Page 2, 7th March 1958

7th March 1958
Page 2
Page 2, 7th March 1958 — SHOULD IRISH LEAVE IRELAND?

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Locations: Birmingham, Trealaw, London


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Comparisons with the Welsh

SIR,-Both disputants in the matter of migration from Ireland found their cases upon what they conceive to be the standard of living (as it is called) in Ireland. In the last analysis, they and other disputants on this subject (which is highly topical in my own land) seem to assume that people have only to compare such and such a standard with that of another land to conclude they have established some right to leave their native land.

The disputation is given support by the teaching of many Catholics Upon allegedly unexploited lands and by the kind of argument they set up against neo-Malthusians.

It is true, as Leo X111 admitted in Rerun, Novartern, that. for a grave cause a man may leave his native land. But I cannot deem a "grave cause " some comparative poverty which does not by any means endanger a man's life.

In 1937 I wrote in London: "The heroic scene for the Rhondda man is in Rhondda." At the end of the war I was rallied on this subject by a Rhondda man; I changed my demob plans and returned to Rhondda.

I went on the dole: I then became a postman, carrying parcels a thousand feet to Carncelyn Uchaf: and today I am well aware that, were I to migrate to England. I should fare better from the mere economic standpoint.

I have since enjoyed the company of fellow countrymen, including a Welshman who

returned from Birmingham, another who was born or lived most of his early life in Hong Kong, and another who turned down a highly paid job in London to remain in his fatherland.

These men are sensitive upon the matter of national roots; and they wish not only to retain them for themselves but defend them for their compatriots

The so-celled Celt has developed a pernicious habit of leaving his pair/a. I have no doubt that the English state has been responsible for this habit; but I should have thought that the work begun by the great Irish patriots would have continued.

Instead, the Irish, having secured the mere paper constitution of self-government for 26 counties, have not as a nation continued to procure real selfgovernment. One consequence is the irresponsible activity of the I.R.A.

In Wales, the growing national movement is the result in large measure of a considerable amount of hard political thinking and our advance is made in a constitutional manner by debate and public assembly.

I shall not say we would not fight in a just revolt; but we have come to know that nothing has impaired so much the reputation of the Goidelic-Brythonic peoples as their inclination to take up arms rather than the heavier burden of dogged devotion to their fatherlands If we merely blame politicians, we do very ill. Suppose the politicians are culpable, but culpable to such an extent that they hope that a national problem will solve itself by perennial migration. 1 do suppose this, especially in respect of the majority of politicians in my own land politicians who take their orders from alien sources.

hesitate to use military metaphors; but the position of our peoples in face of the threat to their national status and possession of national roots is such that there is the direst need for corps of men and women who will vow themselves, whatever their economic lot, to stay where they are.

Migration amounts to retreat against the great cosmopolitan forces. If we persist, cosmopolitania will have to give in.

But the peril lies behind our lines. The propaganda of the enemy corrupts even the best so that they will barter a life of quality and classic continuity with the garish pleasures of townee life. As it is, far too many Catholics live in the towns and have a completely townee attitude towards these things. so that they argue very much in the same glib manner as the modern pagans.

Many of those who continue in dispersion to pretend to some annual veneraticn for Padraig have never given Ireland any more service than that to a tennis club, and the same is true for those who pay lip service to Dewi.

The Irish should pay heed to their bishops.

Henry Edwards 220, Rhys Street, Trealaw, Rhondda.

SIR,-In your issue of February 21, a correspondent, E. O'Connell, supplies a factual and realistic appraisal of the conditions in Ireland today and the factors responsible for the fantastic emigration figures, in contrast to Miss Sybil Connolly's facile and baseless contentionwhich she should have left to the self-seeking. corrupt and bornbastic leaders of our Republicthat "the country never had it so good."

Mr. O'Connell would appear to 'have contacts with many of our exiles in England, and we must sadly and shamefully accept his statement that an alarming proportion of the youth of Ireland on emigrating to England are lost to both Ireland and the Catholic Church.

If your earnest and intelligently observant correspondent would be good enough to enlarge on that tragic factor in the fate of our exiles, he would be rendering a rewarding service to our youthful emigrants, to the potential emigrants still at school here, and ultimately to the Catholic religion itself.

From his knowledge of those of our young people who cease to practise their religion after emigration, is it the opinion of Mr. O'Connell as it is of many responsible Catholics here that there is a connection between the regular beatings of Irish schoolchildren for reasons which are strictly and specifically forbidden by Government regulations (i.e.. for lessons, including Catechism) and a later reluctance of these expupils to make any approachexcept possibly a hostile one-to those whose garb has for them been associated with injustice and -unhappiness ?

An ever-growing number of Irish Catholic parents in this country would greatly appreciate an answer-from Mr. O'Connell or any other of your readers-to that disturbing and very prevalent

(.1 LIOSI 10n,

"Returned Emigrant".

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