Here, in Cork district, you have in combination all the dangers which
war can inflict. You are a very important point. Your military and marine
defences cannot be too carefully organized nor too fully manned. You
are a populous city. Your A.R.P., plans for evacuation, for shelters,
for black-out, for fire-watching must be fully worked out and the personnel
for your A.R.P. services, etc., recruited to the strength necessary
and thoroughly trained and practiced. If war comes upon us, it will
come as a thief in the night. Preparations to meet the danger will not
bring it nearer. It may help to avert it. And if the attack should:
come, our preparations made in advance will mean the saving of thousands
of valuable lives. If the attack struck us unprepared it would mean
confusion, unnecessary loss and perhaps defeat.
Since this war began our sympathy has gone out to all the suffering
people who have been dragged into it. Further hundreds of millions have
become involved since I spoke at Limerick fortnight ago. Its extension
to the U.S.A. brings a source of anxiety and sorrow to every part of
this land. There is scarcely a family here which has not a member or
a near relative in that country, in addition to the ties of blood, there
has been our two nations a long association of friendship and regard,
continuing uninterruptedly from America's struggle for independence
down to our own. The part which American friendship played in helping
us to win the freedom we enjoy in this part of Ireland has been gratefully
recognized and acknowledged by our people. It would be unnatural, then,
if we did not sympathize in this total manner with the people of the
U.S.A. and if we did not feel with them in all the anxiety and trials
which this war has brought upon them.
People who do not understand our conditions have asked how America's
entry into the war will affect our neutrality here. The policy of the
state remains unchanged. We can only be friendly neutral. From the moment
this war began, there was, for this state, only one policy possible,
neutrality. Our circumstances, our history, the incompleteness of our
national freedom through the partition of our country, made any other
policy impossible. Any other policy would have divided our people and
for a divided nation to fling itself into this war would have been to
commit suicide. When we adopted the policy of neutrality, we had no
illusions about it. We knew the difficulties and dangers. We are fully
aware that, in a world at war, each set of belligerents is over ready
to regard those who are not with them as against them; but the course
we have followed is a just course. God has been pleased to save us during
the years of war that have already passed. We pray that He may be pleased
to save us to the end. But we must do our part.
It is the duty of our men to enroll themselves in the national services.
We need all our manpower for defence. For the military and ... we need
a quarter of a million men.
The economic and social problems would tend to become, like the military
situation, more and more difficult as time went on and we became more
and more isolated. We must become more and more united as a people.
It is of primary importance to make sure of the nation's food. I would
ask the Parish Councils and the other parish organizations to make it
a special concern of theirs to look after stores of food and emergency
feeding. With the new turn in the war and America's entry into it, we
may not be able to get enough supplies from abroad.
All our efforts should be bent toward securing the quantity required.
A great national effort will also be necessary to provide the fuel we
shall need. We cannot afford idleness, waste or inefficiency.
When we have done our best, we can, as a united people,
take whatever may befall with calm courage and confidence that this
old nation will survive and if death should come to many of us, death
is not the end.