Phantom Arms Ships
GOVERNMENT'S ENGLISH INSURANCE ADVISER
OUR DUBLIN LETTER
FHERE has been a rich crop of alarmist rumours in the country for the last few weeks. Most of these have been without foundation, but it is easy to understand what gave rise to them.
The government and the I.R.A. both decided to celebrate the anniversary of the 1916 rising on the same day— Easter Sunday, Rival emblems, the lily and the torch, were sold. The statue of Cuchullain that was to be unveiled in the G.P.O. by Mr de Valera had to be removed lest it should be tampered with, and was only re-installed late on the Saturday night while the building was elaborately protected by police and military.
In circumstances like these there are always rumours that ships of arms are landing on the south coast. These stories have been repeated so often that few people in Ireland pay much
heed to them. They are merely symptoms of a state of tension.
Job Kept for Sentenced Man
There is some reason for this state. A prisoner named Barry, of Cork, when being tried by the military tribunal boasts that his organisation, the I.R.A., can muster 29,000 men.
This prisoner's employers, the Cork Harbour Board, prior to his trial and in anticipation of his conviction, met to arrange that he should be given leave of absence for the undefined period during his unavoidable absence," at the same time allowing him "to make such arrangements as he may think necessary for the supervision of work in the interval."
The prisoner made no secret in court of the fact that the purpose of his organisation is to overthrow the government by force of arms. He received a sentence of six months. But he has the satisfaction of knowing that if it is necessary for the protection of ordered society that he should receive from time to time sentences of imprisonment, his activities do not forfeit the confidence of his employers or jeopardise his salaried position which will be waiting for him when he comes out.
Strange Speech by Prosecuting Counsel
In another case of I.R.A. men brought before the tribunal, one of the charges related to a speech in which the accused man in urging young rnen to join the I.R.A. stated that "There was fighting to be done soon. It was up to the men who would join the organisation to become proficient in the use of arms, as they would require them to capture, or kill if necessary, their opponents." An amazing thing about this trial was that the K.C. who acted for the State seemed to apologise on the State's behalf for prosecuting at all. He announced that both he and the executive council undertook this case with "the greatest distaste." "Political crime differed from ordinary crime in that the men involved were not out for themselves, and very likely believed that they were doing right."
While these trials were taking place before the military tribunal, men were being tried in Longford on the charge of the murder of Mr More-O'FerralI.
The evidence given by eye-witnesses of that murder shows it to have been remarkable for its brutality and cowardice. Yet when the accused are removed from the court they receive cheers.
Grounds for Uneasiness.
No doubt this cheering is organised with a view to intimidating witnesses, etc. But it is easy to understand that when men are cheered because they are suspected of a brutal murder, when the State prosecutor pays a tribute to the motives of the men be is prosecuting who have urged men to organise and arm for the purpose of killing their opponents, that is to say, those who support the legitimate government as law-abiding citizens submissive to law, when a public board meets to provide that a man found guilty shall suffer no unnecessary inconvenience, it is easy enough under these circumstances to understand why there is a feeling of uncertainty among the public.
The public also sees that when the greatest military and police precautions ever seen in Dublin have to be taken to protect members of the government at a celebration at the G.P.O., at the same time a man that is being sought by the police can march through the streets with his military organisation and publicly address them In their hundreds.
It is this general feeling of uncertainty that causes people to see mysterious ships bringing arms, and to assume that when the Plaza WRS burnt down it. must have been an incendiary fire.
The Insurance Bill It is announced that Mr F. Percy Symmon. F.I.A., late secretary to the Prudential Assurance Company, has been appointed expert adviser to the Minister for Industry and Commerce in insurance matters.
Some five months or so ago an insurance bill received its first reading in the Dail. A first reading is only an announcement of the title of a bill, but It is the tradition that that announcement shall not be made until the bill Is actually drafted. No text of the bill has since appeared.
It would seem that the government announced the bill before making up Its mind as to what it should contain. Or it may be that more mature consideration revealed that the proposals embodied in the bill might be disastrous. The government was wise to realise that it needed expert advice on this matter before it committed the country. It was also courageous to bring a man from England, as there are many people in Dublin who feel that they possess all the knowledge that any government could require.
Mr Cosgrave to Rest
Mr W. T. Cosgrave, leader of the opposition, who has recently suffered from a severe illness, has been ordered to go away for a rest. He will probably be away for some weeks, and be will take the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Lourdes.