Page 11, 24th February 1939

24th February 1939
Page 11
Page 11, 24th February 1939 — Why Ireland Recognised Franco First

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Why Ireland Recognised Franco First

The recognition of General Franco's Government was exceedingly popular among our Catholic people, although violent protests were made by indignant letter-writer in the Conservative Irish Times, while a gathering of Republicans telegraphed a repudiation of the Government's act to Seilor Negrin.

Speaking in the Dail, Mr de Valera said that after recent events it became apparent that the. establishment of General Francoa4 authority over the greater' part of Spain was only a matter of a short time. Further delay in recognition might only tend to encourage the continuance of a vain struggle, involving further loss of life. Once General Franco reached a position of supreme authority, or a position that was potentially that, the question of non-intervention there was no longer an issue.

Mr FitzGcrald-Kenney (Opposition) said that the Government should have recognised General Franco months and months ago. Just as the Prime Minister had tamely followed the British lead in regard to Abyssinia, they had very nearly done the same thing, except that they had played the part of the wren to Mr Chamberlain's eagle. There had been no taking a line at a time when the taking of a line by that country would have been important, on the side of right and humanity.

Mr de Valera, in reply, stated that he had said before, that the hest thing that could be done for Spain was to keep out of interfering in Spain. He believed that the interference of various Powers in Spain had been bad for Spain, and dangerous for Europe as a whole. He believed that when the civil war broke out the Spanish people, if left to themselves, were quite capable of settling the matter and making a lasting settlement. Ireland's influence had been on the side of trying to keep out. Mr Davin (Labour) asked whether any consultations had taken place with the British Government. regarding the recognition of General Franco.

Mr De Valera.—I can only tell the Deputy, categorically and definitely, that our action was taken on our view of what is best in Irish interests.

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