wing was closed for the last time, she might be able to do it.

    “I’m the governor,” he said, “why should you close the gate and not me?”

    “Because, Mr Lonergan, my mammy was a prisoner here and I am, and all my sisters, except one, have been as well.”

    John Lonergan said he had made inquiry about the sister who had not been there, she was still only fifteen, he felt sure her time would come.

    The cycles of poverty continue unbroken.

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