Page 11, 12th March 1937

12th March 1937
Page 11
Page 11, 12th March 1937 — Irish Letter

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Locations: Dublin, Nazareth, London


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Irish Letter


From Our Dublin Correspondent During a heated debate in the Dail on an estimate of £10,000,000 for public services, Deputy P. Belton, chairman of the Irish Christian Front, accused the DeputySpeaker of partiality, refused to withdraw the charge, and was required to leave the House.

The dispute arose when Mr. Belton said that industrial development had meant handing the country over to a gang of industrial Jews, many of whom, he said, were outcasts.

Mr. MacEntee, Minister for Finance: Our people were often outcasts.

Mr. Belton: Does the Minister compare an Irishman, who will take off his coat to do a day's work, with a Jew, who comes in to live on the Irish people —who will ever see him lining up at a Labour Exchange for an honest day's work?

Mr. MacEntee: I think the village of Nazareth has as much claim on humanity as Deputy Belton's birthplace.

Mr. Belton said that, having " dug in " into industry, these alien Jews had gone into commerce, with the result that in some of the principal streets of Dublin there was not a single Irishman owning a house.

The Deputy-Speaker intervened when Mr. Belton went on to refer to Spain. The Deputy said : " If anybody else said it, it would be all right"; and his suspension was moved. Later, an Opposition deputy from Wexford also was asked to withdraw.

Jewish Question Analysed

As to the merits of Mr. Belton's attack on the Jews, it is true that Jewish immigrants have acquired a prominence in some branches of trade and industry which is not comforting to natives. Their rapid buying up of commercial sites in the capital frustrated at least one important native enterprise recently.

On the other hand it is surprising but true that in some branches they have shown themselves friendlier to Irish industry than some natives. One of the biggest Irish manufacturers told me recently that he found it far easier to secure orders from Jews than from older Irish firms.

The Jew was willing, be said, to stock his shop 100 per cent. with Irish-made goods while the big Irish firms whom he named were willing only to give a corner show to Irish wares.

So there are two sides to this difficult question.

A Bill Yet Not a Bill

It is announced that standing orders in the Dail will be changed to enable the Draft for the new Constitution to be debated as if it were a Bill. but not ak a Bill. When the Draft has reached finality, the election will be held. If the electorate then approves the Draft, the new Dail will pass a short Act bringing it into operation.

John McCormack's Gift to Ireland

President de Valera 'received from Count John McCormack's son a magnificent bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln which the Count reserved from the great sale of his goods at Moore Abbey as a gift to the nation.

Returning thanks, Mr. de Valera said: " We know in what regard the memory of this great President is held by the people of the United States. We know that it is through the strength of his will that America has been saved from the danger of those warring antagonisms which have been so disastrous to Europe and arc still such a menace to it."

The President added these striking words: "I cannot but think that your father meant this for us as a sAntbol of our hope that the reunion of our country may soon be secured."

The gift must have given Mr. de Valera great pleasure; for, if any modern statesman has been his own exemplar, it is Lincoln.

Loss to Northern Catholics

Catholic public life has lost by death Mr. J. J. McCarroll, M.P.. in the Northern Parliament, who has died at an early age. He was editor of the Derry Journal. which represents the Catholic people of Derry and Tyrone and also circulates in the Free State as the principal newspaper read in the Donegal highlands.

No one fought more strenuously. or, it may be added, more wisely, skilfully and temperately, for the interests of Catholic Ulster. God rest his soul.

"I Remember Maynooth"

The Irish book of the week is I Remember Maynooth, by some priestly author who conceals his identity under the pen-name of Don Boyne. (The publishers are Longmans Green, the price Ss.).

Every Irish priest in all the world, one guesses, will want to read these 132 pages of delicate writing, aglow with love for the Alma Mater of most of the Irish clergy and sparkling with humour.

What a perfect picture is drawn of the spiritual heart of Ireland! Austere always in discipline and in relation to the world, Maynooth " finds no place in the news," and " the place is as remote as the ancient schools of Clonard or Lismore "; yet its invisible influence is one of the great powers in all the Catholic world. These pages give the lay reado an insight into those intellectual deeps, that spiritual hidden life. in which is generated Ireland's world-wide missionary work.

The Casement Dispute

As a sequel to the dispute over the Casement diaries, Mr. Alfred Noyes has writ

ten a second letter to the Irish Press. In a former letter he apologised for the use which he made of the supposed confessions of Casement, when he alluded to them in

a war-time article in America. In his second letter he withdraws all that he then said or wrote against the Irish insurgents of 1916.

