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    The flight from war; Belgian refugees in northeast Leinster (part of), 1914-1915

    Whearity, Peter Francis (2008) The flight from war; Belgian refugees in northeast Leinster (part of), 1914-1915. Other thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Ireland played no part in the events which led to the outbreak of the First World War, or the subsequent outpouring of nearly one million Belgian refugees seeking refuge in Holland, France, Britain, and Ireland. Nevertheless, subsequent events in London demonstrate that people on this side of the Irish Sea were participating in one way or another in the provision of relief for Belgian refugees. In August 1914, John Redmond and T.P. O’Connor hosted a function in London attended by Cardinal Mercier, to highlight the close ties between Belgium and Ireland. From September, the personal linkages between Mrs Fowle in Dublin, and Madame Reyntiers in London, saw refugees receive aid parcels sent from Oldcastle, County Meath, courtesy of Fr Barry. Importantly too, when decisions were made as to how best to evacuate Belgians to Britain, it was plans drawn up by northern unionist James Craig which Lady Lugard, who had strong Irish connections, and her War Refugees Committee utilised to good effect. Although this country was last to receive refugees, nevertheless, when they did come, the Belgian Refugees Committee under Mrs Fowle received and distributed them to places of accommodation primarily in poor law union workhouses. Among those who benefited from private hospitality, their plight appeared to have crossed the religious divide with their benefactors coming from all parts of the spectrum of religious persuasions, at least within the study area. Notwithstanding the warm welcome given to the refugees, nevertheless, certain aspects caused tension such as employment; refugee accommodation; job security for Irish workers; and troublesome refugees. However, two generalisations might be made here, one was the relative absence of animosity towards Belgians as an ethnic group. Another was that until recently, the loss from the collective memory of when the Belgians were here, not only by historians but also by the population as a whole led to them being almost forgotten from the history of this area and perhaps even in Ireland generally. Furthermore, I might add, that if it were not for documented sources, then the story as it appears here, could not have been told.

    Item Type: Thesis (Other)
    Additional Information: BA in Local Studies
    Keywords: flight from war; Belgian refugees; northeast Leinster; 1914-1915;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > History
    Item ID: 7695
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2017 14:25
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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