‘It is desired to avoid all publicity and steps have been taken to stop any account of the incident getting into the press’ So read a Garda report into strange goings on in Carrick-on-Suir in July 1940. One month after the Nazi Conquest of France a swastika had been daubed on the house of two German men Franz Reichelt and Fridolin Schroeter living in the Co. Waterford town.
The incident was unusual to say the least. Reichelt and Schroeter got on well with their neighbours and had never come to police attention. With its clear political implications the graffiti sparked an investigation. Afterwards the local Gardai decided secrecy was best policy and the entire affair was hushed up. Files on the incident sent to Garda HQ in Dublin were marked ‘secret’ and the story never appeared in the press.
But what lay behind this strange event? Secret agents? Spies? Not quite. Instead it was the a petty local dispute blown out of all proportion. The swastica had been painted by a man police described as being of ‘blackguardly leanings and of questionable mental balance’. The culprit was Patrick Dooley a man in his early 50s. He had taken issue with the two Germans after they had not hired his daughter. Instead another local woman Peggy Donovan had been given the housekeeping job she had sought. In an act of vengeance he had painted the swastika on their house.
However Dooley’s act had occurred as the Irish government imposed strict around anything relating to World War II. Indeed they were so sensitive about the conflict that the war was euphemistically referred to as ‘the emergency’. In this case it seems the over zealous garda in Carrick on Suir paranoia were just slightly over the top…
Source: NAI DoJ 2011/25/330