Photo: NLI Ref.: link
Click any image for a larger version
So this year, as part of the ongoing centenary commemorations, we will be commemorating Roger Casement.
And what did Roger Casement do in 1916?
When Ireland, as part of the UK, was at war with Germany, he conspired with the Germans to overthrow British rule in Ireland. In other words, he enlisted German help to "free Ireland".
So, in 1965, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of 1916, he got an Irish State Funeral.
And in 2016 he gets his own 1916 postage stamp.
This is Albert Folens.
And what did he do?
During WWII he collaborated with the Germans to "free Flanders", his native country, from the brutal cultural, linguistic and administrative oppression of the Belgian state.
And what was his reward?
He was labelled a war criminal and included in a 2007 RTÉ TV programme entitled "Hidden Nazis".
The programme, insofar as Folens was involved, was a collaboration between Senan Molony and Cathal O'Shannon. The former I had never heard of and the latter I had some respect for up to that point.
Both men should have been ashamed of themselves for making such a serious accusation on such flimsy evidence.
They both owe an apology to Folens's widow and family for the hurt and damage caused.
Unfortunately Mrs. Folens is now dead, as is Cathal O'Shannon.
So all that can now reasonably be done is for Senan Molony to apologise to the Folens family. Whether they might accept such an apology or not is entirely a matter for them.
You can get a blow by blow account of the whole disgraceful episode here.