Opinion

Brooke on de Valera 'outrage'

THE Northern Prime Minister, Sir Basil Brooke, in a statement to the press yesterday in reply to the speech of An Taoiseach (Mr Eamon de Valera), delivered at the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis, said: "The people of Northern Ireland have always been uncompromisingly opposed to the inclusion of their country in an all-Ireland republic and Mr de Valera's speech is a twofold justification of their attitude. Although Mr de Valera declares that Eire is 'an independent sovereign republic', he intends to continue the procedure by which the credentials of Eire's diplomatic representatives are signed by his Majesty the King. "It is apparent, however, that if Mr de Valera achieved his ambition of a united Ireland, even this tenuous link with the Crown would be severed. Ulster would become part of an all-Ireland republic and Great Britain would lose the Ulster Bridgehead and would have near her western coast a country owing no allegiance to the Crown."

Sir Basil went on: "Ulster's loyalty to the Crown is unequivocal, sincere and intense. King George is our king. The British flag is our flag. To expect Ulster to become part of a state in which loyalty to the Crown is brazenly repudiated is an outrage on reason and common sense."

Turning to Mr de Valera's reference to the use of force, the Stormont Prime Minister continued: "The second justification for Ulster's attitude is Mr de Valera's statement that Eire would use force to coerce Ulster if it had the power. It is Mr de Valera's endorsement of the policy of armed force that has encouraged the IRA to pursue its revolutionary activities which have so often resulted in violence and bloodshed. But Ulster is not to be intimidated. "Though immovable in its determination to remain within the UK in full allegiance to the Crown, Ulster desires to live on good terms with its neighbour Eire, but Mr de Valera and other advocates of force are the stumbling blocks to the amity which we in the North desire."

Sir Basil concluded: "Ulster's case against fusion with Eire could hardly have had a more effective, if unwitting, advocate."

Northern Presbyterian Minister

Friend of De Valera A PRESBYTERIAN minister, the Rev Dr J A H Irwin, MA, Ph.D., BD, Lucan, County Dublin is amongst those just elected on the National Executive of the Fianna Fail party. Dr Irwin was a former minister of Killead Presbyterian Church, County Antrim.

A native of Feeny, Co Derry, Rev James Irwin (1876-1954) was one of the few Ulster Protestant clergyman to openly identify with the Republican cause during 1916-22.

It was while minister of Killead in Co Antrim that Irwin first offered his services to the underground Dail Ministry as an envoy in the United States.

In 1920 he spoke on platforms across North America with President de Valera.

On his return to Killead he was arrested and sentenced to six months' imprisonent but was dramatically released following a threrat by Canadian Presbyterians to 'raise Cain'.

Irwin remained minister at Killead until 1926 when he moved to Edinburgh, returning to Ireland in 1933. He was a lifelong friend of de Valera, famously advising him on the 1937 Constitution.

Edited by Eamon Phoenix e.phoenix@irishnews.com

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