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EXPOSED: Censorship in the Sunday Independent

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Sunday February 25, 2007 18:50author by Joan McAnthony Report this post to the editors

Sindo refuses right of reply to Manus O'Riordan

Eoghan Harris attacked Manus O’Riordan in his Sunday Independent column of February 11, after a February 4 letter from O’Rordan:

Memories of an Irish Waffen SS man, by Manus O'Riordan .

O’Riordan wrote after Harris attempted to link Irish republicanism with fascism in successive columns. O’Riordan pointed to a fascist he had come across, who was a member of a party Harris was in (SF the Workers Party, the one he was in longest). O’Riordan’s father, Communist Party General Secretary, Michael O’Riordan warned SFWP of the connection. The warning was ignored.

The letter obviously irritated Harris, since he took the unprecedented step of devoting another column (3rd time in four weeks) to the matter. Instead of answering the points raised by O’Riordan, Harrris instead attacked his critic from the security of his weekly perch.


With his usual ‘sinuendo’ Harris suggested that O’Riordan had “questions to answer” in relation to fascism. Harris used a letter Manus O’Riordan wrote to the Sunday Independent in January 2005 as evidence.

Judge O’Riordan’s letter for yourself :

Russell, knave or naive?, by Manus O’Riordan

Even Irish Republican, anti-fascist Spanish Civil War veteran, Frank Ryan, was dragged up on a charge of being soft on Adolf. The real crime in Harris’s eyes was opposing imperialism, especially of the British variety, and/or support for Irish neutrality during WWII.

Kitchen Sink

Harris also took exception to O’Riordan’s criticism of Harris’s favourite revisionist historian, Peter Hart (whose main claim to fame, as Indymedia readers know well, is reportedly interviewing a veteran of the 1920 Kilmichael ambush one week after the last one died).

Sindo Right of Reply? No thanks

Not unnaturally, O’Riordan expected a right of reply to the tirade of abuse and character assassination aimed in his direction. He sent in a response. However, in an extraordinary admission, transmitted through the Letters Editor, the Editor of the Sunday Independent said the “subject… is not of huge interest to our readers”, and refused to publish. This response immediately begs the question: if Harris’s outpourings on the subject are of such little “interest” to Sindo readers, why did the Editor, Aengus Fanning, permit him to repeat them in three columns over four weeks.

Perhaps it is the case that Sindo rulers, rather than Sindo readers, do not like to see their reactionary court jester humbled by facts he plays fast and loose with on a weekly basis, especially when the facts undermine the paper’s obsessional neo-unionist agenda.

Every so often the mask slips, and the Sindo’s guise of liberal toleration is shown for what it is: the outpourings of turncoats, humourless comics, and various scribblers writing to order.

Those Harris columns (no censorship on Indymedia):

Sunday Independent February 11, 2007
Talking movies, and my Platonic love for a good scriptwriter, by Eoghan Harris

Sunday Independent January 21, 2007
We are past masters at Nazi denial, by Eoghan Harris

Sunday Independent January 14, 2007
A warm house for Nazis, but a closed door for Jewish children, by Eoghan Harris

O’Riordan’s reply – the response the Sindo sought to suppress



Eoghan Harris complains of the length of my letter concerning Sinn Féin the Workers' Party's SS veteran member Staff van Velthoven (February 4) and - by way of riposte - proceeds to devote an even greater number of column inches to a catalogue of charges against myself (February 11). I can, of course, have no more objection to being called to account for my political record than should Eoghan himself. But since a number of his allegations amount to serious misrepresentation, I would like to have the right of reply to set the record straight.

(1) Eoghan describes me as "a former 'two nations' revisionist turned nationalist". In actual fact, I remain a "two nations" Republican who aspires to all-Ireland unity based on democratic consent, with mutual respect and recognition of the rights of both communities. As such, I am in the tradition of that great Republican priest and one-time Vice-President of Sinn Féin, the secularist and anti- fascist Fr. Michael O'Flanagan.

(2) "O'Riordan has written to the Irish Times expressing admiration for Gerry Adams in terms which must have brought a blush to that bearded cheek" [Note: see this letter below]. Are readers, then, being invited to take me for what Eoghan might describe as a "sneaking regarder" of the Provo war? Eoghan Harris knows very well indeed that I remained unequivocally opposed to that war throughout. I have only ever written two letters to the press concerning Gerry Adams. The first, in 1994, was to demand a ceasefire in conformity with the democratic Republican principles espoused by Fr. O'Flanagan. I also believe, however, in giving praise and encouragement to longtime political opponents when they courageously cross the Rubicon. This I did in my 1999 letter when Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin accepted the deletion of the territorial claim in the Republic's Constitution, at the same time as the Workers' Party finally did so. In other press correspondence that same year I had also given credit to Tomás MacGiolla - and by implication to the SFWP leadership as a whole, inclusive of Cathal Goulding - for the 1972 decision to at last drew back in horror from the implications of the Official IRA bombing of Aldershot, that in one single night had killed far more civilians than the whole of Seán Russell's pre-World War bombing campaign.

