“No Pasaran, the pledge that made them fight” February 26, 2017Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
Key to photo- Back left standing: Val Moran (American) Archie Dewar (Scotland) Peter Daly, Frank Ryan, Paddy O’Daire, Jock MacCrae (Scotland) Jack Nalty, Arthur Ollerenshaw (Eng) Frank Edwards. Front row left: Nathan Tobias (England) Joe Monks, Jimmy Prendergast, Fred Warbrick (England) and Albert Neville (England), Peter Daly (hat cocked) from Wexford , killed in action , as was Jack Nalty from East Wall
Many thanks to JM of East Wall History Group for this timely post.
On this weekend 80 years ago (the 24th February 1937) , the Irish Free State passed into law the “SPANISH CIVIL WAR (NON-INTERVENTION) ACT, 1937”.
This legislation was summarised as “AN ACT TO CARRY INTO EXECUTION THE INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS OF SAORSTÁT EIREANN IN RELATION TO THE CIVIL WAR NOW BEING WAGED IN SPAIN, AND TO MAKE SUCH PROVISIONS AS ARE NECESSARY OR EXPEDIENT FOR THAT PURPOSE, AND IN PARTICULAR TO PROHIBIT CITIZENS OF SAORSTÁT EIREANN FROM PARTICIPATING IN THAT WAR.”
Among the sections legislated for were –
Prohibition of service in the military forces of a belligerent.
Restriction on the departure of citizens to Spain.
Restriction on the departure to Spain of nationals of certain countries.
Restriction on the departure of other persons to Spain.
Restriction on sale of travel tickets for Spain.
Power of Executive Council to prevent export of war material.
Arrest and punishment.
The act made it unlawful ‘for any person who is a citizen of Saorstát Eireann and is not, at the passing of this Act, a member of the military forces of a belligerent to accept or to obtain or attempt to obtain any commission or engagement in or otherwise to join or become a member of or attempt to join or become a member of the military forces of a belligerent’, or ‘to induce or attempt to induce persons generally or any particular person to serve in or accept any commission or engagement in the military forces of a belligerent’ or for ‘ any person to organise, aid, or abet the departure from Saorstát Eireann of persons departing from Saorstát Eireann for the purpose of serving in the military forces of a belligerent’.
Penalties for breaching the Act were a fine of up to £500 and/or two years imprisonment.
This Non Intervention was in line with the stated policy of the major European powers – though in effect it meant that Great Britain and France obstructed support for Republican Spain while ignoring the very significant direct German and Italian military involvement on behalf of the fascist forces . For the Irish Government, the real aim was to prevent volunteers travelling to support either side in the conflict.
At the time of the passing of the Act, hundreds of Irishmen were already involved with both sets of ‘beligerants’. Within a few months however, those who had travelled to support the Fascist forces (led by Blueshirt Eoin O’Duffy) would return to Ireland, under a very dark cloud. Their most significant engagement was actually against fellow Fascist’s, they showed blatant cowardice, disobeyed orders and were considered unreliable and unwelcome by Franco’s forces.
They were subsequently discharged and sent home.
On the other hand, the Republican and Socialist activists would show much greater courage and determination. The Irishmen who joined the International Brigades would remain in action almost until the war ended. Further anti-fascist volunteers would continue to travel to Spain, and some who were wounded in action and sent home would travel back into combat when recovered. This included the legendary Republican Frank Ryan who would be captured by Italian Fascists and the Dublin volunteer, Jack Nalty, who would be among the very last International Brigadiers to die in Combat in September of 1938.