Tuesday 25 October 2016

Hitler's interest in anti-Semitic Irish was well founded

Published 11/10/2016 | 02:30

A fascist salute being given at Blueshirt meeting at Charleville, Co Cork, in April 1934
A fascist salute being given at Blueshirt meeting at Charleville, Co Cork, in April 1934

In his article in your paper on October 1, Brian Murphy expressed surprise at Hitler's interest in the 1938 appointment of Douglas Hyde as the first President of Ireland. Hitler's interest sprang from his awareness that diplomatic relations with our newish democracy were significant: he believed ours to be the only one that was pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic.

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This impression was given to the dictator by Charles Bewley who had been appointed our ambassador in 1933-1939. Long before that, during Bewley's time as our trade representative abroad, he had enjoyed very close ties with the Nazi 'aristocracy'. Among his writings was a hagiography of Hermann Goering.

Originally he had been appointed by the first Dáil as a consul for trade in Berlin. There he insulted Robert Briscoe, who was sent to Berlin to procure arms. Bewley, in reply to a German query about Briscoe's appointment, said "it was unlikely that a Jew of his type would be appointed". Bewley was recalled to Dublin. That was in 1922, long before Hitler assumed power.

Perhaps it was his Anglophobia that made Bewley an outspoken champion of Nazi Germany. He quarrelled incessantly with his colleagues and superiors but was nevertheless appointed our ambassador in 1933-1939. He continued to engage in propaganda work for the Nazis, contributing articles to the Goebbels-controlled German press, never concealing his anti-Semitic position.

Thus we have an ambiguous track record in appointing Ambassadors to Germany.

During the above period the Cumann Na nGael Party, recently renamed Fine Gael, was unashamedly pro-fascist, as was General O'Duffy, even WB Yeats. The 'Blueshirts' were popular.

John A Costello, Attorney General of the previous government and later prime minister, hoped we would follow the example of Benito Mussolini, whose anti-liberalism and anti-Bolshevik rhetoric, including anti-Semitic utterances, made fascism very acceptable in the upper echelons of the Catholic Church in Italy... Ireland at that stage was generally acknowledged to be anti-Semitic.

Remember what happened in Limerick? No wonder Hitler was interested.

Hugh Duffy, Cleggan, Co Galway

Deserving of Nobel Peace Prize

The decision to bestow the Nobel Peace Prize upon the Colombian president has rightly raised eyebrows. Peace remains as elusive and short-lived as ever and people have rejected a peace deal to end a 52-year war with the Farc guerrillas.

But as jurors perceive this award not only as a recognition of achievement but as an incentive to make peace a reality, why not nominate world figures like the former Irish President Mary Robinson and King Abdullah II of Jordan for this award? Mary Robinson was a fierce advocate for peace, tolerance, human rights and the abolition of racism and capital punishment. By the same token, King Abdullah II of Jordan has hoisted the banner of moderation, modernity and religious tolerance in a volatile region. He never ceased to illuminate the true image of Islam in the West and to champion the cause of peace between Arabs and Israelis.

Jordan is also the largest host of Palestinian refugees worldwide and it enjoys a historic custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy shrines in and around Jerusalem. The cause of peace and reconciliation could not be served better than awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to such dignitaries.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob, London

A museum for Dalymount Park

At last Shelbourne and Bohemians are to share Dalymount Park. Consideration should be given to providing space for a museum.

Considering the age of the ground, a museum would showcase the valuable historical and cultural input it has had in Irish society. It has played a major role in our sporting heritage and deserves a space where that should be acknowledged. It's long overdue and would be much appreciated by many older supporters like me. I am 82 and still attend matches as often as I can. I believe it would also be appreciated by the younger generations, who are the future of Irish football.

Vincent McSweeney, Malahide Road, Dublin 5

O'Leary - stick to the airplanes

At the Fine Gael fundraiser in the Shelbourne Hotel, Michael O'Leary attacked public service workers, while Michael Noonan remained silent along with three other Cabinet ministers.

Mr O'Leary said striking gardaí were immoral and should be sacked. He accused RTÉ of being a "rat-infested North Korean union shop".

He was applauded loudly by a crowd munching their way through a €55 breakfast while doing their best to avoid paying the €5 rise in old-age pensions for at least another eight months.

He asked for less tax on business people - he would, wouldn't he? He also attacked cyclists - it must be sad for someone who's travelled by plane since the day they were born!

I don't blame you, Mick, for being in bad form, things must be bad when you can't afford an extra fiver a week for the keep of your nags. Have you ever thought of training them yourself, Mick? Because you seem to be great at everything else.

Stick to cut-price airlines and remember this country survived long before you arrived into it!

Fred Molloy, Dublin 15

FG and corporate feudalism

It is entirely appropriate that Fine Gael provides the backdrop for a frustrated outburst of pique that wealth, power and influence is not transferring quickly enough to a new corporate feudalism which this and recent governments have bent over backwards to facilitate.

In the new order, massive global corporations will own and control all sources of production, service and wealth, paying as little tax as possible, and dictating conditions and standards in a new state of indebted serfdom for populations.

The catalyst for such transformation is enormous technological advance which has changed basic economic fundamentals to such a degree that present economic ideology and thinking is inadequate to manage an entirely changed situation.

The real tragedy is that modern technology, which should be of enormous benefit for all peoples of the world, is being allowed by inept, ill-informed and inadequate governments and administrations transfer wealth on an unprecedented scale to a shrinking minority while allowing the majority slip into idle insecurity, dependency and hopelessness.

There is urgent need for changed economic ideology. Instead of growth the world must adapt to sufficiency and, as equitably as possible, restrain enormous ability to overproduce.

Padraic Neary, Tubbercurry, Co Sligo

Irish Independent

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