No. 342  NAI DFA 250/8

Memorandum by Michael Rynne 'The Practical Aspects of Irish Post War Relief to Europe'

DUBLIN, 10 November 1943

  1. Given the goodwill of the Irish Government and people and Irish charitable organisations, such as the Irish Red Cross Society, what is the prospect of Ireland contributing appreciably to post-war relief?
  2. The answer is not encouraging in regard to relief in food and other supplies. In regard to relief in money, the answer cannot of necessity (Ireland being a small and not rich country) be expected to impress.

  3. Up to the present such relief as this country has sent to the victimised populations of Europe through the Irish Red Cross Society has mainly taken the form of money and only rarely of food. Other supplies (medical etc.) have not been sent, with the exception of some blankets to Spain.
  4. The attached list of relief given in kind has been supplied by the Irish Red Cross Society today.1

    Quite a large amount of money (some £23,000) has been sent to various countries, via Geneva, by the Irish Red Cross Society since 1939.

  5. According to the Department of Agriculture the amounts of food exported so far from this country for relief abroad, were almost negligible in comparison with Irish agricultural production. That Department is emphatically of opinion however, that participation on a really large scale in an all-Europe relief scheme would be utterly impossible for this country at any given time in the next few years.
  6. At the moment we have a permanent surplus in cattle only and Britain is taking all of that. If we wished to divert our cattle surplus to Europe we could probably do so only after discussing the matter with our customer who would then, in effect, be sharing in the credit. The Department of Agriculture sees no prospect of increasing agricultural production in any direction so as to have disposable surpluses available before the war ends unless, by a miracle, large quantities of fertilisers, machinery and petrol for transport should reach this country.

1 Not printed.

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