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Democracy vs Fascism? January 17, 2013

Posted by smiffy in Fianna Fáil, History, Irish History, Irish Neutrality, Uncategorized.

Here’s an interesting cartoon, from the New Zealand Herald in 1933, of a rugby match in which democracy is depicted standing up against a strange bunch including Mussolini, Hitler, a figure depicted as ‘Spain’ and … someone else we know.


When I looked at it first, I thought it was suggesting that De Valera was either a fascist or linked to fascism. Looking again, I’m not so sure. The details of the picture, on the website of the New Zealand National Library,here, states that it ‘(s)hows a rugby team composed of Mussolini, Hitler, De Valera and Franco, with a football representing ‘Fascism’. They are rushing towards the goal which is defended by a man representing ‘Democracy”.

Given the date, 4 April 1933, it could hardly be Franco. So what, in the eyes of the cartoonist (Trevor Lloyd) have in common, that unites them against democracy? One interesting, perhaps coincidental, point to note is that the cartoonist  (according to this thesis) is the son of a wealthy Irish migrant to New Zealand, and grandson of a former Deputy Lieutenant of King’s County (Offaly). This may or may not have any bearing on the piece.

Many of the readers here will have a far surer grasp of the history and politics of the period than me. Would anyone care to hazard a suggestion as to what is going on in this?

Deserter’s Songs… The Éire Motor Torpedo Boat at Dunkirk, or not. July 26, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish History, Irish Neutrality.
1 comment so far

Here’s an odd one. I’ve been doing a fair bit of research of my own for various reasons into the Emergency and what did I find but the following in passing mention on a board talking about the Irish military during the period. Did you know about Rathduff aerodrome, said by some to be a Doomsday location where had Germany successfully invaded Britain the RAF could have sent aircraft? Though some think it was no such thing.

Or what about this? From the BBC, a tale of the Dunkirk evacuation between 27 May and 4 June 1939. It goes as follows. The Irish Marine Service [check name] purchased a torpedo boat. Well, I’ll let the BBC explain:

Towards the end of May, 1940, a crew of the fledgling Irish Marine Service arrived in Hampshire to collect the second Vosper Motor Torpedo Boat ordered from Thornycroft by neutral Ireland.
As Operation Dynamo had just been instigated, signing over the craft was delayed until after the evacuation. Thornycroft personnel operated the boat to and from Dunkirk, with a volunteer Irish naval crew on board. The sailors wore a blue and yellow thread version of the Irish Defence Forces badge, the centrepiece being the interlocking letters “FF”. The cap tally did not yet bear the current Irish Navy title “Eire” and evacuees are said to have interpreted the badge as the initials of the Free French. After the evacuation, the first (though unofficial) action by neutral Ireland’s navy completed, the Irish crew obtained possession of the craft and sailed it to Ireland, where it served with the Irish Navy until 1952.
The members and crew are all deceased but the Irish National Services Museum Association is really eager to contact any surviving Thornycroft personnel or evacuees who were on this boat, descendants of either or anyone who may have more information on the part played by this crew in Operation Dynamo.

The problem is that I can’t find another actual record of it. Interestingly it cropped up again in the Irish Times of all places late last year during the controversy about deserters from the Irish Army during the Emergency. Mark Hennessy wrote:

Some became involved in the war even before they deserted. Gerry O’Neill, who was born in Fermoy, Co Cork, was one of a number of Irish sailors sent to Southampton in 1940 to collect a motor torpedo boat bought by the Irish authorities. By the time they got there the British navy was in the middle of the Dunkirk evacuation. “Our skipper had been in the Royal Navy and he decided to join the rescue fleet. He asked us if we’d volunteer, which we did.”
The crew made two trips across the English Channel, rescuing French and British soldiers, although their efforts could have had serious implications for Irish neutrality if they had been captured. After the second trip they were told to go home.
On his return to Haulbowline, in Cork Harbour, the crew were sworn to secrecy. “After this, I soon got browned off with the inactivity in the Irish Navy – and I decided to join the RAF,” said O’Neill, though he actually ended up in the Royal Navy.
Back in Ireland in 1942 on leave, he decided to join the Irish merchant fleet. His position as a deserter was quickly solved when he met Oscar Traynor, the minister for defence, at a dinner aboard the Irish Larch, a vessel owened by Irish Shipping. “I told him I’d deserted from the Irish Navy and asked if I could be pardoned, in view of the fact that I was now a greater help to the nation, serving with Irish Shipping exposed to all sorts of dangers.” Days later he received his discharge papers from the Irish Navy.

