Memorials: A Balanced Approach? Simon O’Donnell letter to The Irish political review

Simon O’Donnell’s letter to the Editor of The Irish political Review in reply to Pat Muldowney, letter dealing with the controversial Glasnevin Wall.The Irish Political Review is a monthly publication and is associated with the successor organisation of the British & Irish Communist Party. O’Donnell was Secretary of the Portlaoise Prisoners’ Union in 1973 and a former member of Saor Eire Action Group.

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One response to “Memorials: A Balanced Approach? Simon O’Donnell letter to The Irish political review

  1. India has a vast amount of imperial remnants, including grandiose (and often beautiful) monuments glorifying the occupying power and belittling Indians. The Glasnevin Wall is a mere pinprick in comparison. Rather than taking a bulldozer to buildings and monuments that shape and structure their country to some extent, India has put these monuments in “inverted commas” so to speak, by erecting explanatory monuments, inscriptions and memorials alongside them, explaining the true historical reality. This is much more powerful and educational than simply removing the offending memorials–which are themselves often historic and interesting—leaving a mere blank. Doing this in Glasnevin would turn the tables on the Redmondites and West Brits who put up the wall. Simon’s letter says this would be “complicated”. Why? All that needs to said in an explanatory memorial is what Simon says in the rest of that paragraph in his letter. And the Redmondites and West Brits would have no sustainable grounds for complaint. They would LOSE the public argument about this issue. (Incidentally there are plenty of other monuments of triumphalist kind (Wellington’s in the Phoenix Park for instance) which nobody in their right mind would want to bulldoze, but which could be doing with a bit of real historical commentary.)

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