Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Nazi graffiti in a Cork graveyard

IRA chief-of-staff Tom Barry
I do not condone in any way the actions of those who damage gravestones and I make that absolutely clear before penning this post about the scrawling of graffiti on headstones in St Finbarr's cemetery in Cork.
Last week, before the Easter Rising commemoration in the graveyard, some vandals had daubed graffiti on republican graves, including that of former IRA chief-of-staff Tom Barry.  The graffiti included a number of Nazi swastikas.
We can't know what was in the minds of those who put the graffiti on the graves but in fact there is a connection between Tom Barry (1897-1980) and the swastika.
After the defeat of the Anti-Treaty IRA, Tom Barry was released by the Free State government in 1924 and he was appointed general superintendent of Cork Harbour Commission from 1927 to 1965. 

At the same time he remained a militant republican and in March 1936 he was involved in the murder of Vice-Admiral Henry Somerville.  The following year he succeeded Sean McBride as IRA chief of staff and in January 1937 he travelled to Germany to seek the support of the Nazis for the IRA.  Support from Germany was to be organised through Clann na Gael in America.  In fact the IRA Army Convention in April 1938 went for another plan put forward by Sean Russell and Tom Barry resigned.  However he remained in contact with the Nazi agents until at least February 1939 and the IRA continued to seek and secure German support for its terrorist campaigns in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  While Irishmen and Ulstermen fought in the ranks of the British Army against the Nazis, the IRA was happy to collaborate with Hitler and his Nazi regime.  So there was in fact a link between Tom Barry and the Nazis. 
In later years Tom Barry supported the Provisional IRA although he expressed some reservations about their methods.  However he had left the IRA around 1940 and was not buried in the republican plot.
Collaboration between the IRA and the Nazis is one part of their story that Sinn Fein prefer to forget.

1 comment:

  1. Yann Renard-Goulet was a Sculptor and Architect . During the Second World War Goulet was a member of Bagadou Stourm, (Breton Nationalist Stormtroopers) and was a Nazis Collaborator. After France was liberated he was tried in absentia found guilty and sentence to death by a French Court for his collaboration with Nazis Germany.  Goblet took his family and went on the run and ended up in the Republic of Ireland were he received citizenship in 1952 and then became a Professor of fine art.
    He was commissioned to create public works commemorating the IRA and other republicans, including the Custom House Memorial (Dublin), the East Mayo Brigade IRA Memorial, the Republican Memorial (Crossmaglen), and the Ballyseedy Memorial (Kerry