Madam, – The latest attack on the recently re-erected statue of the late Irish republican leader Seán Russell in Fairview Park is a most sinister development. ( “Vandals deface memorial of republican leader Seán Russell”, July 9th). Graffiti proclaiming that Russell was “Nazi scum” which was sprayed on the statue, is just as inaccurate as the reported date of his death....
I've sent this to the Irish Times:
Tom Cooper is no different than other defenders of Sean Russell's reputation in that he hides behind patriotism instead of addressing the facts. The fact is that Russell was not an elected leader and had no authority to represent Ireland, yet traveled to Nazi Germany and on his own initiative invited a violant fascist state that had proven contempt for the rights of small nations to militarily intervene in Irish affairs.
In order for Russell's plan come to fruition he would have needed more help from the Nazis than a couple of boxes of rifles. Any aid he received from them would come with enough strings attached to ensure that he would be their puppet should his tiny group somehow manage to drive the British out of the North and overthrow the Irish Free State.
Sean Russell was a man who despised the Irish Free State and who actively conspired against it. It's very easy to underestimate the threat he posed to Irish society because nothing ever came of it, but then nobody in Norway took Vidkun Quisling and his two thousand followers seriously until they received the same kind of 'help' from outsiders that Russell was looking for.