Pages from history

The party of law and order

Mussolini—incomparably the greatest of living statesmen ...”—Desmond Fitzgerald TD, Irish Independent, 8 July 1927

On the Wearing of Uniform Bill (intended to ban the paramilitary uniform of the Blueshirts, passed in March 1934 but defeated in the Seanad): “... the Blackshirts were victorious in Italy and ... the Hitler Shirts were victorious in Germany, as, assuredly, in spite of this bill and in spite of the Public Safety Act, the Blueshirts will be victorious in the Irish Free State.”—John A. Costello TD (later taoiseach), Dáil Éireann, 28 February 1934

On the Spanish Anti-Fascist War: “I wish we had a Hitler here.”—Patrick Belton TD (founder and leader of the Irish Christian Front), Dáil Éireann, 25 July 1935

On the Italian invasion of Ethiopia: “As an Irishman and as a Catholic ... I will not agree to the application of sanctions against Italy, who is going out to civilise and to Christianise a pagan race. I sincerely hope that the Italian race, and Mussolini, the great leader of the Italian people and defender of our faith in Italy, will be successful in this war.”—William Rice Kent TD, Dáil Éireann, 6 November 1935

Signor Mussolini is the Abraham Lincoln of Africa.”—Osmond Esmonde TD, Dáil Éireann, 6 November 1935

When our organisation’s work is complete we will make Ireland a very hot spot for any communist to live in. If it is necessary to be a fascist to defend Christianity, then I am a fascist, and so are my colleagues.”—Patrick Belton TD, 12 October 1936