The following reply to stories of Franco " atrocities." given to the Press by members of the Irish Brigade, comes from a prominent and responsible member of the Brigade for whose right to speak the Catholic Herald vouches: "It was reported by hostile newspapers that members of the Irish Brigade said that Franco's troops were guilty of atrocities. Such reports could not be farther from the truth. Here is a report: " ' We saw General Franco's army executing Reds' each morning in massed groups. They machine-gunned the condemned people, beginning at their ankles and directing the fire up along their bodies. The " Reds " in their last moments lifted their clenched fist in the Communist salute and shouted " Viva Madrid." This was at Caceres . . '
"I have sifted this matter, and the above statement is untrue except that there were executions. My information is that there were executions of criminal Reds about five times during the sojourn of the Irish Brigade at Caceres—not every morning.
No Machine Guns
" On no occasion were machine guns used. The Irish Brigade witnesses were not nearer than 400 or 500 yards of the place of shooting—against military regulations—and cannot therefore bear testimony as to where the firing-party aimed or shot.
" Once only did a Red raise his fist shouting ` Viva Rusia,' and there was a strong suspicion that he was drugged with ' vino ' kept over from his daily allowances for the occasion. There was always a priest present at the executions. There is a vast difference between five times and every morning ' during the stay of eight months of the Irish Brigade at Caceres excepting ten weeks' absence at the front. I think this disposes of the above report in an unfriendly Irish .newspaper."