In both matters, he says, he sincerely accepted the information which was sent out by the authorised Press Bureau in England, in a time when a world in upheaval made the checking of thoughts and

emotions difficult. On the other hand, while he accepted what was told him of men whom now he knows to have been men of honour and high ideal, he never impugned Ireland itself.

Today, when war fever Icing is a thing of the past. the hasty and hot words of the past continue to work hurt, Mr. Noyes says, and he adds: "It is in this way, 1 suppose, that nations are led to engender bitterness; and the experience of those years should certainly prevent most of us from accepting such reports in future without verification. But does it? Even in Ireland?"

Appeal for Investigation He concludes with an appeal for investigation into the methods of war-time propaganda. His noble apologia, so temperate and generous, has won immediate appreciation in Ireland. In this country, every patriot henceforward is his friend. How different is his peace-making generosity from a contemptible gibe tittered by a Conservative Member of Parliament in the House of Commons last week and reported in all our papers!

Lieut.-Col. T. C. R. Moore: Would it not be possible to put an import duty on Southern Ireland human beings the same as on Southern Ireland cattle?

Mr. MacDonald : These questions had better be put down on the paper.

When language like the honourable and gallant member's goes unchecked by the Speaker (though any similar gibe in Ireland would entail a Member's suspension), how is goodwill to flourish?

The Guild Idea in Ireland

Bakery owners and employers have formed a body entitled the Saorstat Guild of Master Bakers. Professor Alfred O'Rahilly protests against the arrogation to the masters of the title of Guild, and writes to the newspapers thus: "Taking the Craft Guilds in their heyday, we can discern these among other characteristics: "(1) The Guild was a recognised public corporation. including masters, apprentices and journeymen, entrusted with a specialised social function.

(2) The Guild was amenable to the public as regards price and quality. The Assize of Bread was regularly held to fix price. In London a defaulting baker had the defective loaf tied round his neck and was dragged on a hurdle through the dirtiest streets. In Dublin a baker was fined for the first and second offence; on the third occasion he was put in the pillory and banished from the city.

Encycliese Quoted "Such was the 'Christian organisation of past ages '! And today the Pope says in Quadragesimo Anno: "The first aim of social legisation must he the re-establishment of vocational groups. Society today still remains in a strained and therefore unstable and uncertain state, being founded on classes with contradictory interests. . . . There cannot be question of any perfect cure except this apposition be done away with, and well-ordered members of the social body come into being anew, vocational groups namely, binding men together not according to the position they occupy in the labour market, but according to the diverse functions which they exercise in society.

" As one who believes in this restoration of Guilds and has for many years publicly advocated this ideal of Functional Democracy, I once more record my vehement protest against this deliberately misleading use of the word ' Guild ' by this latest addition to our numerous sectional associations of employers."


Urban councils and similar bodies continue to adopt resolutions petitioning the Pope in the cause of the canonisation of Blessed Oliver Plunkett.

The membership of An Oige, the Irish "hiking" association, has risen from 215 to 1,167. New hostels have been opened far and wide. Perhaps the most welcome of these is that at Omeath, on the mountainous shore of Caslingford Lough, looking over to the Mourne range, and forming at one time a centre for lovely country and a link between North and South.

Rev. Edouard de Moreau, S.J., of the Belgian Royal Commission of History, has delivered a short series of lectures at University College. Dublin, on the anaient evangelisation of Belgium by Irish saints. At the present, he said, there is great devotion to Irish saints, especially St. Brigid.

Lecturing in Dublin, Rev. Arthur Little, S.J., said of censorship that excess of rigour, though the less evil extreme, is not negligible in a Christian country, for, he pointed out, it can discredit the intelligence of Christians, lower the standard of artistic production, and unjustly stigmatise authors.

" Where an uninstructed public is least able to decide for itself," said Father Little, " is where the book is Immoral, but not palpably so. It is most of all in the case of hooks whose immorality is insidious that censorship is needed."

The Royal Dublin Society's annual Bull Show was highly successful this year. Prizes ruled high, and quality of beasts deserved it. Buyers came from as far abroad as the Argentine Republic. The Show's success is one more token of the fastrecovering prosperity of the countryside.

Sister Mary Ignatius, who has died at the Mercy convent, Newry, was a nun for nearly fifty years; and was a kinswoman of Lord Russell of Killowen and Fr. Matt Russell, S.J.—the Russells being one of the best-known Newry families.

Mgr. Considine, Vicar-Capitular of Galway, laid the foundation-stone of a new church at Clarenbridge on the Kiloolgan river—a spot familiar to many a holidaymaker in the West.

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