(3) "In a more recent letter to this newspaper he has defended Seán Russell, the IRA leader with fascist leanings". [Note: see this letter above] Are readers now being asked to infer that "fascist leanings" are what I defended? Those who check out your issue of January 9th 2005 will find that I specifically stated: "By all means condemn Russell, as I have always done, for his actions in defiance of de Valera, specifically his 1939 bombing campaign in England, followed by his request for German aid to mount an IRA invasion of the North". I also concluded that "de Valera was left with no option but to act ruthlessly and with resolve against Russell and his IRA followers", among whom was Cathal Goulding. I did, however, point out that Lahousen, the chief prosecution witness at the opening of the Nuremburg war crimes trials, had vouched for Russell telling him: "I am not a Nazi. I'm not even pro-German". My comment on that was: "This, of course, was extremely naive. As regards his dealings with Nazi Germany, Russell is to be condemned more as a fool than a knave. But notwithstanding that condemnation, Seán Russell is still entitled to the integrity of his reputation".

(4) Eoghan Harris attributes to Mrs, Budge Clissmann a statement continuing to defend the Russell line of "republicans seeking help from Nazi Germany". It is clear from the preceding paragraph that I have always totally disagreed with any such perspective. What should not be forgotten, however, is that throughout the 1970s there had been complete agreement between SFWP itself and that same Russell perspective. The pamphlet entitled Irish Republicanism, issued by Official Sinn Féin's Education Department in order to distinguish itself from the Provos, explicitly lamented the outcome of the Second World War that saw the defeat of Nazi Germany. That Party unashamedly bemoaned the lost opportunity of achieving Irish unity, "if Britain had been defeated in the War".

It is, however, also important to give SFWP credit for when that Russell line was finally abandoned. The current President of the Workers' Party, Seán Garland, can justifiably take pride in the fact that in 1980 he brought to successful publication Seán Cronin's unsurpassed biography of Frank Ryan. Cronin quite clearly demonstrated that, in contrast with Russell's war plans to undermine de Valera, Frank Ryan had proved in both word and deed his steadfast support for de Valera's neutrality strategy to keep Ireland free from both war and fascism, a loyalty fully acknowledged by de Valera himself in his 1975 interview with the veteran anti-fascist journalist Michael McInerney.

My father Michael O'Riordan's 1979 book Connolly Column had also endorsed Ryan's support for de Valera's neutrality policy. Since I have no objection to Eoghan Harris arguing that "in fairness" I should subject myself "to the same severe scrutiny" I apply to others, I should point out that in reviewing each of these books in 1981 I had in fact denounced the arguments of both Cronin and my father in support of Dev's neutrality. Recognising that it was Stalin's Red Army that had defeated Hitler's Nazis at the cost of more than 20 million Soviet lives, I then felt that the USSR had every right to block Ireland's membership of the UN for a whole decade as a punishment for such neutrality. A Stalinist stance too far, I later concluded, eventually persuaded by the sturdy defences of de Valera's wartime neutrality voiced by that Jewish veteran of Ireland's War of Independence and twice Lord Mayor of Dublin, Bob Briscoe, by the former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, Dr. Isaac Cohen, and by the leader of the Free French in their fight against Nazi Germany, General Charles de Gaulle. Eoghan Harris should learn from the mistakes that I myself made in that regard a quarter of a century ago.

By checking out the website readers can access both my more detailed assessment of Frank Ryan and the complete text of the commemorative address I gave at his graveside in October 2005, and from which Eoghan Harris quotes so selectively with accompanying spin. He objects to me giving the background of Ryan's earlier friendship with Helmut Clissmann and Jupp Hoven, who would use their later positions of influence in Germany's intelligence service in order to save his life. He neglects to point that this narrative was taken directly from Cronin's account. If Eoghan Harris has now developed some retrospective objection to its publication by SFWP he should say so directly, rather than use me as a proxy. He further objects to me paying tribute to the loving care shown by Budge Clissmann to Frank Ryan during his final years of illness and death, ignoring the fact that such tribute was also paid in Cronin's biography. In my father's book - a man acknowledged by Eoghan himself to have been "a brave fighter against fascism" - he had also felt honour bound in 1979 to record of Ryan's final years:"There the Clissmanns evidently showed much kindness to him". My father's steadfastness in political resolve did not result in him feeling compelled to otherwise diminish his recognition of humanity in all its complexity.

