TO: The London DAILY TELEGRAPH
I read with great interest –indeed, almost disbelief– of the Rev. Paisley’s sentiments expressed in his last Commons speech; have been following his miraculous recent evolution and that of his “colleagues” Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams. I saw MMcG interviewed here in New York (on the well-regarded Charlie Rose show), and his comments on the future of Ulster & The Peace are quite staggering in the hope and sense of responsibility that they convey.
I feel a very special connection to these developments: I have spent the last two years reflecting upon and engaged in writing a book, “This Should Never Have Happened” about General Liam Lynch (1893-1923), Chief-of-Staff of the IRA in The Irish Civil. The bullet that killed him –aged 29– on Apr. 10th, 1923 was the last shot fired in the bitter Civil War. It is well-recorded that Liam –who agonized over the “brother-against-brother” killings of the war– had decided he had to make a truce with the Free-Staters, and end the war. But he never got to actually do it. That was what his dying words,”This should never have happened”, meant.
Liam Lynch was an uncle of mine. My mother and he (and their families)were very close all his (short) life. The teenaged Liam was an apprentice for 4 years in my grandfather’s store in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork
I would have no greater wish than that the remaining violent extremists would absorb and align themselves with the new sentiments taking root in Ulster –and also reflect on the sad dying words of my uncle: “This should never have happened.” I understand the impulse of the extremist as I understand the passion of my uncle back in 1923. He had wanted to go “the extra mile” for his beliefs, but ended up “Going too far”. If he had made truce the day before he might have lived a long & productive life in the new independent Ireland that he had helped bring about.
[Anyone wishing to continue this discussion is welcome to post to my blog at www.stonestreetpress.com.]
Staten Island, New York