Sunday, July 10, 2005


Sunday Scrutiny-Commemoration

I thought I'd temporarily return from my vacation away from blogging seeing as today is a day we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War 2. In Ireland, acknowledging WW2 is a bit awkward considering we did not take a directly active role in the conflict. Still, I tend to think that the role Ireland did play is too often overlooked. I've been discussing this over on A Tangled Web and I'll just highlight the points I made over there about Irish involvement:

- Luftwaffe pilots who crashed in Ireland were interned, Allied pilots were released to the North.

- Irish military intelligence worked closely with their British counterparts on what to do in case the Germans invaded Ireland.

- Irish weather reports were passed on to the Allies and these were crucial towards the timing of the D-Day landings.

- Positions of German submarines were regularly reported to the Royal Navy through secret messages.

- An Emergency Powers Act was introduced to deal with the IRA who sought a confrontation between Ireland and Britain. Any IRA activity was dealt with during the war, quite harshly by de Valera.

- When Belfast was attacked, 13 Fire Engines were sent to Belfast when it was bobmed and Dev formally protested to the Germans claiming they were hitting "our people".

- At the end of May, 1941, Dublin was hit by a Luftwaffe raid which killed 38 people and it's speculated this was a deliberate warning not to assist the Allies in any way.

- And, most notably, around 60,000 Irish people enlisted to fight for the British and twice that amount worked in munitions factories.

Considering only 20 years previously the State was in turmoil, I don't think that's anything to be ashamed of at all.

Irish neutrality is often criticised I note by the British but I don't think they know the full facts. Churchill indeed criticised Irish neutrality after the war yet he had to know the assistance the British were receiving.

I have seen in my history books as a child the wooden defences that the Irish relied on to make it LOOK LIKE they were real. We had laughable defences but we still helped out more than a neutral country should and as the saying goes, we were "neutral on the side of the British".
I note today is a day when those Irish who served with the British are honoured, and I myself had a grandfather who served with the Desert Rats in Africa and when he returned he had to hide his involvement from his countrymen.

I look forward to the day when all of us can stop nit-picking about the past and just acknowledge that more good was done than bad and that the evil of the Nazis was taken care of, largely due to quite admirable co-operation considering the feelings of the time.

With all that being said, it's a beautiful day outside and I think I'll go enjoy it. I have the freedom to do that thanks to the tremendous courage and sacrifice shown by people like my grandfather who helped make this world a better place.

I raise my glass to them, and I thank them for their heroism.


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