It was my father who had in fact proposed the October 2005 Frank Ryan commemoration as the last opportunity for surviving British and Irish veterans of the war against fascism in Spain to pay tribute to the Irish commander who had rallied the British Battalion so heroically at the battle of Jarama 70 years ago this month. It was to be his last public event, only a month before a stroke resulted in hospitalisation until his final illness. It was my father's own decision that this International Brigade commemoration should also be open to all who had stood loyally by Ryan under whatever set of circumstances, as it was his explicit decision to invite Budge Clissmann to the ceremony. My father, in turn, not only asked me to give the oration, he also vetted and approved its contents beforehand. For notwithstanding Eoghan Harris's spin, its anti-fascist politics were unequivocal. Eoghan's account omitted to record some other words of welcome that I had voiced: "We also have a Second World War veteran present, former Senator Jack Harte who, serving in the British army, fought against the Nazis in Greece. He subsequently became their prisoner-of-war, being transported from Greece to Italy, and then to Germany itself. He is here today in order to pay his respects to the memory of Frank Ryan."

Contrary to what those who have only read Eoghan Harris's riposte might think, I had cast no aspersions on Cathal Goulding's personal courage or integrity. Despite our sharp political differences, we continued to maintain friendly relations with each other on a personal level for close on 30 years.Our last conversation lasted several hours when Cathal approached me, after giving a moving oration at the 1993 funeral of Beatrice Behan, in order to express his sadness at the ending of my father's friendship with him. But fond rememberance is no excuse for dishing up bad history that fails to record an atrocious exercise in political judgment.

I was still a schoolboy in the mid 1960s when I made it my business to try and find out who did what during World War Two. My final 1966 conversation with the late Alan Heussaff, second-in-command of Celestin Laine's Bezen Perrot, was to hear him denounce his fellow Breton nationalist Yann Goulet as a softie who, having begun to take a dislike to the manner in which the War was unfolding, had pulled back from his previous support of Germany. This was unlike Heussaff himself ,who told me that he had continued fighting in support of Germany right up to the bitter end, as had his Flemish friend and soulmate Staf van Velthoven. That for me was an eye-opener. When, in subsequent years, Alan Heussaff began to move in Official Sinn Féin circles. I thought I should bring my previous conversation to the attention of another member of that Party's leadership. And so my other eye was also opened when that same "Marxist" - not party to this present controversy - responded: "They were right!".

There is little point in Eoghan Harris regurgitating the Churchillian complaint about "dreary steeples" when, under the heading of "We are past masters at Nazi denial", it is he who has made such a big issue of Official Ireland's award of the commission for the Custom House memorial to Yann Goulet, whille manifesting similar denial himself in respect of the far more serious political issue of Staf van Velthoven's prominent Official Sinn Féin role during the 1970s - as a member of its "Frank Ryan Cumann", God help us! Eoghan's description of him as "a former fascist turned socialist" is unadulterated whitewash, if it is not just tautology pure-and-simple. For it was as a national socialist that van Velthoven had roared at me in 1974. And anybody who actually reflects on the Ireland's Nazis documentary interview with him will have seen a van Velthoven continuing to exhibit nothing but pride in his Waffen SS past.

It has been necessary for me to address in detail the quite serious misrepresentations of my position as contained in this, the second-ever occasion on which Eoghan Harris has referred to me in his column. But it would be remiss of me to conclude without mentioning the first such reference in his column of May 21st last. Here there was no axe to grind nor any misrepresentation of political differences. On that occasion Eoghan extended to myself personally and to the rest of my family his condolences on the death of my father. Such condolences were in turn appreciated for the genuine spirit in which they had been offered.

Yours sincerely, Manus O'Riordan

The letter to the Irish Times that Harris objected to (see point 2 above):

The Irish Times July 08, 1999

Saving The Belfast Agreement

Sir, - July 1st saw the historic opening of the Scottish Parliament in the absence of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He had stayed behind in Belfast to engage with the Ulster Unionist response to the courage and heroism displayed by Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Gerry Kelly and other Sinn Fein leaders. As First Minister Trimble started out the day before the TV cameras, we all heard that response, a petulant abuse of both Prime Minister Blair and Taoiseach Ahern as "willing fools" for recognising the courage of the Sinn Fein President.

If the Prime Minister had attended the Edinburgh Parliament he would have borne witness to a Scottish nation confidently looking to the future, underpinned by both the statesmanlike address of its First Minister and the Parliament itself joining in the singing of Rabbie Burns's great anthem of democracy A Man's A Man for A' That. It fell to Prime Minister Blair to address instead the Ulster Unionist Members of the Northern Assembly - but to no avail. And perhaps it is just as well that their First Minister absented himself from that meeting since here too a line from Rabbie Burns might have been found all too appropriate to characterise that Belfast farce - "Wee sleekit cow'rin' tim'rous beastie."

I do not relish seeing the history of 25 years ago repeating itself as farce, since it is not alone even more tragic but is in fact far more dangerous than ever before. In 1974, I was among a handful of people who went out with buckets of paste to cover Dublin City with posters saying "Save Power-Sharing: Delete Articles 2 and 3".

