90 years ago to-day the then Minister for Justice,Kevin O'Higgins,was assassinated while walking to mass near his home at Booterstown,Co.Dublin.It was in revenge for the execution of 4 leaders of the irregulars on Dec.8,1922 after their group had shot two deputies on their way to the Dail the previous day.
O'Higgins had told the Dail that it was the only way"representative government,or democratic institutions"could be maintained.
As Kevin O'Higgins lay dying he referred to Eamon DeValera,"Tell my colleagues that they must beware of him in future life he will play down to the weakness of the people"
The culture of violence at play in those years;glorified in song and story-in which we were all participants,until some of us saw the light-has been responsible for 1000's of deaths-completely needless-in this country and outside.The most glaring and tragic was in recent years,when a group calling it self "Provisional I.R.A.",and others equally sinister, engaged in a killing campaign for more than 30 years.
Unfortunately there is still an attitude prevalent in this country among many that their political outlook should be accepted by others who differ,and the latter should be pressurised to do so-though the number who believe that force is acceptable to achieve their aims is diminishing,it is still there.