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Bad history

The suggestion that Ireland carries shame for the Holocaust is as daft as blaming the nation for the Cambodian genocide of Pol Pot. The British and the allies did not go to war to bring an end to the Holocaust. The "Endlosung der Judenfrage" or Final Solution was only initiated in 1942 long after the war started. The great powers stood idle and none were 'sabre rattling' over the persecution of Jews all through the 1930s in Germany.

When war was declared it was not declared for the protection of the Jews, nor did the plight of the Jews even merit consideration in any allied military strategy.

Ireland could not take refugees because of the severe economic damage inflicted on the country by the Anglo Irish trade war that only ended in 1938, but from which recovery took decades. There were no jobs in Ireland, only abject poverty.

On the other hand, Britain, a very wealthy country and desperate for manpower, could afford to take people in. This fact is further borne out by the hundreds of thousands of Irish people who were forced to emigrate to Britain after the war. Britain, even though it was bust, could always rely on massive amounts of American money, which Ireland could not; nor was any funding or political encouragement offered to the country to help it to accommodate Jewish or other refugees.

Meanwhile, on the subject of an amnesty for the Irish Army deserters, one major question remains: if the British had carried out Churchill's threat and invaded Ireland during World War Two, would these men have shot and killed their former colleagues, neighbours, friends and countrymen? I am not involving myself in the argument for or against the amnesty. I can only state the obvious: that decisions based on faulty interpretations of history are faulty decisions.

Eugene Jordan
Barna, Co Galway

Irish Independent