EMPLOY NO CATHOLIC'S HUSBAND
—Ruling by Belfast Ministry
Front Our Own Correspondent
One more example of Orange dictatorship has roused feeling throughout, Ireland. The Town Clerk of Barrow-in-Furness was chosen for the corresponding post in Belfast. All concerned were satisfied that he had admirable qualifications. The Ministry at Stormont refusedto sanction the appointment. Why 7 The candidate, Mr. Allen, has told that he was questioned as to whether he was a Freemason, and as to his religion. He is an Anglican— but he.has a Catholic wife. Sanction is refused to his appointment to an office for which he is admittedly perfectly suited.
Sir Dawson Bates, the Minister who refused sanction, is the colleague of Sir Basil Brookes, who has urged all employers to refuse employment to Catholics, and works under the Premier, Mr. Andrews, who apologised for the employment of a single temporary porter of the Penalised faith.
This is the kind of rule maintained under the British flag in Ireland. England is justly proud of her own regime of tolerance. Catholics have little to resent in England, and claim, not without justice, that the Church is freer there than in some more orthodox countries; how Jong will Englishmen tolerate the intolerance that is practised so flagrantly in their name only a few miles from their shores?
One strange feature of the Orange dictatorship's latest act of persecution is that the Belfast Corporation opposed the Minister's decision, and sought to secure a revision. Has the body hitherto particeps crinrinis. in the dictatorship broken away under the pressure of public opinion? This seems not unlikely ; for there are many signs that the dictatorship is weakening at the base. Thus, following the recent two to one defeat of an Orange candidate at a byelection by a Labour rival who was thought to stand no chance of election, two of the Catholic and Nationalist representatives in Belfast have gone over to Labour.
This looks to some like the desertion of the patriot cause, but one of the Members explains that the decision has been taken because the futility of indirect action against the Orange dictatorship has been realised. Andrewsism must be attacked with the support of the whole dissatisfied body of opinion, Catholic and Protestant alike, in the way. and along the lines, where protest is most effective. If a general election could be held in the Six Counties to-morrow, the Orange system would be confronted with the united body of Belfast's disgust; and an entirely new situation would be founded.
ANXIETY IN DUBLIN
There is much anxiety in Dublin, caused by the Government's order making new rules for the prosecution of certain persons.
A Wexford man named Devereaux was kidnapped, over a year ago, by an illegal association, and disappeared. Long afterwards, certain statements were made to the police, which resulted in the discovery of the murdered man's body, and of the concealed parts of the car in which he bad been carried to his fate on the mountainside of Slievenamon. Certain men were put on trial for murder, but the State witnesses suddenly refused to give the evidence embodied in their statements; and became hostile witnesses in the dock. The case thus collapsed.
By the Government's new order, it becomes possible for an extraordinary court to accept a statement as evidence, without the production in court of the witness. It is readily seen both why such a drastic course has been taken and what difficulties it raises.
Several lawyers, in anonymous Press interviews, have condemned the order, as introducing exceedingly dangerous Star Chamber powers ; but it is pointed out that they have not suggested an alternative.
The accused men in the Devereux case have been charged afresh. A mille prosequi having been entered at one trial, their counsel argues that they cannot he put on trial again for the same offence; since to do so, he contends, would leave it open to prosecuting counsel at any time to avoid an unfavourable verdict by entering a nollc prosequi and preparing for a later trial. In the Dail, Labour members have tabled a motion condemning the order. The way out of the dilemma, which will strengthen the State's hands without abrogating radical human rights, is hard to discover.
At last Tenoning has come, drastically. The population was registered in the early winter, and now Mr. Lcmass announces a preliminary .cries of restrictions on consumption of bread, lighting, and soap. Clothing will not be rationed at present, The principal cause, Mr. Lemass explained, is the entry of America into the war. American shipments by the Lisbon route to Ireland have ceased. Accordingly, Ireland has to depend on her own little merchant navy, and all the tonnage is needed for wheat.
Why do we need to import wheat at all, considering that we once fed a population tx ice our present size, and produced a big surplus for exportation? That is the vital question which the war has posed : a question to which conservative economists gave the answer long ago--namely. that we ought to sustain our people on the land, instead of packing them into Dublin tenements, new or old.
Surrender to the line of least resistance in time of peace, when the stampede into the unproductive city was not checked, has produced this calamitous situation, in which cities hunger for sea-horne wheat, while a half-isolated countryside lacks labour for the full production of the food that it once yielded so abundantly.
There is evidence that farmers are holding up supplies of unthreshed grain; for only two-thirds of the expected home wheatyield has been delivered to millers. If there is unpatriotic hoarding, in hope of an infisted market, the Government will be supported by the exploited public in measures to break up the machine-run farms into more productive and patriotic peasant Moldings.