Michael Donnellan and Adolf Hitler

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

Sir,

—I wish to point out that R. M. Douglas has his facts a bit mixedup in his article ‘Ailtirí na hAiséirighe: Ireland’s fascist New Order’(HI 17.5, Sept./Oct. 2009), where he states that Michael Donnellan,leader of Clann na Talmhan, boasted of the similarities between hispolitical mission and that of Adolf Hitler. In the research for my bookThe Ploughman on the Pound Note I did not come across any instance ofMr Donnellan comparing his political mission with that of Adolf Hitler.On the contrary, it was Mr Seán MacEntee, then Fianna Fáil minister forlocal government, speaking at Ballinasloe during the 1943 generalelection campaign, in an attempt to demonise Clann na Talmhan, whodescribed it and the Labour Party as an ‘unholy alliance’. They had‘Hitler’ Donnellan with his totalitarian party in Galway and ‘Stalin’Duffy and Larkin in Dublin as allies. Undercurrents and sinisterinfluences, he said, were at work in Ireland today and they are notnative. They were working to overthrow democratic rule, said MrMacEntee. At a later meeting in Ballinasloe Mr Donnellan replied to MrMacEntee, and said that the answer to the mud-slinging by a responsibleminister would be given by the decent farmers and sons of the soil on22 June [election day]. Those decent people, he said, knew nothing andcared less about Communism or Nazism. Therefore I contend that MrDouglas has done an injustice to the memory of Michael Donnellan, whodevoted his lifetime to the betterment of the farming community of theWest of Ireland.

 

—Yours etc.,
EUGENE DUGGAN
Athenry, Co. Galway

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