Righting an old Irish wrong

Andy McSmith
alan shatter 300x225 Righting an old Irish wrong

(Getty Images)

The Irish government has taken a symbolic step to right a historic wrong today with the publication of an Amnesty and Immunity Bill which pardons 4,893 Irish soldiers who deserted during the last war to go and fight for the Allies against the Nazis.

Eamon de Valera’s government punished them with what was described in the Dail at the time as the “starvation order”, banning them from all forms of public employment for seven years. “The repercussions were dire for their families,” Robert Widders, author of the book Spitting on a Soldier’s Grave said.

“In 1940s Ireland if you were banned from employment and couldn’t get benefits then you could starve. A few of these soldier had independent means, but most of them were from very poor working class families. They were condemned without trial, representation or right of reply.”

Alan Shatter, Ireland’s Justice minister said: “I hope that the action we have taken on this issue will put to rest the concerns of those individuals still alive, who fought for freedom and against tyranny with the allied forces.  I also hope it lifts a veil for the families of those who have already died.”

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  • creggancowboy

    I agree but spoke to an expert on this at the weekend he said it is a massively hyped issue. It is, of course, Ireland’s shame that it did not fight Nazis. Still, even worse in your nation where it is a de facto police state. Hoch hoch!

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  • SpartacusMars

    No more than any other country that tried to avoid fighting the Nazis, which was most of the rest of the world. Only Britain and France elected to fight the Nazis, anyone else who fought did so because they were forced into it one way or another.

    For example, without Pearl Harbour the Americans would have been content to see every last Jew in Europe put to death.

  • creggancowboy

    My point is that we lost 49.490 in WW1 which was basically the German ruling class against the British ruling class but did nothing in WW2 which was Good versus evil.

  • SpartacusMars

    Evil is a subjective term. The Germans had good cause to feel wronged by WW1, both circumstance and post-war settlement. A militant response was the only response Germany had available to it. And that lesson was well-learned. After WW2 the Allies implemented a vastly different type of settlement on Germany than they had after WW1.

    If we’re looking for evil in terms of massacre of civilians, mass-rapes, etc., then the Allies and Russians can all lay credit to evil too.

  • creggancowboy

    No, allies in WW2 = good, Nazis = evil any other view is jejune.

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