" The long and fearful war which has devastated Europe has at last, mercifully, come to an end.
From Our Own Correspondent
And my first object in speaking to you to-night must be to try to express in words the gratitude to Almighty God
with which all out hearts are full. I am assured that we shall he able to arrange for a day of national thanksgiving on which we may publicly express due gratitude to God for !Its immense mercy in our regard."
So began Mr de Valera, in his eagerly-awaited. eagerly-heard broadcast. The Irish day of thanksgiving, no doubt, will be appointed by arrangement with the Cardinal Primate and also the non-Catholic religious authorities, tepresenting the entire island. It will be observed from full hearts; though Ireland's satisfaction has been marred gravely by Mr Churchill's taunts.
Mr. de Valera, speaking with tile dignity due in a national leader, ignored the personal part in Mr. Churchill's remarks, saying that " allowances can be made for Mr. Churchill's statement. however unworth in the first flush of his victory." Theo he went on to point out how much English honour and the interests of Anglo-Irish peace had gained from the respect of Ireland's freedom of choice. If Mr. Churchill now reversed this, by claiming the right to overbear the weak in the interest, of the strong, then " no small nation adjoinirk a Great Power could ever hope to be permitted to go its own way in peace." World War No. 1 and World War No, 2 had come from that code: was there yet to be aeVorld War No. 3 through the justification of aggression '2
THE REASON Mr. de Valera understood how others might be annoyed by our choice of neutrality, but he did not understand how any thinking person could fail to see the reason for it. It Germany had conquered England, and had held on to six English counties, would Mr. Churchill blame England for being neutral in some German war. even it that war were called a crusade ? (This direct argument to Mr. Churchill's English patriotism one hopes, will go home.)
The British Premier was proud of England's solitary stand in the time after the fall of France. Could he not generously recognise the pride of Irishmen in their forbears, who stood alone not for one year or two. but for centuries, and rose and fought on. never accepting defeat or surrendering its soul ? Ireland often had reason to put its trust in Mr. Churchill's own doctrine that some day " the tyrant would make some ghastly mistake."
Yet Mr. de Valera hoped that the ultimate unity and freedom of Ireland would come in a better way, " better for both our people and for the future of mankind " He grieved that Mr. Churchill was not lending his hand to that noble reconciliation, rather than to the use of a crisis to excuse the continued mutilation of our country. " Meanwhile." the Taoiseach went on, " even as a partitioned small nation, we shall go and strive, to play our part in the world, continuing unswervingly to work for the cause of true freedom
and for .peace and understanding between all nations
" As a community which has been mercifully spared from all the major sufferings, as well as from the blinding hates and rancours engendered by the present war we shall endeavour to render thanks to God by playffig a Christian part m helping, so far as a small nation can, to hind up some of the gaping wounds of suffering humanity."
There was (sass the Irish Press Dail correspondent) an unprecedented demonstration in the Irish Legislature when Mr. de Valera appeared in the House on the morrow of his broadcast reply to Mr. Churchill, Members of all parties stood and cheered.
Newspapers containing the report of the address were sold out instantly, for everyone seemed eager to send copies to England
Great resentment is felt at the statement in the Daily Express that Mr. de Valera's broadcast was immediately prefaced by Hitler's favourite opera Tannhauser, sung in German.
Tannhauser was broadcast according to much earlier arrangements. It was one of a series of recordings of the great operas of the world in their 'various languages.
The Irish Press points out that such utterly dishonest journalism must give fair people reasoirto doubt the honesty of news about any other country appearing in such papers A TOPICAL BOOK People who do not realise how much wrong Ireland endures under Partition —how much she has to resent, yet patiently hopes to rectify by amicable settlement—should read Mr. Benedict Iciely's book, Counties of Contention, just published by the Mercier Press, of Cork (7s. 64. net) : it is a Belfast Catholic's account of daily life under a regime of bigotry. The present writer remembers defending in Belfast Mr. Churchill's right to speak there, as a Liberal, 35 years ago, when Orangeism threatened him with violence if he dared appear in that city. Belfast has not changed since then. Has Mr. Churchill ?