As a result the average voter will closely associate Fine Gael with the Black & Tans and this will cost Fine Gael votes in the next election, there is no escaping that fact.
It’s also important to remember that Fine Gael’s RIC commemoration was cancelled as many of our elected officials refused the invite to attend;
Mayor Mike Cubbard (Galway City) tweeted that attending the event would be hypocritical as the RIC directly opposed those whose lives were lost creating the free Ireland we enjoy today.
Councillor Gary Gannon branded the RIC a terror squad and voted for Dublin City Council to boycott the ceremony. A DCC motion that passed successfully. The motion stated that “only a subservient government suffering from a post-colonial state of mind and ashamed of our revolutionary history would encourage this disgraceful event”.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan (dubbed on social media as Charlie Tanagan) took a seat in RTE 6.01 to deliver newspeak about how the commemoration was to give every consideration towards acknowledging all aspects of our history. Later we heard from opposition that the commemoration had not even been given cross party consideration - so it’s hard to understand how Charlie determined that he knew what was best for the whole country.
To add insult to injury Leo then proclaimed that the cancellation of the planned public riot was a step back for North-South relations, as if honouring the RIC was some kind of olive branch to people who continued to suffer human riots violations under the sister branch RUC until the reformation of the police service in Northern Ireland in 2001.
Fine Gael’s refusal to step away from the event has caused them long term damage, voters are hard to sway about complex issues such as housing and health and budget, but when it comes to evoking an emotional response that puts the Wolfe Tones to the top of the iTunes downloads charts in 2020 then it’s easy to predict FG will get a backlash at the polling stations.