SINN FEIN IN AUSTRALIA.
(To TRII EDITOR OF TER " SPECT•TOR."]
Sin,—Some of your readers would perhaps be surprised to learn how strongly the Sinn Fein movement has laid hold of the Roman Catholic Irish in Australia. The Irish element here is very far from being negligible. The latest returns show that it comprises over a fifth of the population. For political pur- poses it is the best organized and the most united section of the community. Through its working alliance with the Labour Party it has become a powerful factor in both Federal and State polities. It has also acquired great influence over the Australian Press, and few of our leading newspapers venture to speak out what is in most men'ts minds about the danger to the Empire which the organized Irish vote involves. Nor would many of our statesmen dare to say in public what they frequently say in private about the anti-Imperial and anti- British influence exercised by the local Roman Catholic priest- hood. which is almost exclusively Irish. A Sinn Fein propa- ganda has been carried on for some time past in every city of Australia, with the active co-operation of the Roman Catholic clergy. Take a recent example from the Advocate, the official organ of the Roman Catholic Church in Victoria. Its issue of January 3rd contains an account of the Speech-Day of one of the leading Roman Catholic schools. The priest who presided gloried in the fact that the pupils, instead of accepting the u-ual prizes, "had generously voted the money to the fund in furtherance of the winning cause of self-determination for Ireland." The money, it was stated, would be sent immediately M Archbishop Mannix, to be forwarded to Ireland. A member M' the House of Representatives, in moving a vote of thanks, extolled the act of the girls, and expressed the hope that they would be rewarded by seeing " the success of the splendid fight now being put up to win for Ireland her rightful place as one if the small nations." That this money is to be used to help in carrying on the rebellion in Ireland does not admit of the smallest doubt. Only a few weeks ago Archbishop Mannix explained clearly to the "Irish Race Convention," then meet- ing in 3Ielbourne, that "self-determination " meant simply an
Irish Republic. - Growing bold through the immunity which they have enjoyed by the apathy or timidity of politicians, our local Sinn Feiners have been of late openly distributing literature of the most seditious character. I send a specimen in the enclosed verses, For some of which you may perhaps be able to find space. They have had a large circulation in Melbourne, and have been distributed largely, it is stated, at the doors of Roman Catholic :Ihurches. In connexion with the recent Irish Race Conven- tion a broadsheet was issued, and sold in the public gardens, which was of such a character that the leading loyalist associa- tions of Melbourne called upon the Government to take action, with the result that the publishers have been committed for
Loyal Australians, who have long been fretting impatiently it the too easy tolerance of sedition by the authorities, find much consolation in the late Federal elections, by which a sharp rebuff has been given to the Sinn Feiners and Bolsheviks. In many constituencies the contest became openly one of Protestants against Roman Catholics. It is significant that some of our great papers were stirred out of the caution and reticence which they usually exercise on this burning question, and spoke against the Roman Catholic menace with a vigour and frankness that must have startled the leaders of that ('hurch. One or two brilliant articles in the Melbourne rgus left nothing to be desired for the sincerity and power with which the subject was handled.
The latest Irish newspapers to hand inform us of the despatch of a mission to New York by the leading Protestant churches of Ireland, for the purpose of enlightening the American public on the true character of the Irish "self-determination" move- ment. It seems a most happy thought, and valuable results may be anticipated. But why should not a similar mission be organized for Australia and New Zealand? Large sums of money are undoubtedly going from these countries to assist the high-souled patriots who are seeking the emancipation of Ire- land by the assassination of policemen. In spite of the untiring efforts of numerous loyalist organizations the ignorance prevail- ing here about the whole Irish question is very deep and wide- spread. The testimony of men who would speak with first-hand and recent knowledge of the condition of Ireland could not fail to have a salutary influence, and would help to deprive the rebels of the moral support that they are receiving from the supposed sympathy of the Dominions -with their cause.—I am,
President of the Loyalist League of Victoria. South Yarra, Melbourne.
[We print three verses from those enclosed by our corre- spondent :— Who is Ireland's enemy? Not Germany and Spain, Nor Russia, France or Austria; they forged for her no chain, Nor quenched her hearths, nor razed her homes, nor laid her altars low, Nor sent her sons to tramp the hills amid the winter snow.
• • • • • • Who spiked the heads of Irish priests on Dublin Castle gate? Who butchered helpless Irish babes (the lust of blood to sate)? Who outraged Irish maidenhood and tortured aged sires? And spread from Clare to Donegal the glare of midnight fires?
• • • • . • Rise up, 0 Dead of Ireland, and rouse her living men. The chance has come to us once more to win our own again, To sweep the English enemy from hill and glen and bay, And in your name, 0 Holy Dead, our sacred debt to pay!"