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Topic: "pardon" for irish soldiers who fought in WW2
because England was considered the "old enemy" and Ireland declared itself neutral, those soldiers who left to fight were listed as deserters.
on their return (those who did return) were blacklisted from jobs and in some cases had their children taken into care as a punishment, placed with state run and catholic institutions, where being the children of deserters were singled out for special attention. As if the attention in those places wasn't bad enough.
Im of the opposite view. The Irish government didnt go far enough. They shouldve imposed very stiff prison sentences for these deserters for abandoning their duty and risking Irelands neutrality. Worse yet they jeopardized their country to fight a war for a hostile foreign powers cause. I wouldve given those who returned life in prison and for those who stayed abroad I wouldve filed for extradition.
Its a shame Irelands new Govt. was so afraid of being seen to side with the old enemy in 1939 that they couldn't do the right thing, like these 5000 soldiers did, but instead sheltered behind Britains hated Army (with its multitude of Irish volunteers, protestant AND catholic) whilst Europe was overrun.
At worst these guys should have done a little time for going AWOL, but then promoted to NCO's or officers in the Irish Army to reflect & utilise their combat experience.
Traditionally a large number of Irishmen have volunteered to join the British Army - almost 150,000 from catholic backgrounds in WW1 for example.