My recent BLOG “Who Wrote JFK’s Speeches?” noted that his address to the Oireachtas was given 41 years to the day since Michael Collins, on the orders of Winston Churchill, bombarded his former comrades in the Four Courts with guns borrowed from the British garrison. I noted that virtually all of my generation were free of the bitterness of that tragedy.

This was entirely the result of Fianna Fail leadership. Whereas Cosgrave had embraced imperialists from Redmondite and Unionist camps, and Fascist principles on losing office, De Valera had sought reconciliation with his former comrades and friendship with all nations. I have never read of him uttering a term of abuse of anyone, nor showing any evidence of bigotry of any description. Haughey, the Lenihans and O’Malleys who succeeded the party’s founders, came from “Pro-Treaty” families.

Frank Aiken, a brilliant field commander in both the War of Independence and the Civil War,,became in 1923 IRA Chief of Staff  at the age of 25. He immediately ordered his men to cease fire and return their arms to secure dumps for possible future use.

 De Valera within three years founded Fianna Fail to explore political means of securing their objectives took most of the IRA with them. In 1932 when Fianna Fail took office, Aiken released IRA men imprisoned by Cosgrave, and, as Minister of Defence secured the willing obedience of the Free State Army to the Fianna Fail Government.

If Aiken had then retired from public life his reputation would have been unique among statesmen. But he had more to do.

For instance. As Minister of External Affairs, Aiken promoted discussion of Mao Tse Tung’s China admission to the United Nations. New York’s Cardinal Spelman phoned the Irish delegation to object. But Fianna Fail never took orders from bishops. Indeed they did not, in those days, take their cue from the State Department or the White House.

The crowning glory of Aiken’s achievement was the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968. It was the fruit of ten years’ hard work. Aiken’s signature was the first to it, in Moscow, at the invitation of the Soviet Union.

The attempted unravelling of that Treaty by the Ukrainian Regime in February this year preceded Russia’s crossing of that state’s borders.

In this Decade of Remembrance Fianna Fail has forgotten its history of rational and ethical  and successful service to Ireland and the world community.


Comments are closed.