No. 251  NAI DFA Secretary's Files P12/14/1

Confidential report from John W. Dulanty to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(No. 42) (Secret)

LONDON, 1 December 1942

The conditions of living, as distinct from working, of the young people who have crossed from Ireland to enter into war work over here are disquieting both from the spiritual and the political aspects.

Even where, as in many cases, provision exists for hearing Mass and frequenting the Sacraments, the relation between the priest and the people is inevitably much less intimate than in an Irish parish; so that to a loss of that restraint of Irish home life, there is added a lessening of spiritual influences. Worse still of course are the many places where from one cause or another lack of priests and, because of the widely scattered character of the employment areas as well as the temporary nature of the work, lack of funds no church exists.

The problem is obviously beset with difficulties and is no doubt much in the minds of the Bishops and Archbishops of both countries. Some consultation between the two Hierarchies has taken place but one has the impression that the position generally is not improving.

On the political side our young people are day in day out working side by side with not a few of the active members of the extreme left of the Labour Party. The Connolly Club, an organisation I suspect to be supported by Communist funds, is much more vigorous than it was in holding meetings and other propaganda working. Whilst it is sound on the unity of Ireland it dropped its policy of neutrality immediately the Soviet entered the war and its weekly organ 'Irish Freedom' does not conceal its support of communism.

At the meetings of this and other political bodies one sees and hears the leaders, of both sexes, many of whom because of their enthusiasm and generally disinterested zeal for political reform of an advanced order are likely, despite their specious pleadings, to prove attractive to our workers who are at an impressionable age and whose political sense is almost certainly less developed.

On the return of the latter to Ireland whether temporarily or permanently it is highly probable that the pervading influence of the political thought of a highly industrialised and class conscious community, so markedly different from our own, will subsist and may well prove a seriously disintegrating factor in the political evolution of contemporary Ireland.

The solution of this problem in present day conditions will clearly be hard to find but it is a question which the Minister must have already before him and which he may find means of resolving, if not completely, at least in some of its more immediate aspects.

[signed] J.W. DULANTY


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