John Redmond calls on the people of Ireland to support Allies
1916/2016: A miscellany
John Redmond, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, published his ‘urgent manifesto’ in response to a fall-off in recruitment in Ireland
February 19th, 1916
On February 19th, 1916, The Irish Times published an “urgent manifesto to the people of Ireland” from the Irish Parliamentary Party leader John Redmond.
In it Redmond reiterated his call for Irish men to mark the “profound change” in the relationship between Britain and Ireland by “wholeheartedly supporting the Allies in the field”.
Redmond continued: “I pointed out that at long last, after centuries of misunderstanding, the democracy of Great Britain has finally and irrevocably decided to trust Ireland and I called upon Ireland to prove that the concession of liberty, would, as we have promised in your name, have the same effect in our country as in every other portion of the Empire.”
Redmond’s call was in response to a fall-off in recruitment in Ireland which predated the Rising and accelerated afterwards. He warned that the gaps in the ranks would be filled by others if they were not filled by Irishmen.
The Irish men at the front had “appealed through me to farmers, labourers, artisans and to every class of our people not to desert them. In your name I promised them in France and Flanders that Ireland would stand by them.”
From the Dublin Metropolitan Police files (nationalarchives.ie): F (Francis) Sheehy-Skeffington was the principal speaker at 41 Rutland Square at 8 pm in a debate entitled “Do We Want Peace Now?” About 100 persons were present including James Connolly, Wm O’Brien, John McDermott (Seán MacDiarmada), John McGarry, JR Reynolds, John Milroy, James Stritch, F Sheehy Skeffington, Mrs Wyse Power and Countess Markievicz. The proceedings were of no importance .
From The Workers Republic (James Connolly’s newspaper) Saturday, February 19th, 1916:
Quiet the prelude to the storm,
Deep, ominous around me reigns,
In skies behind me cruciform,
My Past’s dread shadow slowly wanes.
The sword once more is in my hand,
An army moves at my command.
Spitfire Paddy: The Ace with the Shamrock tells the story of Brendan “Paddy” Finucane who became the youngest wing commander during the war. Finucane died in July 1942 at the age of 21, at which stage he had become a celebrity. He was the son of Andy Finucane, who was a 2nd lieutenant of D Company, 1st battalion of the Irish Volunteers, commanded by Ned Daly.