RIC officers to be commemorated at service in St Paul’s Cathedral
Descendants of the thousands of men who served in the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) are being sought ahead of a special commemoration in London next year.
The Police Roll of Honour Trust hopes some of the relatives who come forward can then attend the tribute event at St Paul’s Cathedral on April 29 – marking 100 years since the force was disbanded.
Many of the officers at the time went on to serve with the post-partition Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and what would become An Garda Síochána in the Irish Republic.
The commemorative service will “honour the service and sacrifice” of the 83,743 officers and men of the RIC, who served from the inception of the force in 1836 until its disbandment in 1922.
According to the Harp Society, the “principal focus of the event will be the family member descendants of those who served, especially of those 638 who lost their lives as a consequence of their service”.
The Harp Society is a body that was formed “out of the need for a balanced and honest appraisal of the policing history of Ireland”.
Last January, the Irish Government was forced to cancel a planned commemoration for the RIC, and the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP), after a fierce backlash against the plan.
Several opposition politicians said they would boycott the event due to the conduct of police, and the armed auxiliary forces, during the War of Independence.
In January last year, the then justice minister Charlie Flanagan argued that the thousands of RIC and DMP police officers had served their communities with honour and should not be “airbrushed from history”.
A spokesman for the Harp Society said: “Expressions of interest in attending the event are sought from family member descendants of RIC officers by using the Trust email address –[email protected]
“In doing so, please give brief details of your connection, the name of the officer and whether he died, as a consequence of his service, which will be followed up by the Trust.”
The spokesman added: “Attendance on the day will be restricted due to the capacity of the venue, however, the service will be ‘live streamed’ and thereafter available online for all to access.”
The Police Roll of Honour Trust was founded in 2000 after 20 years research into the Roll of Honour... “paying tribute to some 5,000 British police officers who have been killed or died, on duty or as a result of duty.”