The Taoiseach and several other Government ministers are facing criticism for their comments defending the controversial State commemoration of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC).
The RIC, which had a strength of up to 10,500, was in place in Ireland until 1922 when the Irish Free State was established.
According to the Government, a "modest and solemn" event will be held on 17th January to mark the RIC and Dublin Metropolitan Police's place in Irish history.
The Government has insisted the event is not a "celebration" but a "commemoration", and is part of a wider programme of events to acknowledge key historical events and movements.
However, the planned event has faced significant opposition from many politicians - with Dublin City Council voting overwhelmingly to boycott the upcoming event, and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald calling for it to be cancelled.
Many of those objecting pointed to the RIC's involvement with the 'Black and Tans' and the Auxiliaries.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has defended the event, saying: "We should respect all traditions on our island and be mature enough as a State to acknowledge all aspects of our past."
The RIC/DMP commemoration is not a celebration. It’s about remembering our history, not condoning what happened. We will also remember the terrible burning of Cork, Balbriggan, partition and the atrocities of the Civil War.
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) January 7, 2020
Yesterday Mr Varadkar noted that he was "disappointed" that some people were choosing to boycott the event.
In a statement, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan acknowledged there are "very real sensitivities involved here" - but added it was "disappointing to see some public representatives abandon the principles of mutual understanding and reconciliation in an effort to gain headlines".
Minister Flanagan added: "This attitude, combined with a distortion of the nature of the commemoration, is ill becoming of any public representative and represents a step backwards to a more narrow-minded past characterized by a hierarchy of Irishness."
'Error of judgement'
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin today suggested the Government had created an "unnecessary controversy" - adding that the planned event is not an "appropriate vehicle" to explore complex themes about Irish history.
He argued: "It was an error of judgement compounded by the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste and their reaction to those who have decided not to participate.
"They should withdraw their accusation that, to quote Minister Flanagan, those who choose not to attend this event are abandoning 'mutual understanding and reconciliation'.
"This event will go ahead, and those who wish to participate in it should be fully respected in doing so."
Deputy Martin called for the establishment of a special cross-party committee on commemorations to consider future events.
Meanwhile, People Before Profit's Bríd Smith claimed Leo Varadkar's comments were "unbecoming of a Taoiseach".
She added: “We reject any suggestion that there is an equivalence between those who fought for Irish freedom and those that backed the crown occupation forces.
"I will be more than happy to disappoint the Taoiseach, as I would never attend such a disgraceful ceremony."