But by copper-fastening that territorial claim in the wake of the Supreme Court judgment that it represented a constitutional imperative, the Cosgrave-Cruise O'Brien government ensured the collapse of the Sunningdale Agreement. Nonetheless Seamus Heaney's "hope and history" at last appeared to rhyme for me last year when the people of the Republic voted overwhelmingly to replace the territorial claim with the principle of consent, in the context of full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

If First Minister Trimble persists in sabotaging that Agreement he will indeed have earned a unique place in history - as the Ulster Unionist leader who actually refused to lead his people into the future and instead bequeathed to them the retention of Articles 2 and 3, with the full force of a constitutional imperative to govern what he will have demonstrably proven to be a failed political entity. - Yours, etc.,

Manus O'Riordan

author by Anguish Fanningpublication date Sun Feb 25, 2007 21:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Eoghan Harris supports anyone who supports the British Empire. In which case he should support Hitler who was in awe of it.

William Joyce, 'Lord Haw Haw', was a Black & Tan informer who left Ireland (in a hurry) to join British and then German fascists, and ended up broadcasting for Hitler. Eoghan Harris is a confused turncoat reactionary suffering an authority complex. He supports the biggest bully on the block and can't abide being contradicted. He once gave a speech to a gathering of young lawyers "in the manner of a fascist" (his own words) - he looked at home, even if no one else in the room did.

Eoghan Harris defends the 'Gentle Black and Tan' against verdict of history

Haw Haw and Harris: who supported Black &Tans and British Empire?
Haw Haw and Harris: who supported Black &Tans and British Empire?

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author by Grouchopublication date Sun Feb 25, 2007 22:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

See also The Shankill Moaner

Last night I watched on DVD the recently released Star Wars film The Solar Wind That Shakes The Banthas which supposedly is an heroic account of life in the Star Wars galaxy during an utterly disgracful ‘struggle‘ for independence from an ‘evil‘ empire, and I have to say that its disgusting and uncalled for one-dimensional portrayal of the Stormtroopers as villains and fiends to a man had me spluttering with moral indignation into my wine glass..........


On this day 21st November 1932

Nazi party leader Adolf Hitler reacted furiously today after being accused by a Communist party member in the Reichstag of acting like a PD.

The former colonel from Austria screamed and shook his fist in the air and demanded an apology for what he called ‘an attempt to blacken my good character’.

But the Communist rival was unrepentant saying that Herr Hitler had earned the insult after repeatedly standing up the in Reichstag to accuse everyone else of being fascists and of having silly mustaches.

"Silly mustaches"
"Silly mustaches"

author by Nick Folley - Nonepublication date Mon Feb 26, 2007 00:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Columnists in newspapers can devote half a page to their topic and throw out half a dozen unsubstaniated allegations in as many lines, each of which might require half a page in itself to refute clearly. Those attempting to reply are supposed to do it in a hundred or two words or less, no mean task. Go a few dozen words over the limit and your letter risks getting edited out of all recognition, if it ever makes it to print. But at least it proves the general public's writing skills have to be far sharper than your average columnist's.

author by Seoirse Bradleypublication date Sun Mar 11, 2007 13:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Harris is a bully and an authoritarian. His Stalinism was founded on psychological need not on political belief. At the beginning of the Iraq war he was busy asslicking the Bushites and in particular the odious Richard Perle. He has since grown silent on these matters. He has all the fears and suspicions of the petit-bourgeoisie from which he came: in his case definitely more petty than bourgeois.

author by Frankpublication date Sun Mar 11, 2007 13:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And who can ever forget his assertion on the Matt Cooper show that the Tans couldn't have been all that bad because there were no reported rapes in Ireland during their stay. Memorable!

author by Joan McAnthonypublication date Wed Mar 21, 2007 14:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

See also
Communist to Capitalist - Eoghan Harris fights the pesky RTE provos

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author by Platopublication date Wed Mar 21, 2007 15:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would have thought it unnecessary to write explaining what Eoghan Harris is. His employ of the Sunday Indo is to do the wishes of his master Tony O'Reilly who clearly suffers an indentity crisis. He claims to be both British and Irish at the same time. To serve his master, Harris must mimic this condition and he does so with relish as it allows him to act out his desire for vengence. Harris was obviously the subject of bullying during his schooldays and he dishes it out now to those that cannot defend themselves in the classic way of the bully-from an untouchable distance. Harris is a bully made by bullies-nothing more, nothing less, incapable of normal civil intercourse. Let him be.

author by A.Colen - nonepublication date Sat Apr 07, 2007 08:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is no such thing as an Irish Hidden Past.
Everything went according to International law.
The case against A.Folens.
Tilefims documentary

