PRIMATE AND DE VALERA DEMAND UNITY EIRE As An Anglo-American Link
From Our Own Correspondent
Saint Patrick's Day was celebrated with unusual enthusiasm this year—a token of the stirring of the national spirit by the new advance for our lost territory.
The Cardinal Primate and the head of the National Government both spoke of the remarkable fact that the places most sacred to the national Apostle are in the partitioned area.
The same thoughts had risen in all minds when, fresh from the refusal of the British Government to release our lost counties, we came to the feast-day of the first prelate of our Primatial See.
Let me set the words of Cardinal MacRory and Mr. de Valera side by side:— It is strange and sad (said the Cardinal, preaching at High Mass in Armagh), that the places most intimately connected with Saint Patrick have been separated from the rest of the country.
Let me recall Slemish and the Braid Valley, where, it may be said, the Saint made his novitiate; Saul, where he began his missionary work and where, too, he died; Armagh, where he founded his primatial See, and Downpatrick, his last resting place.
To reflect that these places were torn away against the national will—and immediately after a war " for the rights of small nations "—is distressing and provoking.
Can you think of Ireland today, and of
its apostle (said Mr. de Valera in a broadcast to the Irish race relaid throughout the United States) without thinking of Antrim, with Sliabh Mis, the scene of St. Patrick's novitiate as a youth, of Down, with Saul where he entered upon his missionary labours, Armagh which he made his primatial See, Downpatrick where tradition has it that his bones lie with those of Columcille—a name which inevitably reminds you of Derry.
For fifteen centuries these places have been held sacred by successive generations of Irishmen. What sort of Irishman must he be who would say that these places must be Ireland's no longer?
The Festival was marked by the universal wearing of shamrock, by the use of the national language in sermons and vernacular prayers at the Masses in most of the churches in the Capital and at many, if not most, in other big centres, a great military parade in Dublin when the Government drove in state to the Pro-Cathedral, by two Gaelic matches at Croke Park, and by concerts and Gaelic dances and a splendid Radio programme, part of which was relaid by the B.B.C.
To end the day, Gaelic dancing music was broadcast until midnight, and the genial announcer told us, after every cdilidhe item, to " Keep on our feet " for one dance more.
COMING CONCESSIONS TO NORTH IRELAND CATHOLICS ?
De Valera Despondent Regarding End of Partition
The broadcast which Mr. de Valera gave in the evening contained the definite announcement, with regard to the London negotiations, that " the ending of Partition cannot find a place in any agreement it may now be possible to arrive at."
We expected this, yet its finality came as a disappointment—a spark of hope had lived. "1 feel it is necessary," Mr. de Valera went on, " to repeat that any agreement which leaves our country partitioned can be only a partial agreement, and that at most it can be but a step towards those good relations between Ireland and Britain which are desired by the majority of the people in both islands.
Would not Satisfy Our People " I do not wish to make light of any accommodation that it Might be possible to reach in regard to finance or trade, or to belittle the healing effect which the return of our ports to Irish sovereignty would have, but no agreement on these matters, even if the terms were universally acceptable, could satisfy our people.
"So long as Partition continues there will remain an open wound—a bitter reminder of the past and a point of danger in times of crisis.
"Everyone who desires goodwill between Ireland and Britain must deplore this situation. And today, I appeal to all who may hear me, and especially to the millions of our race scattered throughout the world— to all who glory in the name of Ireland— to join with us in a great united movement to bring it quickly to an end."
A Call to the Race Mr. de Valera went on to demonstrate the total lack of justification for partition, going over the figures which now are familiar to Canioetc HERALD readers, and stressing the sacred character (as told above) of the lost area.
He said that, despite diversity of opinions and of blood, such as every nation must admit, " there are no more two Irish nations than there are two English, two Scotch, two Welsh, or two French. There is one Irish nation, and that nation claims sovereignty over the whole of its historic territory.
" Will not every one of you who are listening to me—every one of our race here in Ireland and beyond the seas— pledge yourselves on this St. Patrick's Day never to rest until all these holy places which have been cut off are again restored to the Nation?"
Craigavon Called to London
Shortly before we heard Mr. de Valera's broadcast, radio had given us a surprise in the news—Viscount Craigavon, Premier of the Six Counties, had been summoned to London. But for Mr. de Valera's announcement, we might have gone to bed that night believing that a breach had been made in partition—Lord Craigavon was in London to discuss a genuine peace settlement between factors in Ireland, and between Ireland and Britain.
However, it soon appeared that the Northern Premier, following his Finance Minister's four visits to London, was there only to deal with minor matters. It was announced on Saturday that the discussions concerned trade, namely, in regard to Six County interests in the proposed Dublin
London trade agreement. It was hinted that partition was mentioned, but only indirectly.
If I am not mistaken, partition was mentioned to this extent—that Mr. Chamberlain told Lord Craigavon that grievances of the Nationalist minority in the Six Counties must be redressed in some degree, in order to lessen the crushing effect of exposures that have been made during the recent talks.
I am informed that the Six County Minister for Education was in London a few days earlier, probably to be told that the financial penalisation of Catholic schools must stop, as it is injurious to British interests.
Whatever concessions yielded will be all to the good, of course, but the good will be very small if the Test Oaths are main tained. Owing to the tests, Nationalists are debarred from constitutional political action in the North-East, and even a correction of the gerrymandering would not make much difference. Tests must go, in the North, as in the South, if concessions are to effect the smallest appeasement.
Talking of Publications
Apologetics in Gaelic
The President of St. Eunan's College, Lethkenny, has been appointed Canon by the Bishop of Raphoe.
Canon Kerr is author of a number of valuable hooks in Irish, including one on Apologetics and another on catechetical matters. A Church History will appear shortly from his pen These works—setting a headline in Modern Irish—are published by the Government Publications Bureau.
Talking of publications, I must mention a new periodical, Irish Historical Studies, which appeared this month. It is produced by a board on which all three Irish Universities are represented. The joint editors are lecturers in Belfast and Dublin. Though the matter in the first number is somewhat dry, the standard of the scholarship is
admirable. The publication is a happy sign of learned co-operation between the two parts of Ireland and all sections of her scholars.
The Gaelic Games
Connacht Beats Munster and Munster Beats Leinster
I mentioned the Gaelic games of St. Patrick's Day. They were inter-provincial meetings—a recent feature of the annual festival. Connacht met Munster in football, and won 2-6 to 1-5 in a clean and splendid game. Munster beat Leinster in hurling by 6-2 to 4-3. This game. too, was quite free from the violence which brought a cloud over the Gaelic field in Kerry's victory over Cavan a few months ago.
Seldom were closer, better games seen. The hurling game always is a delight to eye and mind. This time, Leinster was leading by a point at half-time. and failed only towards the end, yet strove gallantly to the very last. There was an enormous gathering for the matches (which were played off one after the other), and seldom were games better enjoyed. The happy idea of running inter-provincial matches on the national feast is justified to the full. It gives a manly zest to the day.
An Example of Irish
Ballymena is a town in Antrim, with a moderate Catholic community. A missionary exhibition has been held there, and £900 subscribed in a year for the foreign 0218600.%