Call for government to honour International Brigade members – Ó Snodaigh
Speaking at the unveiling today of a plaque to 6 local International Brigade volunteers from the Inchicore area of Dublin, three of whom lost their lives in the Spanish Civil War, local Sinn Fein TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh called on the government to properly honour the courage and bravery of the volunteers who left Ireland to fight against fascism.
In his address during the unveiling by a local group (The Inchicore Friends of the International Brigade) on Emmet Road, Inchicore of a plaque dedicated to the memory of Tony Fox (Goldenbridge Avenue), Mick May (Connolly Avenue), Liam ‘Bill’ McGregor, Joe Monks (Park Street), Paddy McElroy (Nash Street), Bill Scott (Ring Street) Aengus said that while the government is quick to give an amnesty to soldiers from the Defence Forces who deserted and joined the British Army to fight Hitler, they have not acknowledged that the state wronged the men who had to sneak out of the country to fight fascism and defend the Spanish Republic a few years earlier. Three local men died in Spain, Tony Fox, Mick May and Bill McGregor and those who survived were often ostracised and persecuted when they returned to Dev’s Ireland.
“Recently when discussing a bill which was to give am amnesty to Free State soldiers who deserted and fought with the British Army during the Second World War, I called for the an apology, a state recognition of the bravery and courage of men who fought those who left Ireland and fought against fascism in the Spanish Civil War.
“I wondered when the State or the Catholic Church would apologise to the volunteers and their families who had to sneak out of the country to fight the evils of fascism which they understood three years before the outbreak of the Second World War.
“I still await that apology, well, the families still wait that apologies. Interesting that the Minister for Defence Alan Shatter would lecture us on the ‘bankruptcy’ of the state’s neutrality policy during that period, while failing to acknowledge the bravery of those who withstood the vitriol and more heaped on them and who had to slink out of Ireland to stand and fight with those opposing Franco’s fascism which was supported by Hitler. Maybe though it not surprising, given that his own party, a merger of the Blueshirts, the Army Comrades Association, National Guard, Cumann na nGaedhael, the National Centre Party and some southern Unionists, gave their fulsome support to General Duffy’s crusade for Franco in Spain. They were part of the unholy alliance of Franco’s supposed nationalist, Hitler and Mussolini and the Catholic Hierarchy.
“The volunteers of the International Brigade when they returned home often faced persecution were excommunicated, ostracised and discriminated against by the church and elements in the State because they had the gall and bravery to take a stand for democracy. It is long past time for the state to acknowledge fully the bravery of the International Brigade volunteers from Ireland.”