Page 3, 18th October 1940

18th October 1940
Page 3
Page 3, 18th October 1940 — Anglo-Irish Protest to Churchill About Ulster's Sectarian "Home Guard"

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Anglo-Irish Protest to Churchill About Ulster's Sectarian "Home Guard"

A memorial that was presented to Mr. Churchill on September 24 last, protesting against the inclusion in Ulster's sectarian " B " Specials of local volunteers to meet the invasion threat, was made public this week.

The signatories, who include General Sir Hubert Gough, of Fifth Army fame, Mr. Maurice Healy, MC., KC., and Mr. Richard O'Sullivan, K.C., number in all 24.

Of these 24 no fewer than 16 are Irish or Anglo-Irish Protestants and of these 16, 12 are Ulster Protestants. The memorial, which was referred to in a recent correspondence fn the Times between General Sir Hubert Gough and Senator Taylor, states:


Claiming to be typical of 'a very large body of Irish and Anglo-Irish opinion which, under existing circumstances and for various reasons, finds no organised expression anywhere, these writers state that they believe that in this struggle against the rapacious aggression of Nazidoin the final victory for the cause of liberty and the future stability of our Christian civilisation, depend upon the effective integration of all the moral forces and of all the spiritual inspirations of the English-speaking world.

" Everything that is at stake," they write, " may yet be saved by a unified and concentrated effort which rallies the conscience not less than the courage, the ideals not less than the intellect, the sincerity of purpose and performance not less than the material resources of English-speaking Christendom to the accomplishment of this high purpose.

" We affirm our belief that a notable triumph for these great principles in the home sphere would be won by the ripening of Anglo-Irish peace into a full Anglo-Irish accord.

" It is under the compulsion of theseideas and sympathies that, in all respect and goodwill, and with sincere desire to help in time of crisis, we address to you this memorial of remonstrance against a measure recently adopted in Northern Ireland which we believe to be pregnant with many evil consequences.

BITTER SECTARIAN DIFFICULTIES INVOLVED " In Northern Ireland the provincial Government has been permitted to raise, arm, equip and control a force to perform the duties as to defence against invasion which are performed in the remainder of the United Kingdom by the Home Guard under military supervision and control.

" By an unfortunate expedient this new force in Northern Ireland, termed the Ulster Defence Volunteers, has been embodied as a branch of the 'B' Special Constabulary.

" It has thus incurred the odium attaching to a political police force of a type familiar on the Continent of Europe rather than the general popularity and respect pos. sessed in full measure by the Home Guard throughout the remainder of the United Kingdom."

INFLAME RANCOURS The memorial then points out that the arrangement " threatens gravely to inflame the rancours which impede a full AngloIrish accord " and then denies the legality of the system, claiming that competent legal advice has shown that the arrangement is directly contrary to statute law which excludes from the powers of the Northern Ireland Legislature all naval, military and air-force matters, the making of peace or war or matters arising from a state of war, defence of the realm, etc., as well as all matters relating to the external affairs of the United Kingdom.

" On the other hand," the statement continues, " authoritative public statements have been made that the arrangement followed direct official consultations in London. Yet it would appear that the difficulties in regard to the status of a civil force participating in armed defence against an invading enemy have not been resolved. The full responsibility thus remains with London and not with the provincial authority in Northern Ireland."

(Editorial comment page 4)

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