From Our Own Correspondent
Since last week's letter, I have spent a night in a war-zone; for I was North of the Border when the Six Counties were raided on the large scale. I saw the pallid flares light up the night and heard the turmoil afar off, but was not near enough to Belfast—which suffered on a scale comparable to that endured in English cities—to Witness more than the saddening evacuation next day of people rendered homeless.
So Ireland, a large part of It, has seen the face of war in earnest, and has cause to understand what she long has sympathised In, the hardships of the English civil population. It was a stirring and sobering experience. all the more so as the raided Ulster city had not been inured, as English cities have, perhaps. by the progressive development of aerial violence to its present hideous pitch.
In the relief work which was instituted swiftly and well, medical and other civil help was contributed from beyond the Border—a token of brotherly concern with much, especially in what it symbolised, of good-will. One hopes that the sudden onslaught of war will induce those in high places to consider what cart be done to put an end to that absurd and dangerous state of affairs in which a third of the Northern population (and by no means the least intelligent and capable third) is debarred by the religious and political ban from sharing in those civic defence services which need one hundred per cent. of popular support if they are to be fully effective. The raid. bringing equal peril to all inhabitants, has brought home the need for co-operation. Falling bombs do not distinguish between Catholic and Protestant, as some politicians do. A pleasing example of good-will was seen in Newry, the Northern frontier town, on the very eve of the Ulster blitz. The Clann Vladh (Children of Ulster) Hurling Club held a big patriotic demonstration, and invited the Lord Mayors of Belfast and Dublin to attend it. Mrs. Clarke came up from Dublin and spoke of her husband (executed in 1916) as an Ulsterman. From Belfast, Sir Crawford McCullagh did not come, but he did send a cordial letter of apology for absence, wishing the event every success.
AN EASTER WEEK WARNING The Easter Week Commemoration, in which from twenty to twenty-five thousand of the defence forces marched, with cannon and tanks and aeroplanes, called out such a tremendous gathering in Dublin's streets, that nothing or the kind had been seen since the Congress of 1932. The procession itself was halted for a considerable time by the choking of the City's centre. President Hyde broadcast an address in Gaelic, saying that a united Ireland could face any trial with sober confidence of survival and victory, Later, Mr. de Valera gave an address by radio in the gravest notes that he yet has uttered: an address that came after the day's enthusiasm like a trumpet call to action stations. He said that Ireland's dangers were increasing, and must increase, with every day • that the war continued. in 1916, men gave their lives in hope of freedom; to-day, Ireland had the freedom, over mos., of her territory, and therefore had something worth life itself to defend. Death and suffering would be the lot of many, if any attempt was made to take awav that freedom, and the station should steel itself, then and there. for the suffering and death that might have to be paid in sacrifice.
On this grave key, the Easter celebrations ended, and Ireland faced a week which was not far advanced before death and destruction rained down on the second of het cities.
WAITING ON AMERICA We daily await the issue of Mr. Frank Aitken's mission to Amesica, in search of ships, arms, foodstuffs and other goods. A rumour received much attention, that President Roosevelt had made help in this form, to our little neutral State, conditional on our giving up our neutrality and surrendering control of our ports. This story was emphasised by mischief-makers, and tended to do not a little harm by stirring up those fears and animosities which have been fading from all but the most suspicious minds.
Mr. Cordell Hull's statement that the United States Government had no such intention of interferring with our national policy was reassuring, and came none too soon. If people realised through what difficulties, material and spiritual, the Irish Government has to steer the State, they would not add to its trials. Once more, it may be set down with all earnestness that the governing factors of the Irish situation, as we know it at home, are these: (1) Impregnable resolve to maintain neutrality in the whole of the territory now possessed by the national State; (2) Equally impregnable resolve to pre vent the use of that territory as an enemy base against England, whoever that enemy be; so that the manhood of the nation, devotedly serving Ireland, is the pledge that England will not be struck at from this area and (3) As a necessary corollary, we cannot let that territory be used by any Power—to do So would be to make our island the cockpit of the struggle, with inevitable injury to both of these islands. Meanwhile, Mr. Aitken is said to have
secured 30,000 tons of wheat and a couple of ships for our new Irish mercantile marine.
TIGHTEP POSTAL CONTROL
Trading between Ireland and Britain has been brought under new restrictions. Dublin has issued an order forbidding export of goods save on condition that payment is made to a person resident in the State in a prescribed manner. This appears to be directed against the enormous postal export of food to Britain ostensibly as gifts. Britain prosecutes persons who receive such consignments if they are not gifts, and the Irish Government's action is complementary, to check evasions, no doubt. The British Minister of Food has announced measures to prevent the illegal delivery of British-milled flour to consignees south of the Border.