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.


Confucius said...

I agree Ted that there is a lot of this small minded thinking about and certain people bearing a grudge on things that have happened a long time ago.

Take for example the chief executive of our Football Association (FAI) John Delaney. He plans for Ireland to play England in the newly revamped Landsdowne Road stadium soon after it re-opens. Seemingly though, he has admitted to not playing England in Croke Park because of the "association with Bloody Sunday in 1920".

Correct me if I am wrong here, but didnt the Irish rugby team play England in Croke Park without so much as a sqwuak out of the supporters? National Anthems were sung by both teams without interruption.

In that light, I think that John Delaney is more worried about a riot breaking out like the one in Landsdowne Road all those years when the game had to be abandoned while Ireland were winning 1-0. Was this to do with Bloddy Sunday? I wouldn't think so as the dates of both events have no meaning. More so probably to do with football hooligans.

Ted Leddy said...

Fair point Confucius

But I have to say I'm with John Delaney on this one. Although I am a huge GAA fan I was happy with Croke Park opening up. I didn't mind hearing "god save the Queen" sang in the heart of nationalist Ireland. But I for one could not handle seeing a bunch of militant rioting scum chanting their vile anti Irish hate in the sacred ground that is croker. Probably wouldn't happen, but the possibility that it might, given the events of 95 is too much for me and I am glad John Delaney feels the same. Sorry confucius but I dont want to see the English soccer team playing in croker.

DT said...

The notion of a friendly game with England sends shivers down the spine and brings back bad memories of having to run out of Lansdowne Road as a scared and confused 14 year old.

Ted, you said you didn't mind God Save the Queen being played at Croker, I didn't enjoy it myself. But the English football team coming here would be a different kettle of fish.

I don't even relish the prospect of a friendly in the new Lansdowne. I would look forward to a qualifier with them but to "invite" them back for a friendly I wouldn't be so quick to do.

Ted Leddy said...

Im with ya DT my wise old friend.

Only I have always suspected you threw the first brick in that 95 riot.

Anonymous said...

Confucius go home. Football is no place for a man like you. You are so out of your depth here.
Go back to touching the screen on your Blackberry...