January 5

Irish soldier who fought against Japanese forgiven by the Irish republicans

The 5000 or so men who left the Irish Armed Forces to fight with British forces against the Nazis and the Japanese were stripped by the government of Éamon de Valera of their military pensions and barred from government jobs under Emergency Powers Order 362. According to the BBC the government is now considering a pardon.

The Times refers to the case of  Harry Reid of Dublin who fought at Kojima in 1944, a crucial and bloody battle that ended  the Japanese attempt to invade India. His son says "The rules were simple.  No one could employ my father.”

During the war, the Irish Republican Army said that they would welcome German invaders as “ as friends and liberators.”

But now Sinn Fein,  the IRA’s political arm, says it is prepared to support a pardon, although most of the men are now dead.  The IRA was the only foreign group to campaign in Australia's 1999 republic referendum, when Gerry Adams came to Australia and argued for the Yes case.  

Recalling particularly the unpunished murder of two young Australians by  IRA agents in Europe, ACM asked the Australian Republican movement to distance itself from Gerry Adams.  

The republican movement  did not. More recently the movement claimed Adams did not campaign in and did not visit Australia during the referndum. But after r The Australian confirmed this fact, they had to withdraw their denial.


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