Wednesday 21 August 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Our soldiers honoured their allegiance in neutral times'

Reflecting: A parachute descent takes place over Sannerville, France, during events to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Reflecting: A parachute descent takes place over Sannerville, France, during events to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

For the generations born in Ireland since the end of World War II it is understandably difficult for some of them to envisage the state of public opinion on the issue of Irish neutrality. As the world commemorates the 75th anniversary of D-Day, there has been much comment, mostly of a critical nature, on the morality of our policy of neutrality between 1939-1945.

There are some who even regard Ireland’s stance as not so much neutral but pro-Nazi. These critics make no reference to countries like Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden which adopted a policy of armed neutrality, while most of the nations embroiled in the war remained neutral until they were invaded or attacked, including the US and the Soviet Union.

During the war years, the fallout from partition following the Anglo-Irish conflict was still vivid in the public mind, seeing as how it was just 17 years since the guns of the Civil War had fallen silent, and for both sides in the bitter internecine bloodbath the British were still the common enemy.

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The decision of Dáil Éireann, not just Éamon de Valera or the government, to remain neutral, in all probability avoided an outbreak of a second civil conflict here.

Critics ignore the fact that all political parties in the Dáil, along with public opinion outside, favoured the policy of neutrality. Indeed just one TD, James Dillon, voiced disapproval at our neutrality. Even those Dáil members who were strong supporters of the Allied cause, and there were many, voted to remain neutral. Furthermore, proposals from Winston Churchill in 1940 for the offer of a united Ireland as a quid pro quo for Irish entry into the war were rejected by Mr de Valera. Our neutrality, sovereignty and independence were not for sale.

Despite our position as a non-belligerent neutral State, Ireland did not introduce a prohibition on her citizens opting for foreign enlistment before or during the war, nor did Ireland introduce conscription into her armed forces.

Those who joined the Irish Army had free choices. Furthermore, those who had a conscientious objection to our neutrality or those who didn’t wish to be left out of the fight for liberty had other options open to them.

As those Allied soldiers involved in the D-Day landings are rightly commemorated, may I thank all those Irish Army soldiers who stood by Ireland during World War II and stayed true to their oath of allegiance.

Tom Cooper

Templeogue, Co Dublin

Everyone’s having to play ball so Trump can enjoy his golf

THE tiny little village of Doonbeg in west Clare has become the centre of world media attention for 48 hours during US President Donald Trump’s short stay in the west of Ireland.

As a security ring of steel encircles the tiny hamlet, even the local hares and rabbits are hemmed in. This private presidential visit, which will cost the Irish taxpayer €10m to police, is being viewed by the locals as a godsend.

The American president has been described as a ‘breath of fresh air’ by struggling local business people, as they look forward to a bumper summer tourist season in the wake of his short visit. Having invested in rural Ireland and created hundreds of badly needed jobs on the west coast, he is highly regarded in the area as its biggest employer.

Even the hard-pressed local farmers have been asked to play ball, and not to cut silage or to spread slurry during the visit.

It wouldn’t do to embarrass ‘The Donald’ and have a bad smell waft its way across the nearby golf course, as the president was trying to impress the locals with his golf swing.

Tom Towey

Cloonacool, Co Sligo

Both sides of the carbon tax issue should be heard on RTÉ

ONE might be forgiven for questioning the effectiveness of RTÉ as a “public service” broadcaster.

Every time I have turned it on in recent times I have seen or heard presenters advocating the idea of carbon tax in some way, shape or form. Obviously I believe that the environment should be protected, however, opinion varies on whether carbon tax actually has any impact on emissions or if it just penalises poorer families, the elderly and people who must drive to work.

A bit of varied opinion would be nice from our so-called State broadcaster.

Adam Conroy

Newbridge, Co Kildare

Shedding new light on the stresses of jobs from the past

In her article about occupations that no longer exist, Laura Lynott mentions ‘lamplighters’ (“Rat-catchers, lamplighters and human computers – jobs that are dying out”, Irish Independent, June 4).

One imagines, though, it would be very hard to switch off after a day in that job?

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, D9

Irish Independent

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