12 JULY 1957, Page 8

FOR THE THIRD time, Mr. de Valera has felt com-

pelled to take firm action against a quasi- military force in Ireland. He put down the Irish Republican Army and the Blueshirts in this way in the Thirties; and he may well be equally suc- cessful in dealing with Sinn Fein. But I doubt if he can expect to stamp out resurgent republi- canism altogether, unless he and other Irish politicians are prepared to change their attitude towards the North. The Sinn Fciners arc being interned for trying to do what Irish politicians have long told them, in effect, they would be justified in doing by any means, by force or by fraud : establishing an all-Ireland Republic. That Irish unity can only be restored by a union of hearts has been obvious to everybody else for years, but Irish politicians have blindly re- fused to accept the fact. Even Mr. de Valera has put on record that the use of force to secure unity would be morally justified, if it were successful. He has now, apparently, begun to realise the moral bankruptcy of this approach; but he can hardly blame the Sinn Feiners for clinging to the beliefs they learned at his knee. Although his decision to arrest and intern them may be justified, he cannot himself escape some of the responsibility for creating in them the attitude of mind which has compelled him to take this drastic action.