BRITISH REFUGEES Are Welcome in Ireland
Front Our Own Correspondent
Those of us in Ireland who have friends and relatives in England (and who has not?) rejoiced when it was announced in the British House of Lords that the sending of evacuees to Irish homes is being discussed with the Irish Government.
In these columns, and In private letters, ever since the war began, the present writer has pleaded for what now is coming to pass. Ireland, with her rich soil and thrifty small farms, abounds in wholesome plain food. Neutrality apart, her countryside, with its widely scattered dwellings, is likely, even at the worst, to be safer than urbanised England and the overcrowded English villages. Hence, surely it is a duty of charity that as many as possible of Me little, heroic victims of modern warfare should be given refuge where there are peaceful skies and well-laden tables. The burden on the food-transports to England will be lessened by every thousand mouths that are transferred to the food-bearing land.
How many hundred thousand children born in the British metropolis and big cities are of Irish parentage? These would come to homes where neighbours will have known their people. They may remain in Ireland, when the horrid days of war have yielded to the first difficult years of peace and employment in England remains abnormal.
If their sojourn among us lasts three or four years, they will reach employable age, and who knows but they may make permanent homes in Ireland. Every farmhouse wants children.
REPATRIATION At present, the scheme announced provides only for persons who will support themselves and their children. Doubtless it will be extended to the needier classes, and make a real repatriation possible.
This repatriation, if it should develop, will be an immense gain to Ireland, where young blood is wanted so much, and it would help Britain in two ways.
First, the relief to the food supplies would benefit the rationed dwellers in England during war, and the reduced demand for employment after the war would be a gain to labour. Second, the increase in the Irish rural population would enlarge the market for trade. Ireland now imports from hardly any country save Britain. This is likely to continue, except in respect of those goods which, in their stature, come from over the ocean, like timber. Hence, money spent in Ireland to feed evacuees, by increasing Ireland's purchasing power, will enlarge English trade.
SOLDIERS CO TO SCHOOL
In some of the technical schools, soldiers attend classes, in their hours off duty, in order to improve their general education against the hoped-for times of peace and normal occupation. They are given essays to write, for the betterment of their powers of composition, and one of these gave the teacher rare delight.
" This is a very beautiful country in which we are stationed," the young soldier wrote. " I often heard at the beauty of the Irish hills and now I see it. The Catholic people here are more devout than any I have known. They attend the devotions as if the whole town were one ipig family."
It was a Catholic lad, of course, who wrote this, probably of Irish descent; but someone—an outstanding Irish Separatist, by the way—who saw the essay, remarked that the Catholic soldiers who, have come among us have little to Team from Ireland in attention to their religion, and in their collected manner of hearing Mass and frequenting the Sacraments.
REV. DR. LITTLE ANSWERED
The foolish, and I may say hostile, suggestion by the Rev. Dr. Little, Orange M.P., that bases in the Twenty Six counties are used for the refuelling of German submarines, might be answered further by drawing attention to Defence, the handbook of the Local Security Force, just published by Cahill, of Dublin, at la. In these instructive pages will be found an account of how every mile of coastline is patrolled and watched, day and night, by the L.S.F. As an example, I will quote the report for the Galway West district—that is, Connemara.
" There is a regular system of patrol by the L.S.F., special attention being paid to coastal areas in which there is cooperation with the Army Coast Watching Service. For the purpose of patrols, each Garcia sub-district is divided into a number of zones. There is a system of night and day observation stretching from Kilcolgan to Clifden and the Killaries.
" A group which has given excellent proof of keenness in this respect is that of the Aran islands."
Owing to a certain alarm (readers may recall a speech by the Bishop of Galway) orders went out to obstruct all likely landing places for aircraft. In two to three days the L.S.F. bad put up obstructions in every large field or park. "All the work, and even food and refreshment, were provided gratis."
MR. DE VALERA AND ST. TERESA
On the eve of St. Teresa's Day, the Irish News of Belfast published an interesting story of an Irish link with the great Carmelite nun. It seems that Mr. Eamon de Valera was a guest of the late Archbishop of Tuam (they were close friends) and spent a time in Dr. Gilmartin's library. Taking down the Saint's Book of the Foundations, he read how Teresa found tittle help in the rich Southern city of Seville,
" The nuns " (the book said), " lived in the most extreme poverty, sleeping on the floor; and the dishes for their table, lent by their neighbours for the first day, were sent for on the next and returned.
" In a few days, a charitable lady. Data Leonor de Valera, heard of their distress, and gave alms secretly to a good woman whose devotion it was to succour the needy."
Thus did the son of the allied nations of Ireland and Spain read how an ancestress was one of St. Teresa's first helpers. A few pages later, he teat, how a daughter of Dofia Lconor, named in religion Blanca cle leads Maria, entered the Saint's community.