Archdeacon David Pierpoint, Church of Ireland Garda Chaplain & Fr. Joe Kennedy C.P. Roman Catholic Garda Chaplain
Rev. Chris Kennedy, Dunlaoghaire Presbyterian Church & Moderator of the Dublin & Munster Presbytery
Mrs. Anne McCabe
Mrs. Janice Taylor
Mr. Jim McDonald & Wilma Carson
Mr. John Duffy
A special thanks to photographer Patrick Hugh Lynch for taking the above photographs.
Saturday 30th August 2014
ARCHDEACON DAVID PIERPOINT’S HOMILY
Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
To remember is to bring an event, person, or thing back to mind again. The act of remembering affects our national life, our personal life, and our religious life. This afternoon in a national setting, we reassemble in our minds the lives of the men and women who have served in the RIC/DMP as well as those from the RUC together with those currently serving in the PSNI and An Garda Siochana. But primarily we remember and express our gratitude for the sacrifices of the men of the RIC and DMP during the difficult and turbulent years between 1916 and 1922. Black and tans or Peelers were not uncommon terms of abuse at the time and so many families kept secret the fact that they had relatives serving in those forces.
Those people we remember today wanted freedom and justice for the people they protected, just as much as those whom they policed wanted freedom and justice from those whom they considered the oppressor. This afternoon’s service while being a memorial for them, is also a time of ecumenism and peace.
The people we remember today did not give their lives for peace. In many cases, they had them snatched away on street corners or walking the beat doing their duty Those killings remind us of the senselessness of violence – and I don’t just mean murder or insurrection, but the violence of beaurocrats, of governments and those who use wealth, politics or religion to get the better of other people. But if we are helped to see the destruction of the misuse of power whenever and wherever it is misused, then that period between 1916 and 1922 or any subsequent death on duty are not totally without meaning.
It is strange that the central symbol of the Christian faith should be the cross – itself, an instrument of violence. It might just as well have been the bullet , knife of blade. But, Jesus took the cross on himself, willingly and with eyes open. He knew that to give peace a chance, was worth everything – even the sacrifice of his life.
This Church as with many other churches in this wonderful city of ours has seen its parishioners die in carrying out their duty only to be left without memorials because their role in society was seen as supporting the “foreign power” which so many Irishmen and Women wished to be released from. This is wrong and is something which needs to be rectified. I call on all members of our political parties to consider these men from the RIC and DMP (just as in recent times those Irishmen and women who fought in the great war and second world war have been recognised), and at the very least erect some memorial to them for undertaking the role of policing in our land and in this city. Many of you here this morning had family members who served in the RIC and DMP or indeed the RUC and this time of remembrance is as important to you as individuals as it should be to the whole nation. The first reading today spoke about those famous men who left a great inheritance after them, recognised for what they did. It then went on to say, some there are which have no memorial but their names live for evermore. I ask that that the relevant people in authority in our government heed these words.
Those brave men were not prepared to give up on their principles. They knew the consequences but were undeterred in their duty. As Christians in today’s society, we too must remain constant in our efforts for peace throughout the world and on this island. It will demand great courage, and possibly even ridicule by some as it did during 1916 and 1922, but if we are steadfast in our principles, then I believe that peace will be given a chance and by our words and deeds we might have a small part to play in its continuance.
Violence and terrorism have little to do with the people who actually fight them and much more to do with politics and the people in positions of power. Policing however does have to do with protecting the innocent from oppression and still today our men and women of the PSNI and An Garda Siochana deal with this on a daily basis, often paying the ultimate sacrifice.
On this Day we must also keep in mind that old alliances have long since changed and old enemies are now friends The more travelling we do back and forth, the more immigration that happens the more we will realize that there are very few differences between the people in the farthest parts of the world and ourselves. When we look at each other, we see different traditions and histories. Yet nothing can alter or change the past and we have to move forward together.
But today, we remember so that the deaths and the sacrifices of so many will not have been in vain. We remember, because peace and the call to love others is so important.
In a reading from St John’s gospel, Jesus told his followers …. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. How true that is and how important it is to remember today many who did just that. They laid down their lives for friend, for neighbour, for family and for country.
May those whom we honour today continue to enjoy their eternal rest where God has prepared for them, a special dwelling place.