One big problem is the issue of the time line. There’s a sceptical thread here with some UK contributors.

The boat was handed over on 5 July, a full four weeks after the supposed action. Does it seem likely that an Irish naval crew would hang around four weeks after such an engagement before bringing the MTB back to Ireland?

All that said perhaps there’s more information, if so it would be very interesting to hear it.

World Peace Council Public Meeting March 12, 2011

Posted by Garibaldy in Communist Party of Ireland, International Politics, Irish Neutrality.

As can be seen from the poster above, Iraklis Tsavdaridis, executive secretary of the World Peace Council will address a public meeting to be held in Dublin on Thursday 24th January at 7.30pm in the Ireland Institute. The theme is The Peace Movement versus the EU and NATO.

Route Irish: ‘Open Source’ Documentary and one very important question about left/progresssive campaigns… December 17, 2007

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Iraq, Ireland, Irish Neutrality, Irish Politics, media, Media and Journalism.
1 comment so far

Eamonn Cruden has passed this press release along, and sorry to Eamonn about the delay. It looks interesting – if only as a particular view of a particular campaign (and because of a crucial question posed in bold) – and once there’s been an opportunity to look at it might well do an appraisal… I don’t know yet what it’s like. But… that question is crucial because the answer really does matter. How do mobilisations of people transfer into real-world effects. And not just in their specific impact but in their ability to shape medium to long term responses?

Press Release
Subject: ‘Route Irish’: An Irish ‘Open Source’ Feature Length Documentary To Be Released Primarily Through Bittorrent Networks
Date: 22 November 2007
Contact: Eamonn Crudden
Ph: 086 1603178
E-mail: ecrudden@gmail.com

Route Irish, a new Irish documentary, will be the first feature length documentary film from Ireland to be released and distributed primarily through the use of bittorrent networks.

These networks are more usually associated with the distribution of pirated tv and movie content. However they also offer a way for filmakers to globally distribute high quality copies of their films at no cost.

Route Irish is also an open source film being made available under a GPL copyright licence more usually associated with open source software. People interested in making their own versions of the film who contact the filmmaker will be provided with high resolution copies of the raw materials from which it was made.

It was made from a comprehensive archive of material filmed by a loose network of political activists between 2002 and 2006 and is a vérite documentation of the emergence between 2002 and 2004 of a broad popular opposition in Ireland to the US military use of Shannon Airport in the buildup to, invasion of, and occupation of Iraq. Its title refers to the name given to the road between Baghdad airport and Baghdad by the US military, and to the fact that Ireland was and remains the main transit point in Europe for US troops travelling to the war in Iraq.

The film follows a loose network of politicians, activist groups and individuals through the story of the rise, fracturing and sudden decline and disappearance of this movement and retraces the way in which their combined efforts, energies and strategies served to effectively tear away the Irish States’ veneer of neutrality and non-alignment in the post September 11th era of the ‘War on Terror’. It documents the part played in this process by a series of ploughshares style actions which took place in early 2003 at Shannon airport.

It takes the form of an essayistic reflection asking, from the perspective of one Irish individual caught up in the cycle of protests here, why the international pre-war wave of opposition to the invasion of Iraq appeared so suddenly, peaked so quickly, and failed to sustain itself despite the fact that, in historical terms, all of the predictions of that movement (and worse) were proved right in the course of the ongoing US/UK occupation.

It has also, because of the progress of political events in Ireland, become a very strange and surreal portrait of the Green Party pre their elevation to government in Ireland.

The film features noteable appearances by Willie O’Dea, Trevor Sargent, John Gormley, John O’Donoghue and Terry Leyden among a host of others.

Information on how to download the film is available at http://www.indymedia.ie/article/85188

Screenshots are available at this web address: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/84775

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