MURDERING HISTORY: A VITAL FUNCTION OF THE BBC by Donal Kennedy

I sent the letter underneath to a friend after hearing a radio play on BBC Radio 4 in 2016 

I heard the crudest broadcast assassination of the historical record on BBC Radio 4 recently. It was a radio play produced in its Belfast studio and set in Dublin in 1940.

The Irish Defence Forces, Gardai and Civil Service were apparently honeycombed with traitors ready to collaborate with the Nazis, who were presumed to have made serious plans for the invasion of Ireland and the installation of a puppet Government to be headed by Eamon de Valera. The hero, motivated by Irish patriotism and sympathy with the British, was a Civil Servant in de Valera’s office, who saves Democracy and gives Glory to God and Honour to Ireland by shooting Eamon de Valera dead.And Dr Hempel, the German Minister in Dublin, was given to hosting parties in the Red Bank Restaurant where Nazi-supporting Irishmen were given to sounding off against the Jews.

The writer of this garbage is Hugh Costello, a skilled radio dramatist with many accolades of whom I had never heard. Apparently part of his inspiration was a book on “Operation Sea Lion” a plan for the German invasion of Britain and Ireland, abandoned by the Germans in September 1940. The file on this can be checked on YOUTUBE. 

The Germans had neither the equipment nor the intention of occupying either island  when Erskine Childers wrote The Riddle of the Sands in about 1904 or at any time since. The file shows postcards of Irish places and photographs of the Hydroelectric Generating station on the Shannon, completed in 1929, the largest in the world until the American Hoover Dam was completed in the 1930s. The German firm Siemens, under contract to the Irish Free State Government, helped by Irish engineers, including my own father, and an overwhelmingly  Irish workforce, built what is now recognised as an engineering
 milestone of the twentieth century. So my father collaborated with Germans in Ireland during the days of the Weimar Republic in Germany and the rule of W T Cosgrave’s Cumann na Gael in Saorstat Eireann.

Having “fessed up” to my Father’s collaboration I should add that when he was a little boy, his own father’s friend “Tommy” MacDonagh, later shot by the Brits, gave him a half crown. Perhaps Hugh Costello should get together with Ruth Dudley Edwards and write a Song and Dance Show about this.

They might borrow a tune from Shirley Temple for their “Bullshit, Poppycock” and sell it to the BBC.

The file on “Operation Sea Lion” might have been compiled by a ten-year old child. I’m currently reading “D-Day” by Anthony Beevor, whose books on Stalingrad, the Spanish Civil War, and the Fall of Berlin I have found convincing. He is a former British Officer. The planning of D-Day was meticulous and professional, though the execution was not perfect. Few military operations are. I doubt Mr Beevor would consider the Operation Sealion file something to write home about.

In May 1940 Eamon de Valera’s closest collaborators flew in the one plane to London. Tanaiste Sean T O Ceallaigh, Sean Lemass, Dr.James Ryan, Army Chief of Staff Daniel McKenna, Colonel P.A.Mulcahy (a later Chief of Staff) can be identified on the Pathe Newsreel Report.

They were there to discuss Anglo-Irish Trade with the British Government, according to the newsreel, but the presence of senior Army Officers suggests there were other mutual concerns discussed. Mrs Sean Lemass was also in the company, so it seems, a week or so before the Germans outflanked the Maginot Line.

De Valera could entrust his closest colleagues and one of their wives to one Aer Lingus pilot. Perhaps Hugh Costello would have us believe that the Machiavellian de Valera was plotting with Goering to have their plane shot down? 

For the historical record, all the politicians mentioned remained colleagues and friends of de Valera and the Army, Gardai and Civil Service served

Ireland were loyal to him during his many terms of office, and during the office of other Governments. The Irish electorate in the 26 Counties returned Fianna Fail, under Dev’s leadership to power eight  times and for good measure elected him President twice. Between 1918 and 1921 Ireland elected Sinn Fein, twice under Dev’s leadership, to form her Government.

A hilarious element had someone urging Dev to appeal to Franklin Roosevelt for help in 1940, an election year when the USA was still neutral.

Had Hitler not declared war on the USA following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941, perhaps the USA would have kept out of the war in Europe. A rather more credible scenario than Hugh Costello’s play, which was aptly called “Desecration.”

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