Another St Patrick’s Day has come and gone.
Celebrated by Irish people worldwide and by many who have no Irish roots but are happy to be ‘Irish for a day’ and join in the craic.
Capital cities vie for the best place to celebrate that annual day drowning their Shamrock.
For many their choice is New York where all are welcomed with open arms and Céad Míle Fáilte by its Mayor Bill de Blasio.
I don’t know Mayor de Blasio but on checking the Internet, he states that his parents were divorced when he was seven and was brought up by his mother’s side of the family.
A potentially traumatic experience for any child.
I would have thought therefore that Mayor de Blasio would have understood what it was like to grow up not having his dad fully involved in his life.
That he would empathise with and forever remember the orphaned children of families in New York devastated by the terrorists who flew their ‘planes into the Twin Towers on that day ‘renamed’ as simply 9/11.
Sadly there are many children here in Northern Ireland and further afield who had to be brought up by family members and grandparents, not because of a family divorce, but because terrorists cruelly killed their parents.
Innocent children who had to face years without a mother’s comforting embrace or a father’s reassuring words of wisdom. Children who had to ‘rename’ an ordinary day in their lives as the day their mum or dad was killed.
A day they honour not by delivering a speech and handing over an impressive framed Proclamation but by visiting their parent’s grave. To hear New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio eulogise the former Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and ‘rename’ St. Patrick’s Day after him this year was crass and insensitive.
In his speech he stated that “history will remember Gerry Adams for being one of the people who did something truly heroic and truly revolutionary who found a path to peace where others could not envision it. And so many are alive today because of that”.
Laudable sentiments but sadly many fathers and mothers and children are dead today because of Gerry Adams’ ‘heroic and truly revolutionary’ support for men of violence Mayor de Blasio. Those who provide funding, support, justification or glorification of such organisations and their actions are, in my humble opinion, equally culpable for their actions.
All murders are wrong no matter what organisation carried them out. Gerry Adams has publicly stated he would never distance himself from the IRA. In doing so he must also accept it is fair to suggest he condoned or at least associated himself with their carnage, mayhem and terror and the creation of many innocent fatherless and motherless children whose parents were murdered by those IRA members he would not distance himself from.
My brother John, an off duty police officer, was killed by the IRA 30 years ago while serving ice cream in my family-run ice cream parlour to innocent children. They also shot and injured two of those innocent teenage customers. I buried my dad on the same date one year later and my mum a few years after dad. Both died from broken hearts.
It would appear that you Mayor de Blasio are willing to participate in the rewriting and sanitising of the history of our ‘troubles’ with your honouring of Gerry Adams, who of course keeps reminding us that he never was a member of the IRA – just a willing sympathiser.
I hope you enjoyed your St Patrick’s Day celebrations Mayor de Blasio but I also hope you feel a degree of shame at your misguided and heartless Framed Proclamation honouring of Gerry Adams and think long and hard about the many children who grew up without a father or mother because murder stole their innocence.
There is no time limit on grief. I call on you Mayor de Blasio, even at this late stage, to have the honour and decency to publicly apologise for the unnecessary pain and hurt you have caused so many victims and their families and particularly children who had to grow up without both parents in their lives because of men of violence and their band of supporters and apologists like Gerry Adams.
• George Larmour is author of ‘They Killed the Ice Cream Man’