Friday, November 14, 2008
Another Irishman killed in Afghanistan
I posted in September on the death of Justin Cupples, the Cavan man killed in action in Afghanistan while serving with the Royal Irish Regiment. It has happened again. Yesterday 32 year old Mayo man Robert McKibben (pictured) who was serving with the royal marines was killed by a road side bomb in Helmand provence. As I have said before that I hate to think of an Irishman dying in a foreign war under a foreign flag but if thats the life he wanted who am I to judge. His death has added significance this week as many Irish households have been discussing the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War and wondering how it should be remembered in this country. Over 200,000 Irish fought for the crown between 1914 and 1918, 35,000 of whom never came home. For some reason which is beyond me, this issue remains today as a point of contention. So much so that those in the mainstream political establishment do not wear poppies nor do they attend commemorations for the fallen. 90 years on, this is truly bizarre. What can I say, I am an Irish nationalist and it has never bothered me that so many signed up to fight for Britain. And in any case who really cares who they were fighting for and what the cause was. The historical fact is that 35,000 young Irishmen lost their lives in a war, and the Irish state and the people should play a central role in remembering them today. And whatever historical hang ups Irish people have about The Great War the nation should offer their sympathies to the family of Robert McKibben. I don't expect his death to be treated as if he had died in Chad fighting with Oglaigh Na Heireann but I do hope his sacrifice is recognised by the media and the Department of Defense. It would be a natural step given the mature way we discussed this week the role of the Irishman in the British armed forces.