Page 5, 4th April 1941

4th April 1941
Page 5
Page 5, 4th April 1941 — Irish News Letter
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Irish News Letter

EIRE NEEDS A MERCHANT FLEET To penetrate the War Zone

Oceanic of the flag or symbol value. I find myself in entire agreement with you."

• studies and the comparative unimportance

From Our Own Correspondent

The most interesting development in Ireland of late is the formation of a large shipping company, under State control. Enough money has been subscribed to purchase at least a modest fleet of merchant vessels, and the public assumes that this will be part of Mr. Frank Aiken's undertaking in America— where he arrived in the same Clipper with Colonel Donovan.

When we have the ships, we will need the crews to man them, but doubt not that provision has been made; then it will be seen whether Irish shipping can pass through the oceanic war zone in safety.

WAR—AGAINST DISEASE The ravages of the foot-and-mouth epidemic seemed to have been conflned to Dublin and the neighbouring countiee, thanks to vigorous action; but alas!—cases have broken out in Clare and Limerick. The Minister for Agriculture has complained of deliberate concealment, and of carelessness, in places unspecified. Day by day, the slaughter of infected herds goes on. Soldiers are busy digging great trenches for the carcases, and sometimes remark, with a rueful laugh: " When we joined the Army we didn't know that we were joining the knackers "—but, in truth, the nation has cause to be thankful that the man-power of the Army is available to cope with the threat to the mainstay of our agriculture.

I noted the recent letter denying that greyhounds had been brought over by aeroplane; but the writer spoke only for the Twenty-Six Counties, to which I never stet. gested or thought that the disease was borne by 'plane directly. As my messages made clear, it was in the North that the infection first appeared. The rumour, which I give for what it is worth, persists that air-carried greyhounds brought it over to our hitherto immune shores, The truth, of course, never can be established with certainty; but we ought to have learnt a lesson even from the rumour, and to guard against one obviously possible vehicle of infection.

A COUNTRYSIDE ORGANISED

The emergency (as we officially term the war) has effected a happy revolution in our country parishes, which, if we escape the graver incidence of war, ought to bear rich benefits. The local councils everywhere have developed on lines that idealists formerly sighed for in vain. For example, the work of a council in Connacht was described last week. The entire population of a small town and the neighbouring countryside has been organised, so that supplies of food and other necessaries can be distributed smoothly and equally to all. Credit has been provided to build up large reserves, even in the most humble shops. Large areas of land have been divided into family allotments, so that every household can grow in own vegetables. Turf banks are worked by parish labour to provide fuel for the whole community, In a word, a district has been made self-subsistent in essentials.

This is going on everywhere in varying degrees of completeness, and the countryside is very largely seaure against real need, in the event of a breakdown of normal trade, such as we must face if warfare suspends central government and general transport. The Government continues to exhort councils everywhere to get turf cut on a scale that will render us, next winter, inde

pendent of sea-borne coal. In my own home-district, the parish priest has presided over a little council that has undertaken the making of emergency roads to a mountainbog which has not been cut for a long lifetitrs and turf banks that were thought to be unworth working will soon provide both fad] for the whole valley and employment for all idle youths of the district.

It is plain that such developments as these must be of vital consequence if they are continued into the years of peace; for local self-subsistence will correct the evils of urban concentration, and will offer the most wholesome cure for unemployment.

POLITICS AND LANGUAGE

Less it should be thought that my recent analysis of the educational problem was but an individual view, I am tempted to quote a letter which has reached me from one of the very highest authorities in Irish education. " I am glad," he writes, " that you have written on the cultural value of Irish Describing students who present Irish for admission to the university and the professions, this authority goes on: " I find some of them inclined to offer the political defence of Irish, but almost none have any idea of the charm Which attracted people of our time to the study of Irish. Most of them hate it as a useless unlovable thing forced needlessly upon them." This is the natural consequence, of course, of teaching students to say telefdrt pulblidhe for " public telephone," while neglecting the literature and tradition enshrined in the historic language " Would it not be much better," Oils scholar asks, " to teach people to love Irish than to insist on a necessarily limited conversational knowledge of it as the part of all. One could teach all to love it. and the best could make themselves masters of it; then, with the support of the main body, they could fight for its preservation in, and spread from, the Irish-speaking districts."

I cite these words—which I could back with others from other people in the highest places—to convey the trend of the best opinion, when confronted with the present state of the schools and of the language

A GUILD OF GOODWILL

0 Conor Don, the representative of the family that gave ancient Ireland its last King, has supported a movement launched by leading Anglo-Irish spokesmen in a meeting at the Dublin Mansion House, and in the columns of the Irish Times, for a "Guild of Goodwill." The leader of this remarkable by-product of the war crisis is Mr. Wylie, K.C., who proposes that people in good circumstances should club their resources and provide work for the unemployed in new, non-profit-taking enterprises. Mr. Wylie has secured technical experts to direct his scheme, without remuneration, and supporters numbering many hundreds have risen, Let the State, instead of paying men to be idle, pay employers to extend employment, the leaders of this interesting scheme for example.

What this movement portends, I cannot say, but most Catholics welcome it as a signal of the Southern Protestants' eagerness to throw their weight into the national service: it is a token, we think, of that reconciliation and assimilation which Irish autonomy, wisely operated, has produced Mr. Wylie himself has said that he is not a supporter of the•governing party, but is emphatically a supporter of the Government, as such, and of the constitutionally decided national policy. In this, he has set a headline in loyal co-operation for all ranks and classes.




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