Time running out to pardon war veterans
In a written reply to a request to pardon the Irish Defence Forces soldiers who deserted during World War Two to fight against the Nazis, Defence Minister Alan Shatter made three important points.
He rightly pointed out that nothing should be said that devalues the loyalty and service given by the Defence Force members who served within Ireland. He also accepted that many of those who deserted did so out of idealism to protect freedom and democracy. And he accepts that if the allies had lost the war, Ireland would have been invaded.
I'm heartened that Mr Shatter is "giving active consideration to the matter" of pardons. But time is rapidly running out. The health of many has deteriorated and if we are to see the few surviving veterans pardoned this side of the grave we need to act now.