Gareth Jones

[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]



Stop Press


Complete Soviet Articles & Background Information


Précis of Gareth's Soviet Famine Articles


All Published Articles




Tell Them We Are Starving




Eyewitness to the Holodomor



More Than Grain of Truth



Manchukuo Incident





'Are you Listening NYT?'  U.N. Speech - Nov 2009


Gareth Recognised at Cambridge - Nov 2009


Reporter and the Genocide - Rome, March 2009


Order of Freedom Award -Nov 2008


Premiere of 'The Living' Documentary Kyiv - Nov 2008


Gareth Jones 'Famine' Diaries - Chicago 2008


Aberystwyth Memorial Plaque 2006





Scholarship Fund


Site Map




Legal Notices


Sponsored Links



The Western Mail - Saturday, March 10th, 1934.


“Stands Firm  as a Rock for the Empire”

An Interview With Lord Craigavon

By Gareth Jones 
            BELFAST. Friday.

While I found in Dublin the hatreds more bitter than ever and the political situation more confused than they were during my visit in October in Ulster I was struck by the calm and confidence reigning there. 

When I was in Belfast in the autumn a tense feeling of religious antagonism and fear of riots hovered over the city, for there had been political murders and savage epithets had been hurled at the Government.  But today the tension had disappeared, and I was struck by the quiet and orderliness of public life. 

One of the main causes for this quiet and solidity in Northern Ireland is the Prime Minister, Lord Craigavon, who carries on the tradition of Carson as a man devoted to Ulster.  He has dominated the affairs of his country since he took over the reins of office in 1920.  Although he is regarded by some as the epitome of reaction and hidebound Toryism, his passion for Ulster, his firmness and his stubbornness are denied by no one. 

In character he is the very reverse of President de Valera, his counterpart in the Free State.  While Mr. de Valera is a dreamer whose vague thoughts wander over the face of the globe, Lord Craigavon has his few ideas firmly embedded in his mind and from those he will not move one inch. 

While Mr. de Valera has the delicate build, the lanky limbs and the pale colour of a young student, Lord Craigavon has the stature of a powerful country gentleman. 

This was the ruler I went to see at Stormont, those magnificent Houses of Parliament outside Belfast.  As we spoke we looked out at the Ulster mountains and at the statue of Carson, whom Lord Craigavon once described as: “One whom our children in years to come will regard as the greatest leader who, in times of grave danger, saved us and the Empire.”  Lord Craigavon, in the eyes of Ulster Protestants, has taken on himself the mantle of Carson. 


“You ask me ‘What of Ulster? “ he said.  His great eyes stared fixedly at me for minutes on end.  “It is with great pride in these days, when European countries have been in a turmoil, that I am able to declare Ulster stands as firm as a rock for Britain and for the Empire.  We are steadfast in our determination to remain a sturdy partner in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

“My whole life has been devoted to one great purpose - the maintenance of Ulster as an integral part of the United Kingdom.  And now I am delighted, as spokesman of our youthful Ulster, to declare that the Union Jack remains as ever the emblem of our undying loyalty and of our position in the Empire.” 

In these words I noticed the same fire that led to the drilling of the Irish Volunteers before the war and that Ulster characteristic which makes Ulster-men more British than the British.  Their loyalty, however, has been more than one of words, for, as Lord Craigavon said: “Since the setting up of the Government of Northern Ireland in 1920 we have contributed to the Imperia Exchequer over £25,000,000.” 


My next question was the relation of Ulster towards the Free State, a question which, I confess, I asked with some trepidation, because the topic is delicate.  Lord Craigavon replied: “We have no antipathy whatever towards the Inst Free State.  We wish the country every prosperity.  But under no circumstance could the people of Northern Ireland consent to come under a Free State or Republican Government.” 

As he said this I felt that the prospect of a united Ireland was very dim indeed. 

The next topic was more delicate still, and I seemed to be treading on thin ice when discussing it.  But it was Lord Craigavon himself who brought it up.  It was the ever-recurring accusation of bigotry among the Northerners.  The Prime Minister denied it emphatically: 

“All creeds and classes are treated alike.  There is equality, for everyone, I regret that on some occasions statements in certain cross-Channel papers have been most unfair in describing the attitude of Ulster.  I only wish that before printing such statements the writers would make themselves acquainted with the true facts. We welcome the fullest investigation.” 


“Are there signs of industrial improvement in Ulster?” I asked the Prime Minister. 

“On the whole the prospects arc exceedingly bright,” he replied. “Our linen trade has improved considerably and our shipbuilding yards, which were practically idle some time ago, are becoming active. 

“The policy of the Government of Northern Ireland has been to guarantee loans for the building of ships, and owners have availed themselves of this opportunity.  This, I would point out, is not a subsidy, as some people across the water have alleged, but merely a guarantee of loans. 

We have many orders for ships on hand.  We are delighted that the British Government has placed an order in Belfast for the building of one of their cruisers.  This has given great satisfaction to the people not only of Belfast but of Northern Ireland generally.” 


When we were discussing the industrial situation Lord Craigavon was anxious to stress one point emphatically, and that was that there are no Customs barriers and no tariffs between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.  This he emphasised because many businesses and carrying firms thought that goods sent to Northern Ireland were subject to Customs duties.  “That is not so,” he declared. “They are confusing us with the Irish Free State, where Customs duties and tariffs are imposed.” 

“What about your industrial workers?’ I asked the Prime Minister. 

“The workers here belong to the great Trade Unions which have their head. quarters in England.  Our labour market is open to English, Scotch, and Welsh, just as their market is open to Ulster-men.  Unemployment benefit, health insurance, and old-age pensions are on the same basis as in the United Kingdom.” 


“What is the present position of the Government, Lord Craigavon?” was my final question. 

“The Government is perfectly sound,” was his answer, “and that is shown by the high figure at which the stock of the Government stands in the Money Market.  All the members of the Cabinet were returned unopposed in the recent elections. After twelve years of unbroken tenure of office I found myself with my Cabinet intact, and I had a majority of two even before voting took place.  This is a record unprecedented in the annals of Parliamentary elections. 

“I was gratified beyond measure by this response.  Northern Ireland is again assured of five years of resolute and settled government.  As I have said before, Ulster, amidst all the international upheavals, stands unchanging, that part of Ireland that is for ever Britain.” 

These final words sum up perfectly not only the Prime Minister, but the Ulster in which he is the outstanding figure. 













Top of Page




Original Research, Content & Site Design by Nigel Linsan Colley. Copyright © 2001-17 All Rights Reserved Original document transcriptions by M.S. Colley.Click here for Legal Notices.  For all further details email:  Nigel Colley or Tel: (+44)  0796 303  8888