Carlow businessman makes appeal for Irish recruitment
Carlow, 6 July 1918 - ‘We are all Irishmen, and will all be made to suffer the consequences of a national failure in duty.’
That’s the view of Carlow businessman E. Shackleton who has written a letter to the editor of the Irish Independent in an effort to urge greater Irish recruitment to the British war effort.
According to Shackleton, the American and British press are increasingly taking note of the current Irish position in relation to the war and it is this that has given him cause for alarm. ‘No nation’, he writes, ‘can prosper if surrounded by wealthy nations which believe they have reason to condemn her’.
Shackleton acknowledges the ‘sickening muddle’ that was made of Irish recruiting efforts heretofore but fears that few outside the country are likely to take much account of Irish grievances. ‘Will men who have themselves fought and bled, or lost their dear ones fighting, cherish very pleasant memories of Ireland if the war ends with Ireland saved from conscription, but sullenly refusing to help the Allies voluntarily?’
Ireland was offered a way out of the conscription dilemma by concentrating on voluntary recruiting and Shackleton believes that it is in everyone’s interest that the young men of Ireland enlist. If they don’t, he asks how will the country be ‘branded’ and what welcome will there be for Irish emigrants in America. Shackleton states that he was writing as a ‘plain business man’ and was concerned only with the ‘material prosperity’ of his country.
[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]