Flemish or Dutch individuals that came to Ireland as refugees around 1948 and 1950 were only in very small numbers. Along with them came Flemish or Dutch farmers to Ireland who had bought land there such as the parents of pop singer Bob Geldof.
In all I estimate the number of real refugees to be about ten or fifteen families.
They all were thoroughly screened by the professional detectives of the Aliens Branch at the Dublin Castle.
The rule was that one had to tell the truth and nothing but the truth whatever it was. Should one lie the detectives could easily discover it by contacting the Belgian or Dutch embassy in Dublin.
They knew of course because all refugees who came with wife and children had to obtain Belgian or Dutch identity papers for them from the embassies in Dublin.
If one obtained a residence permit then he or she had to appear in person and to report from time to time to the Dublin Castle.
Travelling for business outside Ireland was no problem. A possibility existed created by the League of Nation at Geneva.
Because they had no proper identity papers to travel abroad refugees had to apply for a ‘Nissen’ pass issued by the League of Nations at Geneva and under the control of the International Red cross. They were then officially recognized and protected as political refugees subjected to certain rules. Many refugees applied for such a pass because one could not travel to Britain without it and even with a Nissen pass a visa had to be got at the British consulate in Dublin before one could go to England.
This meant that even the British would check and therefore know for what reason they issued a visa.
I say that all Flemish or Dutch immigrates at that time held the status of political refugee and that this was common knowledge to the Dutch or Belgian ambassadors at Dublin.
There was no mystery or secrecy about who resided in Ireland and did not.
On top of it, refugees had to obtain passes for their wife and children at the Dutch or Belgian consulate. More, they were obliged to renew from time to time the papers for their families residing with them. Some held a valid Belgian pass for life.
Those that engaged in business and had to travel to France or Germany and did so with their ‘Nissen’ passes. If there were any doubt - border officials could not arrest them but only stop them at the border from entering the country and send them back to were they came from, i.e. Ireland.
Some of them travelled up en down trough England or France on their way to Germany and Holland or to Denmark.
Those that did not obtain the status of recognised political refugees were sometimes swindlers that sought residence in Ireland because of financial difficulties at home and pretended to be a refugee in order to obtain a residence permit in Ireland.
I fail to see what all the commotion is about. Everything went legally and internationally politically correct and there were no abuses.
De Valera, who had nothing to do with this, if so, he applied only international law.
The politics of the person came not into the picture because it did not concern the Irish who had abstained and kept neutral during the war and de Valera’s policy was to impress upon Britain that Ireland was an independent country and would assert its right to remain than way. He did not accept any dictation though Ireland was merely a ‘Free state’ under a British Vice Roy. Not a fully independent country.
At that time all immigrants met with other immigrants and it should not surprise one that political refugees met members of the Jewish community especially n Dublin.
I can not believe that it was official Irish policy to keep Jewish people from entering the country. Economic circumstances at that time were very poor in Ireland and many had to accept meagre salaries to subsist. It is no wonder then that some left Ireland again to go to Canada of Australia.
Only those stayed who in he run had a sizable income, others went back to their county of birth were they obtained a settlement of their civil rights or had their conviction squashed, obtained a pardon and recovered their civil and political rights.
In fact some arranged their affairs in Belgium or Holland and stayed on in Ireland because heir families had become entirely Irish and had no interest in leaving this beautiful country.
After a stay if five years and having no criminal record, refugees could apply for Iris Citizenship. Some did and could travel with an Irish passport. One exception, nationalized Irish citizen did not apply to the nationality of birth. Which meant that a Belgian took the Irish nationality he would still remain a Belgian and not Irish in his country of birth; Belgium. Were he to be arrested when while staying in Belgium, the Irish government would not protect him.
I believe that all Flemings that fled to Ireland settled their differences with the Belgian government over the years and were free to travel unhindered between Ireland and Belgium.

I bet many of these refugees were very thankful to Ireland and the Irish and liked to act as Irish people.
Their offspring in any case would stay and be Irish with the Irish while it might happen that the their elders choose to return to their origin.
In any case I do not understand he retarded mentality of sourly people starting an argument about what happed 60 to 65 years ago and whereof nearly all characters have died off-scene and be buried for good.
I have always liked the Irish for their quiet and logical judgement.
Lets us believe what is the national truth: President de Valera was a good and intelligent leader. He knew what he wanted to obtain: the Freedom for Ireland.
Alexander Colen (87)

author by lex colen - nonepublication date Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:42author address Belgiumauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Re: Hidden IRELAND

Information only

Dear Mr Collin.

When I learned that Tilefilms did not play fair, I contacted a well known Weekly in Flanders.
I spoke also on the telephone with Mrs Julliet Folens Dublin.
Here in Belgium the reporter investigated the judicial position of the Folens family.
Legally it is as follows.
Folens had been tried by a court on the full evidence of his collaboration. He received three years. In spite of the fact that some say he appeared on a list of war criminals. That list must have been consulted at the day of his trail when, we must accept, he got a fair judgement. Why has he not be condemned to be executed?

He escaped from prison and in his absence, his layers obtained a reprieve and his sentence was reduced to 3 years.
(They could not let him entirely be innocent, he had served then already three years.)
He recovered his full civil rights and his Belgian pass and could travel unhindered to Belgium.

