Eamon De Valera was no Nazi sympathiser

Letter to the editorLetter to the editor
Letter to the editor
A letter from Micheal O’Cathail

It is good that Robert Wallace is interested in things Irish, and in particular, the life of the Irish statesman, Éamon de Valera, or Dev, a former taoiseach and president of Ireland (News Letter letters, Nov 3).

Mr Wallace refers to Dáil Éireann estimates for the Free State army in 1938.

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There was not a Free State entity in 1938 – the Irish Constitution, enacted in 1937, replaced the Free State.

And as for the reference to presenting [the estimates], to the Dail, and referring to the “great powers of Europe”; if there was any such reference, then it was not Adolf Hitler, as seems to be implied or hinted at, by Mr Wallace, but, likely, the League of Nations – the precursor of the United Nations of which Ireland, and Dev, was an active participant.

John Ernest Lester, born in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, was Ireland’s able Permanent Delegate in the League of Nations.

The trope that De Valera was anti-Semitic, is given the lie by a letter in the Sunday Times (Oct 31, 2021), an extract reads: “Trevor Lyttleton’s reference to Éamon de Valera’s ill-advised visit to the German representative in Dublin in May 1945 implies anti-semitic sympathies on the then Taoiseach’s part. So he might be surprised to learn of the Éamon de Valera Forest planted near Tiberias (Israel) in 1966. According to the KKL-Jewish National Fund website, De Valera ‘always showed respect to the Jewish population of Ireland and protected them. In 1966 the Éamon de Valera Forest was planted by the Dublin Jewish community in (Dev’s) honour.’”

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