Europe

WWII Irish 'deserters' granted pardons

Alan Shatter
Image caption Defence Minister Alan Shatter announced the pardon for the soldiers

The Irish parliament has passed legislation granting a pardon to thousands of soldiers who left the armed forces to serve with the Allies during World War Two.

The Irish Republic remained neutral in the conflict between 1939 and 1945.

In order to fight, thousands of soldiers left the country and the Irish army to join the British forces.

The men were found guilty by military tribunals of going absent without leave and branded deserters.

After the war they faced discrimination, lost their pensions and were barred from holding jobs paid for by the state.

Last year, the Irish government apologised for the way they were treated.

The legislation to pardon them was passed on Tuesday and will be signed into law by the Irish president within days.

The bill also grants an amnesty and immunity from prosecution to the almost 5,000 Irish soldiers who fought alongside the allies.

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