Page 11, 11th November 1938

11th November 1938
Page 11
Page 11, 11th November 1938 — Tit UL J ENGLAND CONSCRIPT
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Organisations: British Government, Labour, Dail
People: W. Norton, de Valera
Locations: DUBLIN

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Tit UL J ENGLAND CONSCRIPT

IRISH CITIZENS?

Claims Contrary To International Law

—Says Mr. de Valera

From Our Own Correspondent

DUBLIN.

THE GOVERNMENT HAVE HAD UNDER CONSIDERATION WHETHER IRISH CITIZENS PERMANENTLY OR ORDINARILY RESIDENT IN GREAT BRITAIN WOULD NOT, AS SUCH, BE LIABLE TO MILITARY SERVICE IN THAT COUNTRY IN THE EVENT OF WAR. IRISH CITIZENS PERMANENTLY OR ORDINARILY RESIDENT IN GREAT BRITAIN WOULD NOT, AS SUCH, BE LIABLE TO MILITARY SERVICE IN THAT COUNTRY IN THE EVENT REFERRED TO.

So stated Mr. de Valera in the Dail, replying as Minister for External Affairs, to a question by the Labour Leader, Mr. W. Norton.

" The Government arc advised that a law enacted in any other country, under which the Government of that country would now, or in the future, claim to impose military service on all persons per

manently or ordinarily resident there, on the ground that such persons were born in Ireland or were born of Irish parentage, would not be consistent with that convention or with those principles.

The Law Still Exists a It will be borne in mind, however, that prior to the enactment of the Constitution of 1922, Irish-born persons and the children born abroad of Irish-born fathers,

acquired British nationality at birth under the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act which were part of the law of the late United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

" The British law to which I have referred has not been altered in this connection in Great Britain.

" That law is not consistent with the present international status of Ireland or with the international character of the relations now existing between the two countries.

" So long as this anomaly continues it is obvious that in the event of war, there is a danger of a conflict of view with regard to the question of the liability for military service in Great Britain of certain Irish citizens permanently or ordinarily resident there, those, namely, who are claimed as possessing British nationality under British law."

The Sooner the Better

Mr. Norton further asked whether, in view of the vital importance of this matter to Irishmen resident in Britain, it was not desirable " to emphasise our position to the British Government long before the crisis would occur "?

"That is all right," Mr. de Valera answered, "but the question is—how are you going to get agreement?"

Mr. Norton—Does the Minister propose to intimate, 'other than by that reply, to the British Government that we regard our people as immune?

Mr. de Valera—I will have to consider that matter.

NOTE: These questions and answers indicate that there still is a latent difference of opinion between the Irish and British Governments concerning the international status of Irish citizens. Deputations of our exiles, I believe, have gone to Dublin more than once, asking for assurances concerning their immunity from British conscription.




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