"We Have Only Commercial
Interests In Common"
NO CO-OPERATION IN DEFENCE TILL IRISH UNITY IS SETTLED
From Our Dublin Correspondent Spring has come to Ireland with cold splendour. The interminable north wind drives white cloud-packs down the blue sierras of the sky. The dryness has been kind to farmers. and now the far-extending slopes of land are dark from the plough.
It is evident that the Government's appeal, by advertisements in all papers and posters in post-offices, to Grow More Wheat, has been heard, and that Ireland in the coming year will be heavy in crops of grain.
At this season, the sheep on the mountain-side get hungry pickings, and come down to the glen in search of young grass. Every day, from this onward until the mountain grass springs once more, we will he out with dogs every other day to drive out trespassing sheep from our fields.
Is Peace Coming ?
Will this icy yet glorious spring bring fruitfulness in other spheres than farming? Will Mr. de Valera's next visit to London hear fruit in an Ango-Irish final settlement?
I am writing on Monday, and understand that the conversations will be resumed between the Irish and British premiers next week. In order to give the Irish delegation every facility, Mr. W. T. Cosgrave's party, Fine Gad, decided that its annual congress, which was held last week, should be conducted in camera. There was a large hosting, and Mr. Cosgrave got a notable reception; but what was said and done remains private.
In this way, the Opposition signified that it is anxious that the London negotiations should be treated as national, not party, matters.
In fine, the Opposition is as anxious for Mr. de Valera's success as any of his followers. Thus, all national groups are at one in desiring an equitable trade agreement and the unification of Ireland—the two objects which the Irish delegation seeks.
" Die-hard " Speeches
While we are able to boast of such unanimity, it would be vain to say that hopes of a settlement are high.
The speeches of Ulster Unionist leaders during the election were of such a " diehard" turn that most people are convinced that the Partitionists, so far from being under pressure from London to make peace, have assurances from that same quarter in the opposite sense. if our hopeful suspicion were correct, that Mr. Chamberlain promised Mr. de Valera to induct an amicable unification, a different note in the Unionist utterances might be expected.
Trade or None
Accordingly, we watch our delegation's return to London with a modified optimism. A trade agreement we expect, since it might be made between countries having nothing whatever in common save commercial interest in a deal; but whether more will come is another matter. Ireland will claim the three ports that are occupied under the obsolete Treaty and will ask for the partitioned territory.
The unity of Ireland will be the first item on the agenda of any conference," said Mr. de Valera, in a statement after the Northern election. However, we are wanting signs that Britain is prepared to satisfy the supreme Irish grievance.
No Co-operation Till Unity
The Northern Council for Unity gave a lead in demanding (as I told last week) that no agreement be made with England for co-operation on defence unless Partition is settled.
The three constituencies in Down and Armagh which boycotted the Northern election have endorsed this demand in resolutions which have been broadcast to the world. I visited these constituencies, and can testify that the enthusiasm there recalls the most vigorous days of the National revival.
Blackleg Lost In South Down, a Labour candidate broke the boycott. There are 12,000 Nationalist votes there, on which he hoped to win the seat against the Unionist, whose
poll is 3,800. Yet such was the unanimity of the people in the boycott that only 263 out of the 12,000 voted Labour, and the candidate lost his deposit.
The Nationalist rally, over which the Rev. P. F. McCumiskey, Adm., of Newry, presided, marched to a Hibernian band, and was attended by the most " extreme " parties at the other wing. Thus; the boycott of Stormont drew all Nationalist feeling together, and blotted out all feuds.
A Possible Break
We are reconciled to a complete break in the negotiations, if the Irish delegates are met with demands that conflict with the resolution that I have mentioned. It is possible, however, the ports will be handed over without conditions, and that Partition will be ruled out.
In that event, the delegation will be thanked for making as good a deal as it can; but no facilities whatever will be granted to Britain in defence—no cooperation promised in armament.
More Strained Relations
This will mean a continuation of the strained relations between the two countries; for the supreme grievance will remain rankling in the living body of the country, in a line which cuts our Primatial See and other places most dear to us out of the national control.
However, even at this eleventh hour, we hope that London may prove conciliatory after all.
