Madam – On a recent visit to Glencree Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Co Wicklow, I came across the details of Operation Shamrock.
In 1946, at a public meeting held in the Shelbourne Hall in Dublin, attended by 300 people, a decision was made to help children from war-torn Europe. The first 88 children arrived in Ireland in July 1946. Close to 500 children would eventually come. No other country in Europe was inclined to help the defeated Fatherland when it was down. This massive undertaking was financed by the Irish Red Cross in 1946.
In 1947, the Committee of the International Red Cross in Geneva stated, "The Irish people raised a sum of £12m for the victims of the Second World War which was equivalent to £4 per head of the population of the country. That was the largest single donation from any country for post-war relief."
At an ecumenical service to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the event in 1997, the then German president, Roman Herzog, said: "The debt owed this nation by Germany in the post-war years could never be repaid."
Can I suggest to Frau Merkel that perhaps now it can.