On This Day [in Irish history]: The Irish News Editorial. November 13, 1917

Posted By: November 13, 2017

                     De Valera and “1916”

Eamon Phoenix. Irish News. Belfast. Monday, November 13, 2017

            Mr de Valera insists upon the organization of an armed and disciplined force in Ireland.…‘The cause of Irish freedom’, the Sinn Fein President said, ‘was being fought today there at home and also on the Italian front.’By whom in Italy? By the Germans who befooled Mr de Valera’s friends last year through the medium of John Devoy [head of the IRB in America] and Co?

            Two or three main facts emerge from the Easter Rising … First, there was some ‘colloguing’ between the nests of useless intriguers in New York and Roger Casement in Berlin, on the one hand, and a few ‘Sinn Fein leaders’ in Dublin, on the other. Second, the gang in New York promised that German assistance would be sent to an Irish insurrection…Third, the Rising was initiated by the Dublin group on their own responsibility – a terrible and fatal responsibility – and poor Casement, knowing that Germany had not the remotest idea of risking a warship in a hopeless Irish adventure, tried to stop the mad business.

            Casement perished with the authors of the Rising at the hands of the British government and Sir John Maxwell [the British military supremo]. So did hundreds of innocent Irish people and no man can measure the evil that was wrought. Are Mr [Arthur] Griffith and Mr de Valera asking the Irish people to arm themselves so that Germany may be obliged with a similar Rising on a more extensive and disastrous scale?

            Mr de Valera does not know how to get what he wants; it seems to us that he does not know what he means when he talks at large. America is as deeply and irrevocably committed to the war against Germany as England.     The English, who clamor for more Coercion in Ireland, find Mr.de Valera useful. He has an idea but he has neither a definite policy nor the remotest idea of doing anything except to keep on talking platitudes and to trust to luck. A nation’s liberty will not be secured by such methods. (Fiercely loyal to Redmond and controlled by his northern deputy, Joe Devlin, the Irish News consistently condemned de Valera and the rising forces of Sinn Fein as a deadly threat to Irish unity and self-government. Not only had the 1916 leaders no mandate,  its editor, Tim McCarthy asserted in this editorial, but they were manipulated by the American IRB and the ruthless Kaiser. The only hope for the Irish nation lay in constitutional methods.