FitzGerald recalls Civil War healing

 

CIVIL WAR animosities among the children of protagonists ended in the late 1930s when many of them were in university together, former taoiseach Garret Fitz- Gerald has said.

Dr FitzGerald was one of the guests at a witness seminar in Trinity College Dublin for the children of War of Independence and Civil War veterans.

Others who took part included Ruth O'Rahilly, the niece of Kevin Barry; Harry Boland, the son of former government minister Gerry Boland; and Frank Aiken, son of the former government minister of the same name.

Dr FitzGerald's father Desmond fought in the 1916 Rising and was a minister in the first Free State government.

The former taoiseach said the friendships that had built up during the 1930s were solidified when veterans from both sides joined the Army during the second World War.

"We were brought up to believe that the Civil War was not our affair," he said. His mother Mabel, who was a republican, did not approve of the government that her husband served in.

"She wrote to friends in England after I was born saying she hoped the present crowd would be thrown out as soon as possible, even though our only source of income was my father's ministerial salary. By the late 1920s she had come around," he said.

Frank Aiken jnr broke down when he recalled his father's horror of the Civil War.

"My dad absolutely hated the Civil War. He was the last of the generals to declare which side he was on. I still get emotional when I remember how much he hated it."