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Facts about IRA chief and 'collaboration' with Nazi Germany during Second World War

David Collins, responding to my letter of February 11, raises some issues that require a response.

Mr Collins claims the IRA colluded with Nazi Germany during the Second World War. The IRA chief of staff, Sean Russell, has been accused of collaboration with the Nazis.

Russell, in fact, opposed fascism. Indeed, Russell had no worldview, other than ending British rule in Ireland.

About the same time as Russell was seeking arms from Germany, Avraham Stern, founder of Lehi, the Zionist organisation in pursuance of a Jewish State, collaborated with the Nazi authorities, offering to "actively take part in the war on Germany's side" in return for help in securing Jewish independence.

Stern and his successor, future Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, rejected collaboration with the British and claimed that only the defeat of the British Empire would lead to an independent Jewish State. Russell said: "I am not a Nazi. I am not even pro-German, I am an Irishman fighting for independence and if it suits Germany to give us help, I am willing to accept it."

Mr Collins also claimed that, in the early-20th century, Protestants in the south were forced to flee and this resulted in the Protestant population there dropping by a third.

Although some Irish Protestants were victims of a process of expulsion, there are reasons other than those. This decline can be identified with the Great War and aggressively encouraged Protestant relocation north.

The horrific slaughter of young Irish Protestant men in the First World War had a disproportionate impact on the male Protestant population of the south. This was reflected in the birth rate for decades following the war.

In addition, Sir James Craig enticed large numbers of Protestants to relocate north of the border in attempts to offset Catholic majorities in border counties.



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