Altirí na hAisÉirighe

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 1 (Jan/Feb 2010), Letters, Volume 18

Sir,

 

Gearóid Ó Cuinneagáin, Ceannaire of Ailtirí na hAiséirighe, speaking at the GPO in 1942. (Military Archives)

Gearóid Ó Cuinneagáin, Ceannaire of Ailtirí na hAiséirighe, speaking at the GPO in 1942. (Military Archives)

—I was delighted to see that you featured Altirí na hAiséirighe in your September/October 2009 issue. It brought back boyhood memories of going with my pals to attend their meetings in the city centre.
There was something flamboyant about that organisation that made it more attractive to us than the staid images of the more conventional parties. It had a flair for propaganda and display that excited our imagination. Its youthful image also appealed. Long after Aiséirighe became a spent force, its monthly paper continued to exist well into the 1950s. It advertised booklets from various right-wing movements in Britain and America. I got one of those American publications that were written by Gerald L. K. Smith, a well-known right-wing agitator in America at that time. In it he made the extraordinary claim that under the New Deal the United States had been taken over by a secret cabal of Jews and Communists and that F. D. Roosevelt was merely their puppet. He also claimed that Roosevelt either was murdered or killed himself in April 1945. A British right-wing group, based in Leeds, took issue with Aiseirighe’s pro-Egyptian stance at the time of the Suez crisis in 1956. So it shows how hard it is to establish a Fascist international when Fascism exploits national and ethnic differences between nations. Many Irish nationalists did not agree with Aiséirighe. One Protestant wrote to it saying that, while he agreed with its policy to restore the language and unite the country, he did not approve of its support for Franco’s Spain.

R. FARRELLY
Ballybrack, Co. Dublin

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