In essence he has been found innocent of all charges.

Seemingly there is a law, enacted in1964, in force that if one recovers all civil rights his name is eliminated from the judicial criminal register, cleared in fact, and that his past should be held against him.

In fact Mrs Folens is in a position to claim damages from the Tilefilm company on these grounds in Belgium.

I am not a layer and have this only from the investigating party ( it will probably be mentioned in the papers)

I must add that I am very much disappointed; I expected a fair documentary. Instead they used the confessions of Staf van Velthoven as a means to slander the former President of Ireland. Obviously Tilefilms are not Irish people.
How could a true Irish person allow his Irish soil to be soiled by the Irish themselves.
Yours true fully
Alexander Colen
After all, I am still an Irish national.

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author by Patrick Johnpublication date Fri Jul 11, 2008 20:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The man who praises De Valera should be aware that this man signed the book of condolences when Hitler committed and this was when the most of his crimes were widely known. In Dante's Inferno the hottest place in hell was for those, who when the chips were down, took no side. De Valera and his successor, Haughey who supported the Nazis, were a shame on humanity and anyone who is proud of either is not part of decent humanity. Let us not forget that De Valera's father was not some Spaniard but a man called Davis who had deserted from the British Army in Canada, he was a Celt Cornish.

author by Mise le Measpublication date Sat Jul 12, 2008 15:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's a given that working for Independent Newspapers plc, and in particular The Sunday Indo, requires a very Catholic-like confession in print of one's previous political 'sins,' that is, allegiances, and thereafter one is patted on the back, told not to do it again, and made a member of staff. But there are others in the Irish cultural scene who either repudiate their Leftist pasts or are jealous of those who continue to believe and fight. Blairite socialism is a safe option, for instance, for many in the arts' world. Save for the few, and God bless 'em, we are peopled by souls who believe that idealism is a four-letter word. That is a great pity for the country.

author by tomeilepublication date Mon Jul 14, 2008 13:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Patrick John wrote :

"The man who praises De Valera should be aware that this man signed the book of condolences when Hitler committed [suicide] and this was when the most of his crimes were widely known."

It may be widely accepted that De Valera signed the book of condolences after Hitler's suicide , but I have never seen any evidence for it . It seems unlikely that the German embassy would have opened up a book of condolences at the time .

author by Alex Colen - nonepublication date Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:40author email alexander.colen at telenet dot beauthor address Flanders(Belgium)author phone Report this post to the editors

As mentioned before, Ireland at the time of De Valera ,in 1945 was a Free state under the British Crown and a representative of the Crown, a Vice Royal, resided in the Park at Dublin as a symbol of the British Realm.
De Valera wanted Ireland to be an independent republic.
So this situation was unacceptable to De Valera’s as he saw it according to his personal political vision. He decided to act as if Ireland was already free.
“Ireland a Nation once again”
Ireland was not yet an Independent nation but De Valera acted as if it was one.
He refused to allow the British Fleet to use the Irish sea ports for war purposes but on the other hand he allowed the American military to land at Shannon and to travel through Ireland on their way to England.
At the defeat of Germany the English and Americans brought political pressure to bear on all countries that had not engaged in the war against Germany in order to declare war upon an already defeated nation that had not been their enemy. Many did so, even those that had traded with Germany during the war and made money out of it.
Once again De Valera would assert the right of Ireland to its independent Identity. He refused to act against his conscience the and to show it he went to the German ambassador to offer his condolences upon the death of Germany’s head of state, not especially for Hitler.
He never wavered, he never gave in. Was he not truly a courageous man?
Who else would have taken such genuine risks facing up to British anger and putting himself on the threshold of political destruction?
Winston Churchill and the British hated him for that, long after the war was over by calling him a friend of the Nazi’s. Slander him! They dared not touch him otherwise though they were powerful politicians and De Valera only the head of a small country.
De Valera’s moral courage could not be denied so to slander him would undermine his historical significance.
And what now at present, 63 long years after the events?
For what Hitler did, De Valera was not responsible.
Do not forget that De Valera was a Christian religious man. Hitler was a political follower of Darwin. To day one would say; De Valera was Right, Hitler left.
To day, those than were not even conceived when these events took place find it all to easy to act in denouncing the ( to them unknown) figure De Valera now as to day’s political overbearing suckers do.
Alex C.


author by Scepticpublication date Tue Nov 11, 2008 17:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

“It may be widely accepted that De Valera signed the book of condolences after Hitler's suicide, but I have never seen any evidence for it. It seems unlikely that the German embassy would have opened up a book of condolences at the time.” - Tomeile

This is wrong. You have not looked very far for the evidence if its evidence you need. It is not in any way in dispute that De Valera visited the residence of the German Ambassador in Monkstown to express his official condolences on the death of Hitler. However there would not have been a book of condolences as such.

