Éamon de Valera denounced the Blue Shirts organisation as unlawful, yet despite the Government’s ban, the Blueshirts also known as the National Guard paraded throughout the country.
While peace had reigned in Ireland the past 18 months, de Valera identified one of the aims of the Blueshirts was to overthrow representative government. Noting that the Irish had fought for centuries to gain control of their own affairs, they had not the least intention of surrendering that control to any dictator or militarist group. De Valera argued that the aims and methods of the “so-called national guard” are hateful to the vast majority of people. He continued that “the national guard would have to choose between disappearance or conversion in to a peaceful, non-military organisation”.
The key force in shaping the Garda Síochána, a founder member of Fine Gael and the youngest army general in Europe at the time, Eoin O’Duffy’s…
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