Irish Minister says Ireland’s neutrality on Hitler was morally bankrupt
Says De Valera ‘lost the moral compass’ during the Second World War
Shatter added that their decisions were continuing to affect the Irish today. The Dublin South MP said that Ireland needed to break away from this past.
He continued, “In the midst of the ongoing fiscal and banking crisis that currently impacts on the nations of Europe, including our State, we should never lose sight of the extraordinary contribution of the European Union in providing the political architecture for peace and stability in Europe. As Europeans we must all ensure that in addressing vital issues of immediate concern that affect the lives of tens of millions, it is the European ideals of peace, cooperation and solidarity and not extreme nationalism nor narrow domestic political concerns which motivate our actions.”
According to reports in the Daily Mail, the minister will now be advised by the Attorney General of Ireland, Máire Whelan, on how to proceed with pardoning those Irish soldiers from World War II. It is thought that only 100 of these men are still alive.
Although many families of these men look forward to, and welcome, the pardon, some believe it’s too little too late. Speaking to the Irish Independent, Paddy Reid, the son of one of these men, said this pardon comes too late for his father.
His father, Paddy Snr, joined the Allied Forces in 1941, aged 17, along with his uncle Freddie.
Paddy Snr wanted to make money so that he could start a family but he also felt that he should stand up against the Nazis having heard of the bombing of Guernica, Spain.
He was blacklisted in Dublin when he returned from the war. He was prevented from working from 1946 to 1961.
"The man fought bravely, he was well respected in his community, but he wasn't allowed to work, to make a living or recover from the mental trauma that such a war had on a young man.
"There is no comfort in a pardon for these men, most of them died a long time ago.
"I always knew he was a good man, they didn't have to write a law to tell me that. These men fought to protect us from the Nazis. We'd all be speaking German if these men hadn't gone out to fight".
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