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EIRE DEBATE

MR. DE VALERA ANGRY

Independence But Friendship With Britain Desired

N.Z.P.A. Special Correspondent

Rec. 10.30 a.m

LONDON, July 19.

The Prime Minister of- Eire, Mr. de Valera, was in one of his angriest moods when the debate on his statement that Eire is an independent republic was resumed in the Dail. Declaring that Eire was not invited to the recent British Commonwealth Conference, he stated that Eire was not going to seek invitations "so long as I occupy the position I do." He said: "I am not going to humiliate this nation by going hat in hand to anyone."

Mr. de Valera went on to say that his declaration about Eire as a republic was simply a declaration of fact—"fact which had obtained since 1937." He denied that there was any concealment about it or that he had tried to hoodwink the people.

Not For Whole Of Ireland

Asked why he had not put the word "republic" in his Constitution he said angrily: "Because I did not want people saying, 'You are pretending to have an independent State for the whole of Ireland when you have not.' But we are an independent republic functioning effectively in this part of Ireland, and that is the whole truth as far as I am concerned. It has not two heads. There is one elected head and no other. We use the signature of the head of the group of States with whom .we are associated for certain restricted purposes as and when the Government advises and at no other time."

Mr. de Valera admitted that this has led to an element of confusion in the interpretation of Eire's constitutional position, but anyone who attempted to remove it would achieve nothing so far as freedom and liberty of the 26 counties were concerned. He also made it clear that so long as he was its leader, Eire would make no sacrifices to meet the sentiments of Ulster to get a United Ireland. Eire's neutrality, he said, . was an inevitable consequence of partition. "We want the world to know," Mr. de Valera declared, "that no matter what crusade may be started for the freedom of small nations or for democratic principles, our people will not be asked to go into it so long as the curse of* partition continues."

Kind Words For Britain

Referring to the British-Common-wealth, Mr. de Valera said: "We want to be friends with Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, but it should be remembered that Eire is not a Dominion and that the other Dominions have developed from Colonies with their Constitutions expressing their loyalties. We have not these loyalties. We are not a grown-up colony. We are a mother country and will accept no less a status than that. It will be said that I am animated by hatred of Britain. It is not true. I have often realised that if some other country had been our neighbour our history would have been the same or worse." ..-',• ,■■;•', For 30 years, Mr. de Valera added, his hope and aim had been to see the people of Ireland and Britain living side by side as good neighbours, each respecting the other's rights and co-operating in matters affecting their mutual interests.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19450720.2.44

Bibliographic details

EIRE DEBATE, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 170, 20 July 1945

Word Count
542

EIRE DEBATE Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 170, 20 July 1945

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