“As mentioned before, Ireland at the time of De Valera ,in 1945 was a Free state under the British Crown and a representative of the Crown, a Vice Royal, resided in the Park at Dublin as a symbol of the British Realm.” – Alex Colen

This is also wrong. There was no crown representative in the park since the coming into operation of the new 1937 constitution which instituted the office of President. This also marked the end of the title “Free State”. Moreover the State was not “under the British Crown” in 1945. Ireland was an independent nation since 1922.

“he allowed the American military to land at Shannon and to travel through Ireland on their way to England.” - Alex Colen
Not true – for one thing Shannon then in its very early stage of development did not have runway capacity to take trans Atlantic planes until 1945 and it would not have been possible to use planes to mass transport troops from Gander or Bangor to Ireland at that time. In any case it did not happen – US troops did not land in the national territory except by misadventure.

“Hitler was a political follower of Darwin.” - - Alex Colen
Darwin was not a politician or philosopher but a scientist. Hitler was a nationalist.

“Winston Churchill and the British hated him for that, long after the war was over by calling him a friend of the Nazi’s.” - Alex Colen

Not true to say that Churchill ever called him a friend of the Nazis. If anything the US and USSR were much more hostile to the Irish State after the war than the British thus the Irish UN entry was much delayed. The British maintained good working bilateral relations at all times even during the ill felling caused by the 1949 declaration of a Republic.

author by Alex Colen - nonepublication date Wed Nov 12, 2008 13:57author email alexander.colen at telenet dot beauthor address Flandersauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Indeed I have to recognise that I was wrong about the Irish Free state which was disestablished in the year 1936 as I gather.
I did say that Americans landed at Shannon they actually landed on the Shannon by water plane and it were not troops or weapons but Military Staff and diplomats obviously on missions of war.
In any case the intentions of De Valera were true and Honest. That he paid a visit to the German Embassy might not be true but is a story that is rumoured by the Irish themselves.
Anyway, the Irish should be grateful that De Valera kept them out of the war. Who else would have done so?
About Darwin.
The Americans adhered to a thesis of Social Darwinism. Darwin might have been a scientist but we all know that he wrote his comments according to his personnel vision about the way life progressed from low down till higher stage. That he was a scientist makes it even more important than that he had been a mere philosopher. What a philosopher declares is to the masses as what the poets recite, but, what a scientist teaches pretends to be the palpable truth for everybody not poetry!
Jesus Christ never condemned a man to be burned at the stake! But many Christians were condemned to this horrible death by Christians and in the name of Christ.
The vulgarisation by the daily press during the Twenties contributed to he awareness of the Darwin view of life as opposed to religious belief of the general public.
It is undeniable that Hitler, who never received a proper higher education, got his theories from the scientist Darwin learning about them from the popular press.
I was 13 or 14 years old in the thirties and remember Darwinism was the subject of many discussion amongst he young. I went to a non religious school and we were taught history according to Darwin (Man descending from the Ape and the existence of races) and we looked down upon the students of the Catholic schools who had erroneously to pretend that God created Man and all were equal in the eyes of God ( Poor ignorant fellows)
It was a heated debated discussion on political level, in and out of parliament, between Catholics, Liberals and last but not least leftwing socialists and communist. In books and papers because it affected the relations between religion and politics.
If I have been mistaken in derails seems quite possible but that does not concern my admiration for a Figure as De Valera.
Alex Colen

author by tomeilepublication date Wed Nov 12, 2008 17:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sceptic wrote , "However there would not have been a book of condolences as such. "

If there was no book of condolences as such , then there would have been no possibility of De Velera signing it as such is the point I was making , Sceptic.

author by Scepticpublication date Thu Nov 13, 2008 15:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It’s not in dispute that Dev personally conveyed his condolences to the German Ambassador on Hitler’s death. That is what is important. Whether or not there was a book of condolences is hardly a substantive issue. In any case one can condemn Dev for this while also lauding him for other things.

“Anyway, the Irish should be grateful that De Valera kept them out of the war. Who else would have done so?” – Alex Colen

One has no wish to pick an argument with this man of venerable age from Flanders who lived through the era but W. T Cosgrave or any of the rest of the then Irish opposition would have done the same except for James Dillon who was a lone voice. There was virtually unanimity for the decision among democrats at least. This was affirmed by the Council of State and by the Oireachtas. That said Dev was a statesman of considerable sagacity.

