Tuesday, 31 January 2012


Courtesy of Clara Hoyne....

The Irish Times - Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Paddy and Freddie Reid, who deserted from the Irish Army, were among the almost 5,000 people who joined the Allied armies

STEPHEN COLLINS, Political Editor
A PARDON for thousands of Irish soldiers who deserted from the Defence Forces to fight for the Allies in the second World War is on the way, Minister for Defence Alan Shatter has indicated.
While the Minister awaits formal advice from Attorney General Máire Whelan about how to proceed, he has said he regards the dishonourable discharge of soldiers who left to fight for the Allies as untenable.
Mr Shatter noted that for more than a decade the Irishmen who died fighting for Britain in the second World War had been commemorated in their own country.
"Many who fought in British uniforms during that war returned to Ireland. For too many years, their contribution in preserving European and Irish democracy was ignored.
"Some of those include members of our Defence Forces who left this island during that time to fight for freedom and who were subsequently dishonourably discharged from the Defence Forces," said the Minister.
He said it was now appropriate to revisit the manner in which they were treated while also remembering that those who served in the Defence Forces throughout that time performed a crucial national duty.
"It is untenable that we commemorate those who died whilst continuing to ignore the manner in which our State treated the living, in the period immediately after World War II, who returned to our State having fought for freedom and democracy," said Mr Shatter.
During that war 4,983 people deserted from the Defence Forces to join the Allied armies. Those who returned to Ireland were refused military pensions and were debarred from a range of State employment on the basis of an Emergency Powers Order passed by the Dáil in 1945.
On Monday the Northern Ireland Assembly unanimously backed the campaign for pardons for the servicemen involved.

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