The Ulster Unionist Party’s Chief Whip, Steve Aiken MLA, has rejected comments by Leo Varadkar in which the Taoiseach used the phrase ‘Finest Hour’ to describe De Valera’s efforts to keep the Republic neutral in the Second World War.
Steve Aiken MLA said;
“It is a most unusual statement from Leo Varadkar given his long-standing support for equality.
“The crimes committed by fascism in Europe during the Second World War mean that he is on the wrong side of history with regard to these comments.
“Furthermore, his comments display a lack of understanding in the lead up to the 80thanniversary of the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia and the annexation of Austria which paved the way for the deaths of many millions of innocent people.
“It is abundantly clear that the fight against fascism was a fight for everyone on this island, and the World will always be grateful to those Irish citizens who fought with Britain for freedom and democracy, rather than cowering behind the veneer of neutrality.
“The fact that De Valera knew about the atrocities in the Nazi Concentration Camps, yet still went to the German Legation in Dublin to sign a book of condolence on the death of Adolf Hitler, underlines how poor the current Taoiseach’s judgement is in his statement.
“We are fast approaching a post-Brexit EU which is committed to closer integration and which will involve an EU Army and defence system.
“Instead of analogies about neutrality in World War Two, Leo Varadkar should be preparing the Republic for joining a European Superstate.”