SIR – Readers of The Southern Star were treated in the issue of June 17th to yet another outburst of toxic bile from Tom Cooper against Eoghan Harris and myself concerning our film for RTÉ, An Tost Fada, featuring Canon George Salter.
Once again, Mr Cooper spreads his poison while posing as a champion of truth and accuracy when it comes to any examination of the actions of the IRA during the 1919-23 period.
Your readers should know that, contrary to Mr Cooper’s claims, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland did ‘reject’ his complaint about the programme in October 2012.
The BAI Compliance Committee chairperson, Chris Morash, stated that, ‘upon a review of the programme it was the Committee’s view that the programme did not contain any content that could be considered contrary to Section 3.5 (Factual Programming) of the BAI Code of Programme Standards.’
However Mr. Cooper’s real grievance with Eoghan Harris and me is not about the details of An Tost Fada or the testimony of Canon Salter.
Both of us had relatives who took up arms to forge an independent Irish State. Both of us were reared in a tradition that looked upon the campaign of the IRA as heroic and noble.
Both of us have spent our lives asking questions about what we were told about the fight for ‘Irish Freedom.’
For Tom Cooper, asking such questions is tantamount to treason.
In the case of what happened in West Cork in 1921-22, we believe local Protestants were the victims of sectarian murder perpetrated by IRA Volunteers. Tom Cooper will deny that fact until the day he has to face St Peter.
Southern Star readers can make up their own minds about the film and the story Canon Salter relates when An Tost Fada is screened at the West Cork History Festival in Skibbereen.
Thankfully, Ireland is still a free country.