Campaigners have urged that a monument be erected to honour students who left Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and fought and died for the British forces in World War Two.
“Ireland and Trinity College played its part and often more than its part in the battle for freedom in Europe in 1939”, said one member of the movement which has gained traction on foot of its controversial proposal.
Although the Irish republic remained neutral during the war, thousands of soldiers left Ireland, and the Irish army to fight with the British. Hundreds of Trinity students were among the thousands who left to fight, and a total of 111 from Ireland’s oldest college died during the conflict.
Initially the reception towards those who fought for the British army was unforgiving and discriminating, however attitudes have since become more forgiving.
In light of a pardon issued recently for those who left the Republic of Ireland to fight, campaigners feel it is time to honour those lost in the war, particularly the large number of TCD students.
When asked why it took over 70 years after the Second World War to progress with the idea, Co-Ordinator of the Irish Soldiers’ Pardon Campaign, Peter Mulvany said: “[It] is a bit of a conundrum for myself, however I suspect politics and the reluctance of some in Trinity to push it in case of a reaction from nationalist Ireland may have been a factor.”
The Trinity College Dublin War Memorial Project set up a petition which they say is ‘a campaign for a memorial of the heroic dead of World War Two’. Members of the project put particular emphasis on the words of President Michael D. Higgins who said “to be forgotten is to die twice”.
The petition can be signed here.
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