In service to their country: Moving tales of Irishmen who fought in WWII

The stories of Irishmen who served in WWII are deeply moving says Geoffrey Roberts.

The amazing story of Dr Aidan MacCarthy, the West Cork medic who survived the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in August 1945, has once again captured the imagination.

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Image: Irish Examiner

David Quinn on why Ireland should not have been neutral in the Second World War

2517376937David Quinn – Irish Independent – 21 August 2015

However it is worth mentioning that the southern ports of Cobh and Castletownbere were probably rendered obsolete after Germany gained control of the Channel and beyond using the naval port of Brest. UK shipping then was routed around Northern Ireland across the Atlantic. (Robin Bury)

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State deals hammer blow at the heart of identity

gaelic_gamesThe Irish state has surpassed itself in nationalist triumphalism this time with its new design for Irish passports.

By Ashleigh Ekins – 29 July 2015


I am now an Irish speaker, a supporter of Gaelic sports, and have officially endorsed a united Ireland: I have become an ardent nationalist – or so Official Ireland thinks. Get used to it: because there’s a new design Irish passport waiting for you next time you renew; and for those of us who find nationalism odious at best, and have no other option but an Irish passport, this one is especially uncompromising.

Irish_passport_Daily-TelegraphThis newest edition of the Irish passport was stuffed through my letterbox today, and what I found inside has left me shocked. Shocked, and dumbfounded, and dismayed. Plastered all over the visa pages are all kinds of scribblings, images of the GAA, all kinds of quotes about so-called Irishness and other writings in incomprehensible languages. To top this off, there is a particularly hard-line piece of nationalist symbolism featuring a so-called map of “Ireland”, with no border. No border? No acknowledgement of self determination for Northern Ireland? – and this propaganda features prominently at the front of the passport facing the identity card portion of the book. Finally, to add insult to injury, the signature strip – which used to be incorporated into the ID card – has now been shifted over to the new propaganda page, and the recipient is now required to sign this, to endorse it.

I will ignore the fact that, as passports go, this is rubbish security.

A passport is a travel document. It should be ‘bland’, it should be ‘official’, it should allow the bearer travel ‘without hindrance’, all these things. It is also unfortunately an immutable legal document about which the holder has no choice, no say; it should at the very least be inoffensive; it should not represent a political statement of nationalism not shared by all those who are required to carry the said passport. It is quite ironic that the ‘united Ireland’ symbolism represents a political aspiration opposed by a significant section of the people within the geographical area supposedly represented by the imagery. And no one buys the argument about this image being ‘topographical’ – it is a divisive and inappropriate use of symbolism which is also not inclusive of those of us in this State who wish to free ourselves from association with nationalist symbolism and triumphalism, and find a way forward for an Ireland which we hoped would be inclusive, broadly defined, and diverse. This passport sets this process back by decades; not to mention that it is an even greater embarrassment abroad.

I call upon the government of this State to reverse the changes to the design of the passport, and I call upon all EU member states to consider a generic EU passport as a real and viable alternative.

Ashleigh Ekins is Honorary Secretary of the Reform Group.


Images:, The Telegraph

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> The US passport: An Embarrassingly Patriotic Passport


Ballads and mythology feed the delusion that we won in 1916

kevin-myers-mainBy Kevin Myers, Sunday Times – 26 July 2015

The Irish Rising of 1916 would almost certainly have failed, like the many previous rebellions in Irish history, had not the British authorities, already knee-deep in the quagmire of the Great War, made the grave miscalculation of executing 16 of the rebel leaders . . .”

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British prosperity will drive our recovery

GeorgeOsborne26 July 2015 by David McWilliams in the Sunday Business Post

I am on Shaftesbury Avenue in London, quite shocked. I have just put my card into an ATM to get £200 and realise that it has cost me nearly €300. I was aware that the British currency was rocketing, but this exchange rate difference is extraordinary and is brilliant news for Irish exporters.

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Image: George Osborne, 8 July 2015. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg


Stark warning for future of Irish in Gaeltacht areas

Irish is unlikely to be the majority spoken language in Gaeltacht areas in ten years time, a major report commissioned by Údarás na Gaeltachta has warned.

The report, which is a reassessment of an earlier study published in 2007, warns that the spoken use of the language is declining at a faster pace than was previously believed.

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> Additional commentary by Peadar Cassidy of Reform


Magna Carta exhibition opens at Christ Church in Dublin

MagnaCartaStampPatsy McGarry – Irish Times, 4 Jun 2015

An exhibition containing a 14th century copy of the Magna Carta was opened in Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral on Thursday evening by the British ambassador to Ireland, Dominick Chilcott.

One of the most important legal documents in history, the Magna Carta established the principle that everyone, including a monarch, is subject to the law and guaranteed all subjects the right to a free trial.

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> Magna Carta continues to underpin our values of justice

Image: Commemorative stamp, Royal Mail/PA Wire.


Magna Carta continues to underpin our values of justice 800 years later

King-John-Magna-CartaPatrick Comerford – 3 May 2015

In the months to come, I can imagine history falling prey to people who want to claim that our democracy, justice and liberties owe everything to the “Men of 1916”. But next month marks a far more significant anniversary when it comes to understanding the political freedoms and the system of justice we enjoy today.

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> Magna Carta at Christ Church Cathedral

> Magna Carta Exhibition opens at Christ Church Dublin

Image: King John signing Magna Carta, an illustration from 1864 by James William Edmund Doyle.

Why are we still listening to the 1916 Secret Seven?

Ruth-Dudley-EdwardsRuth Dudley Edwards – Sunday Independent – 19 Apr 2015

Gerry Adams has promulgated his latest encyclical, “2016 – A time for Renewal”, in which he examines the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. “Austerity – whether imposed by a British Tory government or a Fine Gael/Labour government – are [sic] anathema to the ideals of the Proclamation”.

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What happens to Ireland if Britain leaves the EU?


A general election in Britain is always watched closely on the other side of the Irish Sea, not least because of the tumultuous political history linking the two islands. But never has an UK election been of greater interest to Ireland’s business community, amid fears that if the Conservatives win, it could spell catastrophe for the country’s economy.

A win for David Cameron would trigger a referendum on membership of the European Union, which if it results in a British exit would send shockwaves through Ireland’s economy. Each week there is €1bn (£730m) in trade between the two countries, supporting about 400,000 jobs.

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Photograph: Georges Gobet/AFP/Gett