Decision to return Treaty ports to Free State in 1938 proved ‘completely wrong’

Lemass on the Treaty ports: Britain handed back ports under mistaken belief radar alone could detect German submarines

Undated photograph of Éamon de Valera (right) meeting Winston Churchill. Photograph: Royal Irish Academy/PA Wire

Undated photograph of Éamon de Valera (right) meeting Winston Churchill. Photograph: Royal Irish Academy/PA Wire

Britain handed back the Treaty ports in 1938 based on a false belief that their technological advances would stop German submarines, Seán Lemass believed.

Under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, Britain had retained the use of the ports of Berehaven and Cobh in Co Cork and Lough Swilly in Co Donegal for the Royal Navy.

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