The Cost of Living
The Opposition postponed a motion on the cost of living, pending the issue of the negotiations. Mr. James Dillon said that his side was anxious not to embarrass the Government by putting forward arguments or complaints about the working of the industrial system and tariffs.
After the London negotiations, the matter will come up again. Its importance is of the first rank; for the cost of Jiving
in the Twenty-Six Counties is unduly high —beyond the margin which we are glad to pay for the sake of the increased employment which comes from protection. We hope that the Government side will treat the motion (and that the Opposition will allow this) as a non-party matter. An amicable debate ought to get to the root of many abuses, and bring down the cost of living by a considerable percentage.
Fr. R. Devane, Si., who always gives a lead in social reform, gave a valuable address by radio on " The Boy Delinquent." He appealed for an increase in the number of male probation officers.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society, through the St. John Bosco Special Works Cornmittee, and some women's organisations, he said, had advocated an increased number of officers, and there were now four officers in Dublin, three whole-time women and one part-time man.
Growing Bad Boys
The female delinquents had been more than generously provided for, and he was :raking that appeal on behalf of men and coy offenders, and most especially as retards growing boys, in the hope that, in he near future, adequate provision would oe made for them.
In the five years, 1933-1937, 1,766 boys and 112 girls under 16 came before the Dublin District Courts-15 boys for each girl. Of these, 454 boys and 52 girls were placed on probation-8 boys for one girl; 62 boys and 13 girls were sent to reformatories—nearly five boys for one girl.
In those five years, 191 boys and 26 girls of 16-21 went to prison-7 boys for each girl.
Of those over 16 placed on probation during 1932-1937, 278 were males and 97 females. Of those both under and over 16, 732 were males, and 149 females.
A Probation System
The wild lads who come before the courts were not young wastrels, or the makings of criminals. They were but their less fortunate little brothers, victims of slum dwellings and unemployment, for which the community, and not they, were responsible. He spoke, of course, in general, knowing that there might be some exceptions.
" For such poor lads,continued Fr. Devane, " I plead that, if nothing can be done immediately to improve their social conditions, at least, they should have the best service the community can provide to prevent them slipping gradually down to the level of criminals."
Managed Only by Men
Boys could be managed only by understanding and sympathetic men, and therefore, men probation officers should be given, and in some proportion to the numbers.
That applied not only to Dublin, but to Cork, Limerick, Waterford, or any other centre to which an organised probation system might he extended.
Fighting for Souls The danger of proselytism was no imaginary thing, but was as real today as ever, Fr. John R. MacMahon, S.J., said when preaching a charity sermon in aid of the Sacred Heart Home (Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paull, Dublin, according to an Irish Press report.
For more than half a century the home had been providing for Catholic children who were in danger of being deprived of the Faith. It had saved 5,000, at the moment it was providing for 300 at a cost of over £5,000 a year.
How did the danger arise? asked Fr.
MacMahon. Perhaps the father of a family, the breadwinner, died leaving a widow with a young family crying for bread. Even if she got work she could not leave her little one uncared for all day.
Relief and Torture
Then came the proselytiser, saying give them to us and we will provide your little ones with a home, food, clothing, care.
For a moment those welcome words brought glad relief to a tortured heart, but for a moment only; because she knew that in giving her children to them, she was condemning those children to the loss of the true Faith.
In her soul a tempest raged, a tempest of temptation to betray the innocent souls for whom she must answer to God.
It might be that it was a broken-hearted husband who was left to gaze helplessly at his motherless mites. He must go to work, yet they could not take care of themselves. The voice of the wily tempter came: " Give them to us."
Archbishop Traglia, Vice-Regent of Rome, ordained in Leonine College Chapel, Rome, the Rev. James Reilly (Kilmore), Irish College, as sub-deacon, says a message from Rome.
The following students of St. Patrick's Augustinian College received second orders: Brendan Ormonde, Albert Ryan, Aloysius Meagher, Linus Heffernan, Leo McCabe, Thomas Tuomey, Dominic Geary, Malachi Cullen, Aloysius Hand, and Finan Reale, Kerry: Declan Sugrue, Kerry; A. Walshe, Kerry; Mel. Hill, Dublin, of the Carmelites of Collegio Pio Xl.
John Taylor, O.M.I., and John Murray, Bede College, received first minor orders. John McCormack and Michael Reidy, Fathers of Mercy, received tonsure.