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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: 19 October 2018

Equal Citizens of the State

Equal Citizens of the State

(p.171) 5 Equal Citizens of the State
Heroes or Traitors?

Paul Taylor

Liverpool University Press

War service brought no privilege from the State but nor did it result in discrimination. With their desire for close ties with the British Government, it may have been anticipated that the Cosgrave Government would be supportive of British ex-servicemen, but also under the republican de Valera Government they were not subject to unequal treatment, although the former was most supportive of the ex-servicemen tenants in their rent disputes. War service was not a barrier to participation in politics, but nor did it define the politician; ex-servicemen were represented across the political spectrum. In 1927 all political parties agreed that the perceived grievances of the ex-servicemen should be investigated; the resultant report found that although National Army veterans were favoured in terms of state funded employment, ex-servicemen were treated as all other citizens. The ex-servicemen were treated without bias before the law, indeed sympathetically. They made up 50% of the National Army and helped to defeat the anti-Treaty forces, gaining employment preferences and the redemptive experience of contributing to the survival of the new state. In the interwar period there were large annual Remembrance ceremonies supported by the community and the State, the latter financing a Great War National Memorial.

Keywords:   discrimination, Cosgrave, De Valera, perceived grievances, National Army, remembrance

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