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Alban Maginness: Why murder of two policemen in January 1919 still haunts political establishment in Irish Republic 

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Next Monday, January 21, sees the 100th anniversary of the sitting of the first Dail in the Mansion House in Dublin. Having triumphed over the Home Rulers of the Irish Parliamentary Party in the famous 1918 General Election, Sinn Fein, as promised, boycotted the Westminster parliament and set up a new Irish parliament, the first such parliament since the abolition of the old Irish parliament by the Act of Union in 1800.

It was undoubtedly a day of great political drama, the climax being the formal declaration of independence from Britain. They had received an indisputable mandate for the establishment of an Irish republic from the Irish electorate and they were in the process of fulfilling that democratic mandate, despite the active opposition of the British authorities.

But, on that same day and about the same time as the fledgling parliamentary institution met in Dublin, at an obscure quarry called Soloheadbeg, in Co Tipperary, a group of eight Irish Volunteers lay in wait to seize a cartload of gelignite destined for the quarry. The explosives were guarded by two members of the Royal Irish Constabulary.

As the consignment approached the quarry, the........

© Belfast Telegraph