Charles Darwin cannot be held responsible for what other lesser minds later came up with. Hitler picked up his racial theories from various anti-Semitic pamphlets circulating in Vienna in the early 20th century. Darwin may have postulated the theory of natural selection but the theories of racial superiority were not his. Darwin was only reporting were his empirical observations led him to.

author by Limbo dancerpublication date Fri Nov 14, 2008 00:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dev was observing protocol and continuing the role of official neutrality. Ireland was de facto neutral against Germany during the war. Early after the outbreak in 1939 Dev went to London and made a secret deal (only revealed when state papers were opened some time ago) that if the Gerries invaded Ireland the British Army would pop over to deal with them and the Irish Army would come under British overall command for the duration of the campaign. Many RAF pilots who crash-landed on Irish soil were hurriedly taken at night in army trucks to the border and quietly handed over to RUC safe custody pending repatriation to Britain. All Luftwaffe pilots were taken to the Curragh military camp and interned until late 1945 and eventually repatriated by the International Red Cross. Some of them stayed in Ireland and married local girls. The German internees "had a good war" as the saying goes, and so also did the token number of RAF internees kept there for show purposes, in a separate nearby wired compound. Some of them were allowed out of the internment centre temporarily to assist farmers in saving hay and harvesting potatoes. They were fed with dinners of nourishing spuds, cabbage and bacon and may have earned some beer money for this voluntary work.

In 2003 Ireland under Bertie became neutral against Iraq by letting all those US military planes land and refuel at Shannon. Such cutehoor neutrality fools no one; hence a reason for the hammer job done on the nose of a warplane by some of Ciaron's associates etc.

author by tomeilepublication date Fri Nov 14, 2008 18:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

“Whether or not there was a book of condolences is hardly a substantive issue.”

I agree with Sceptic on that . It shouldn’t be a substantive issue because there is no substance to the claim seeing as the book of condolences didn’t exist - as such . I can understand why Alex Cohen as an outsider seems bewildered by the twists and turns in recent Irish political discourse . He would be able to remember that there was never any suggestion in De Valera’s own lifetime that he was a supporter of Hitler. “De Valera signed the book of condolences on Hitler’s death ” is a fiction designed to make Dev appear as a fascist sympathiser . Sceptic maintains the fiction in his assertion that “ Dev personally conveyed his condolences to the German Ambassador on Hitler’s death “ , as if Dev was personally mourning the death of Hitler .

So why does this non-substantive matter keep cropping up , when did it originate ,and who dreamt it up? People like Patrick John and Sceptic are in all fairness to them out of touch with current strands of Irish historical research –a bit off message . The “De Valera was a fascist” line was devised sometime around the early eighties by people who wanted to discredit republicanism because of what was going on in the north at the time . The same people who claimed that Dev was a fascist were clamouring then for repression against republicans on the ground that they were also fascists –green fascists was the term used .

Dev was given the treatment by pro-British forces embedded in the Irish media and academia because of his one time links to republicanism . But times have moved on . The group of historians for hire who back then invented the myth that Irish republicanism was a type of fascist movement have now come full circle and are seeking to invent new myths to underpin what they see as the new dispensation in Irish politics. Manus O'Riordaid should really come clean.

author by Scepticpublication date Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tomeile is twisting things. Anyone should know there is a distinction between official condolences and personal bereavement. I never implied the latter in respect of dev and Hitler. I don’t in fact regard dev as a fascist or anything like it. It was Russell and his lot who were the Irish fascists. However I do believe his condolences showed a lack of judgement on this occasion. He could be over scrupulous at times. Many historians think likewise.

It is a fact - it id happen - its even in the approved O'Neill/Longofrod biography. I did not bring it up but commented on it when raised by others - purely in the interests of historical accuracy not to make any point.

author by alexander colen - nonepublication date Fri Nov 21, 2008 09:29author email alexander.colen at telenet dot beauthor address Ghent Flandersauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Last word on Darwin
Septic wrote
Charles Darwin cannot be held responsible for what other lesser minds later came up with. Hitler picked up his racial theories from various anti-Semitic pamphlets circulating in Vienna in the early 20th century. Darwin may have postulated the theory of natural selection but the theories of racial superiority were not his. Darwin was only reporting were his empirical observations led him to.
Wat did empirical observation allow to be discovered?
And that was one would say, the struggle for survival in a most cruel and savage wild nature. Beast attacted and devoured each other and they had to be healthy and strong to survive!
TO DAY anyone can, finger on the mouse look up everything about DARWIN on the internet. We know for sure what Social Darwinism is and what the Genetics from his cousin Galton were.
Septic wrote that Hitler picked up his ideas from racists tracts in Vienna and that was it.
How does he know? He is far too young to have witnessed that.
Hitler was one of many following the Darwinist way of thinking. . Hitler was in the pay of the German army as a political agent. His duties were to report on what went on politically on the German political scene concerning new ideas and opinions. That he outgrew his former superiors in the army intelligence service was caused mainly by his ability as a speaker on the public platform.
During the war in 1917 the German army staff published a kind of political paper that was distributed at the front amidst the fighting soldiers. It was the time of rising socialisms and the Army Staff wanted to combat it. . The paper was called : The National Socialist!
So the name National Socialist was not thought up by Hitler?
Hitler’s ideas were not his own. He was influenced by others.
It is so that, at that time, Darwinism shook the intellectual world.. and was much discussed and belonged to the then modern progressive ( to day we would say leftist) i deals. It even led to the ideas of euthanasia practised at that time in Sweden and America.

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