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Heroes or Traitors?Experiences of Southern Irish Soldiers Returning from the Great War 1919-1939$
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Paul Taylor

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381618

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381618.001.0001

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date: 21 October 2018

An Imperial Obligation

An Imperial Obligation

(p.91) 3 An Imperial Obligation
Heroes or Traitors?

Paul Taylor

Liverpool University Press

The British obligation to Irish ex-servicemen had several motives. During the conflict there was concern that disaffected ex-servicemen would use their skills on behalf of the republicans. There was a legal obligation; in the Treaty leading to the formation of the Free State, responsibility was excluded from the Irish Government. Morally there was also a perceived debt to those whose service to the crown may have caused hardship. This obligation was reflected in schemes to encourage employment, pension and health care for the physically and mentally disabled, support for emigration, compensation, and the provision of land and housing. Those related to employment and land only applied until the formation of the Free State. Although faced with discharging these obligations in a time of conflict and thereafter in a country in which they had limited and decreasing jurisdiction, the British Government made significant efforts. They sought to provide employment, although the conflict and the lack of cooperation of private industry restricted success. They provided pension benefits far in excess of those enjoyed by counterparts in Britain. They established a compensation system for loyalist victims of republican violent, and with rules that allowed war service to qualify as a demonstration of loyalty.

Keywords:   British obligation, ex servicemen, employment, pension, disabled, emigration, compensation, housing

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