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Thread: Was Eamon De Valera a Democrat or Disaster?

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    Default Was Eamon De Valera a Democrat or Disaster?

    For decades, the Irish 'Free' State has relied on special courts, military tribunals and draconian legislation in attempt to crush Irish Republicans.

    In 1936, de Valera’s Fianna Fáil government introduced special courts to imprison republicans and three years later, in August 1939, during the IRA’s English Campaign, it also established special military tribunals which were empowered to return only one sentence – the death sentence – from which there was no appeal.

    During the early 1940s, hundreds of republicans were interned and sentenced to long periods of imprisonment by special courts. Six IRA Volunteers – Paddy McGrath, Thomas Harte, Richie Goss, George Plant, Maurice O’Neill and Charlie Kerins – were tried by military tribunals, found guilty and executed.

    The same Government also allowed another three Republicans, Jack McNeela, Tony D'Arcy and Sean McCaughey die on Hunger-Strike.

    So my question is; Was Was Eamon De Valera a Democrat or Disaster?

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    In terms of IRA prisoners, he was probably, in the most strict interpretation of the word "democratic", a disaster.

    For Ireland, and speaking as a committed Fine Gaeler, he was (in later life) a bit of a legend actually. In many respects he was a very successful politician and leader, I even doubt that the alternatives could have done as well as he did.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Was Eamon De Valera a Democrat or Disaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Conuil
    For decades, the Irish 'Free' State has relied on special courts, military tribunals and draconian legislation in attempt to crush Irish Republicans.

    In 1936, de Valera’s Fianna Fáil government introduced special courts to imprison republicans and three years later, in August 1939, during the IRA’s English Campaign, it also established special military tribunals which were empowered to return only one sentence – the death sentence – from which there was no appeal.

    During the early 1940s, hundreds of republicans were interned and sentenced to long periods of imprisonment by special courts. Six IRA Volunteers – Paddy McGrath, Thomas Harte, Richie Goss, George Plant, Maurice O’Neill and Charlie Kerins – were tried by military tribunals, found guilty and executed.

    The same Government also allowed another three Republicans, Jack McNeela, Tony D'Arcy and Sean McCaughey die on Hunger-Strike.
    Yes but he did have his bad points as well.
    "Our revenge will be the slaughter of their children."

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    Forgive the presumptuousness of an outsider, and apologies to my grandparents, who had a different view, but isn't this an easy question?

    "The ayes are 64, the nays are 57. The nays have it. The majority has no right to be wrong, so wade through blood... At least until I look into my own heart and say...Never mind."

    Not as simple as that, I know, but there's one starting point for the exact and narrow question posed.

    But, really, should all this stuff still be the basis for the division of the two major, and very similar, centrist parties in Ireland in the 21st Century?

  5. #5

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    When came to power in the 1930's he started to dismantle many of the restrictions the treaty imposed upon the Free State.

    In 1937 DeValera introduced an constitution which enshrined many of the civil liberties that were being extinguished throughout the world. He had Eire as a republic in all but name.

    In 1938 - as a result of the economic war - he secured the return of the treaty ports, which, given the events of the following years, spared Ireland from attack by the Nazi's.

    His actions led to the removal of the fledgling facist movement in the state before they could take a hold. He also prevented the re-emergence of the IRA.

    His actions during the emergency (okay WWII to the rest of the world) allowed an fledgling nation to survive and grow.

    Yes there were the negative side - The aforementioned Economic War which nearly destroyed Irish Agriculture the conservative economic policys when a radical approach was needed, etc. But overall I believe that DeValera was a democrat and good for Ireland.
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    Dev was a disaster, he did nothing for nationalists in the 6 counties and he took a repressive stance towards republicans in the 26 counties. Dev also allowed the catholic church to effectively rule Ireland from the 1930's onwards and did very little to tackle the authoritarianism Of John Charles McQuaid. Economically, he was an embarrassment, protectionism was an unmitigated disaster and left Ireland economically isolated for decades. He also stupidly nationalised a number of private industries and increased the role of the state in the economy which I would be strongly opposed to. Emigration went through the roof, basically in a nutshell DeValera should have stayed in New York. It also just goes to show that Fianna Fail are an anti-republican party that are only interested in maintaining their vote in the 26 counties.

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    Disaster is an understatement. A self serving, narrowminded freak is more appropiate.
    "Great minds talk about ideas; mediocre minds talk about events; small minds talk about people"

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    Default Re: Was Eamon De Valera a Democrat or Disaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Conuil

    So my question is; Was Was Eamon De Valera a Democrat or Disaster?
    Conuil's post, of course, blissfully ignores the salient point that the IRA at the time were actively colluding with the Nazis - a treasonable act for which the punisment at the time was capital.

    So Sean Russell or Eamon DeValera? I'm not a fan of either, but I'll still take Dev every time.
    Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
    George Orwell

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    Correct me if I'm wrong but was not Dev elected to the top executive position in the State in 7 General Elections - (Bertie eat your heart out!)* so how was he not a Democrat?

    BTW I don't agree with his allowing the execution of Republican prisoners etc but under the circumstances if he hadn't played hardball he would have seen the collpase of the State in the middle of a World War.

    His Catholic philosophy was in line with the vast majority of the citizens of the State - it caused little controversy at the time. It was only in the 1960's that the role of the Catholic Church started to be openly challenged and Article 44 was rescinded from the Constitution by a large majority in 1972 - 13 years after Dev stepped down as Taoiseach!

    He was a Democrat and not a disaster - but he was a smooth operator and quite ruthless when he saw his power being challenged.

    * re Bertie's recent remarks about the Election 'Since this Country was founded' can you imagine Dev ever saying something as cringeworthy as that?

    Don't think he was a Man U fan either come to think of it...

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    Default Not a huge fan

    Not a huge fan of Dev but.

    1. On protectionism; every worthwhile state has gone through a period of
    protectionism including the United States though should some of the
    Lemass changes have come six or seven yerars earlier probably!

    2. On the Church ; The Catholic Church were running Ireland for a long time
    before 1936 in fact right back to the 1870's when The British Empire came around to seeeing them as usefull for keeping order in the province and in
    turn encourage recruits from Ireland into the Imperial army and civil servie
    internationally. Dev may have baulked at taking on the Bishops head on but
    on a personal basis he was considerate to people who had unorthodox or minority views.


    3 On issolationism: Well he managed to have very good relationships with people as diverse as J F Kennedy Pandit Nehru and Charles De Gaulle in spite of the De Gaulle Non effectivly keeping Ireland out of the
    Common Markert for a decade.
    John in Cork ya boy ya

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