The generous post-war welcome the German Gentile children of Operation Shamrock received from every strata of Irish society stands in stark contrast to the hostile political and civil resistance to admitting the Jewish children of Clonyn Castle. This debate occurred as the full horrors of the Nazi exterminationist camps entered a public conscience; therefore, ignorance of the Jewish tragedy could no longer be used as an excuse to reject child refugees, leaving one to conclude that the only plausible explanation was that potential child refugees were either accepted/rejected because of their religious affiliation.
This can only be fully understood by examining the evolution of Irish religious anti-Semitism, which really only took hold when Paul Cardinal Cullen became Ireland’s first Holy Roman Prince (Cardinal) in 1849. He spearheaded the Romanisation of a previously independent Catholic Church by implementing the anti-Semitic ethos of the Jesuits as exemplified by its bigoted ramblings in Civilta Cattolica. He reinforced this by forging a Gaelic Irish Catholic identity that marginalised minorities, in particular the tiny Jewish community.
Dr. Kevin J McCarthy is currently in the process of turning his doctoral thesis on Robert Briscoe into a monograph entitled, Robert Briscoe Sinn Féin Republican, Fianna Fáil Nationalist and Revisionist Zionist. He has recently published a chapter entitled ‘An Introduction to Robert Briscoe’s Extraordinary Immigration Initiative’ in The Irish Context of Kristallnacht: Refugees and Helpers,’ edited by Gisella Holfter and he has challenged the existing paradigm depicting de Valera as unhelpful and unsympathetic to the pre-war Jewish tragedy in ‘Éamon de Valera’s Relationship with Robert Briscoe: A reappraisal,’ Irish Studies in International Affairs, Vol. 24. Nov.2014.
Thursday 19th February at 7.30pm
Irish Jewish Museum
3 Walworth Road (off Victoria Street), Portobello, Dublin 8
ADVANCE BOOKINGS ONLY – Admission €5
Tel: 085 7067357 | email@example.com