State’s record in helping refugees

Ireland’s refusal to admit Jews fleeing Nazi persecution

Sir, – Stephen Collins regrets Ireland’s refusal to admit Jews fleeing Nazi persecution during the 1930s, but that was not the end of it (“Whether we like it or not, Russian ambassador does have a point on Ireland’s neutrality”, Opinion & Analysis, February 2nd).

In his 1943 maiden speech in the Dáil, Oliver J Flanagan urged the government to follow the Nazis and “rout the Jews out of this country”.

Flanagan remained a poll-topping TD until 1987.

After war, with the memory of the concentration camps looming large, the Department of Justice was vehemently opposed to Jews entering Ireland.


Ireland was using still racial criteria to keep Jews out of the State in 1953, according to a Department of Justice memorandum which declared, “There is strong anti-Jewish feeling in this State which is particularly evident to the Alien Section of the Department of Justice”. – Yours, etc,


Gaoth Dobhair,

Co Dhún na nGall.