Gabriel Fallon's DUBLIN DIARY
Nuns, clergy of every Christian denomination, members of the Society of Friends and representatives of youth organisations crowded a large platform ,bcneath the classical portico of Dublin's G.P.O. as thousands of citizens (male predominating) joined in prayer and hymns and Bible reading begging God to make them an instrument of His peace.
Such was Ireland's first layinspired public act of ecumenism. It was organised by Community Co-operation, an informal association of
community-inspired Irish citizens from all walks of life, who during the past few years have been aiming at a constructive Christian approach to their country's social and economic problems, eschewing party politics no less than sectarian bias.
This prayer gathering for peace was the Community's first public activity. It is to be hoped that it is but the first of many. More and more people in this distressful country are growing tired of political shibboleths, of the catchcries of a Republicanism which issues in nothing but blood and tears and the menacing shadow of civil war.
wILL Aontacht Eireann, 7Y Ireland's new Republican Unity Party, succeed in cutting down (to use its founder's words) "the rotten tree that Fianna Fail has become" in order to "replace it with a new growth firmly rooted in the old tradition of nationhood"?
According to some people, history is against this possibility. Remembering Clann rut Poblachta, more broadly based, more skilfully led, they consider that Mr. Kevin Boland is hardly likely to succeed where Mr. Sean McBride failed.
Chairing a meeting of delegates from many parts of the country Mr. Boland told them of his dedication to the immediate task of supporting "in every possible way the risen people in the Six Counties." When asked if this meant that he was supporting the Provisional I.R.A. he said that he would do so if that were necessary.
"Let me make it clear," said
Boland, "that, without deviating from the policy of trying to find a peaceful solution, the Republican Party we are founding to-day will consider its duty to stand by our fellow-countrymen who find themselves in the same situation that existed here 50 years ago.
"We recognise the struggle to-day in the Six Counties as a continuation of the struggle from which the Legion of the Rearguard paused — and only paused—almost 50 years ago."
OrIN the other hand Dr. Noel Browne, T.D., has a very different view of the Northern S ituation vis-a-vis this Republicanism. Seeing its leaders there as "a political and mystical trinity that would need St. Patrick's little shamrock again to explain" he puts forward his own interpretation of the situation as follows :
"Cahill promises that a United Ireland will be neither
Socialist nor Communist; 0 Flradaigh that it will be some kind of National Socialist sectarian State; and Goulding that it will be a peculiar Marxist variety of his own devising.
"All of them, with their socalled Army Council, represent a classical anti-democratic puischist movement, who intend to seize power by arms if needed, against the wishes of the Protestants in the North."
If ever prayers were needed asking God to save Ireland, they are needed now. One 'thinks with reverence and hope of Terence McSweeney in his protracted agony in Brixton Prison warning his fellowcountrymen that it is not to those who can inflict most but to those who endure most that victory ultimately comes.