By the EARL OF WICKLOW
With the unexpected death of Mr. Desmond Fitzgerald, a familiar and greatly liked figure is lost to Dublin. He had a varied and adventurous life, and it always seemed hard to realize that that tall, distinguished man, and vivacious, well-informed talker, the learned An intimate colleague has said that all through the " bad times " he was second to none in moral and physical courage, and it is typical that after the death of his brother in an air raid in the second world war, he went over to London and took charge of his East End factory all through the blitz.
IN CHARGE OF PUBLICITY
His public career can be divided into four phases. During the AngloIrish war he was in charge of publicity on the Irish side, and no-one has ever questioned his ability and integrity in connection with an extremely difficult and delicate task; when Mr. Cosgrave formed his Government, Mr. Fitzgerald was put in charge of External Affairs, but the amazing advance of Commonwealth development during this period, in which Ireland took a leading part, owes more to the late Kevin O'Higgins and Mr. McGilligan than to Desmond Fitzgerald.
The services that he rendered at this time lay rather in the cultivation of good relations with diplomatic and Press representatives, particularly in London. His last Government post was that of Minister for Defence; at the time of his appointment, army expenditure needed drastic reduction, and to take the position would ensure personal unpopularity; moral courage was required and he as ever took the patriotic rather than the popular fine. When his party went out of power in 1932, he continued as a leading member of the Opposition, but from then it became clear that his interests were increasingly intellectual rather than political.
The large and representative gathering at his funeral showed that Ireland had not forgotten a man who had placed her honour and his own above personal safety or ambition.
COAL ARRIVES In a recent letter we paid tribute to the ready response by Britain to our request for coal in our present emergency. Since then the position here has become even more grave; we try to avoid mentioning Irish shortages, when those across the water are suffering so much more, but we feel that the position as regards fuel in Ireland is even worse than in Great Britain.
Last week the gas company in Dublin announced that unless further supplies of coal were available, there would be no more gas within a week, and for some time past no passenger trains, other than suburban, have been running on the Southern system. A Labour delegation has been to England led by Mr. James Larkint jun., to test the truth of the saying, " A fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind "; almost simultaneously it was announced that regular supplies of coal would he received by the transport company, who promise to make them available for gas production.
We do not know whether the British action is In response to the pleas of Mr. Lemass or the Labour representatives. or whether it Is just prompted by neighbourly feelings; we are sure that there wilt be more claimants than one for the country's gratitude at the next election.
Here and now we should like to thank the_supplier on behalf of our country, whatever the cause that prompted his act, for a disastrous situation has been averted.