Century of Endeavour

Political Reviews (post-millennium)

(c) Roy Johnston 2006

(comments to rjtechne@iol.ie)

Sean MacBride's Global Role

(submitted to the Irish Democrat, 31/10/2006)

An Irish Statesman and Revolutionary: the Nationalist and Internationalist Politics of Sean MacBride; Elizabeth Keane, Tauris Academic Studies (London & New York), 2006; ISBN 1 84511 125 7; £47.50HB.

Sean MacBride was a complex and elusive character, a biographer's challenge. Anthony Jordan's 1993 biography concentrated on his early IRA period and subsequent evolution into the Irish political scene, giving some coverage of his subsequent international career as an afterthought.

Catriona Lawlor's 2005 edited memoir, while being a useful source, is somewhat selective. The current book does justice to his later period, and makes a creditable attempt to analyse the factors governing his earlier political failure in Ireland, and how they influenced his transition to the international scene, where his achievements were significant and deserve to be celebrated. It is a pity the Lawlor publication did not arrive in time to get into the Keane sources, as she might have gained some additional insights from it.

Keane begins in the 1940s with the development of Clann na Poblachta, of which she suggests the policies were rooted in those of the European Christian Democrats, without MacBride admitting it. His first foray into foreign policy was the organisation of church-gate collections in 1948 to prevent a Communist landslide in Italy. MacBride's first acts on being elected to the Dail, and later when in Government, was to pay his respects to the Archbishop and place himself at his disposal. These letters are in the McQuaid archive and on Roebuck House rather than official notepaper.

Once in Government from 1948 MacBride in Foreign Affairs became somewhat decoupled from Clann policies, and he did not display effective Clann leadership, alienating many of his leading supporters. Keane argues that his attempts to internationalise the partition issue were mostly counter-productive, especially in the context of the External Relations Act repeal, and subsequent Ireland Act. India shortly afterwards became a Republic within the Commonwealth.

Referring to the partition of India, Keane suggests it was inevitable, glossing over the role of the British in actively supporting Jinnah and the Muslim League, and the arming both sides for the ensuing civil war. On the partition of Ireland she tends to defer to Cruise O'Brien and the 'two nation' concept, playing down the deliberate Tory-Orange armed conspiracy background. She does however criticise MacBride for projecting a somewhat catholic-nationalist irridentist image for the anti-partition movement, building up the 'Rome Rule' threat, though he did take up the plight of the Northern Catholics from a human rights angle, anticipating the 1960s developments.

She is also critical of MacBride's role in the US, and linking NATO with the anti-partition issue. Using CIA records she concludes that MacBride had grossly overestimated the importance of NATO, a global construct, in the context of the Partition issue, seen globally as minor and local. MacBride later came around to unconditional opposition to NATO, based on his subsequent experience.

The European dimension initally took the form of the Council of Europe, to which MacBride as Minister for Foreign Affairs send a delegation in 1948 (Senator James Douglas, Michael Tierney of UCD and Senator Eleanor Butler) which reported back to him positively. Irish participation followed, as did the European Court of Human Rights, which MacBride championed. There emerged also the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation, which evolved later into the EEC. Much of this early international experience however remained dominated unproductively by the Partition issue.

The latter part of MacBride's spell in government was dominated by Noel Browne and the 'Mother and Child Scheme' issue. Keane covers this in a chapter of some complexity, which exposes the mutual relationships between MacBride, Taoiseach Costello and Noel Browne in such a way as to give little credit to anyone. MacBride had lost touch with his Party, Browne underestimated the importance of key cabinet meetings, while the Taoiseach cultivated the Archbishop. Keane gives tentative support to Peadar Cowan's suggestion that MacBride 'set up' Browne because he felt he was being overtaken in popularity. The net result was a triumph for McQuaid and a disaster in the partition context, as it confirmed the 'Rome Rule' image.

MacBride's period in Foreign Affairs however gave him the standing and the contacts which he cultivated in his subsequent career. The Makarios case in the European Court was a good start, and he went on to found Amnesty International. He later served as Secretary of the International Committee of Jurists, and then as UN Commissioner for Namibia; he chaired the International Peace Bureau which was dedicated to non-violent conflict resolution, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974, and the in 1977 the Lenin Peace Prize for his Namibia work. The MacBride Principles were influential in the establishment of non-discrimation in employment by US firms investing in Northern Ireland. Controversial to the end, his enemies accused him of 'slippery political manoeuvrings', and working to please ghosts, including that of his formidable mother Maud Gonne.

Not a book for the general reader, at that price, but essential to any collection relating to the UN, Irish foreign affairs, the world peace movement and related matters.

Roy Johnston 31/10/2006.


Sean MacBride's Memoirs

The passages enclosed in [square brackets] were dropped from the version which was published in the Irish Democrat (circa May 2006), due to space constraints.

That Day's Struggle: a Memoir 1904 - 1951, by Sean MacBride; ed Caitriona Lalor,
Curragh Press, ISBN 1-85607-929-5, 24.99 euro; e-mail brian@currach.ie

We owe a debt of gratitude to Caitriona Lalor, who is Sean MacBride's literary executor, after having been from 1977 his secretary up to his death in 1988. I look forward to seeing the next volume, which will no doubt deal with his developing international role subsequent to 1951, in which context I came to know him directly. [In the period covered I had encountered him, viewed from below, during the flowering of the Clann in the context of the Inter-Party Government. I had been aware of some aspects of his earlier roles, through contact with George Gilmore, who was convinced that he was in line for the job of 'Quisling' Taoiseach had the Germans landed in 1941, as they might have done, given his leading role in the pre-war German-oriented IRA.]

According to his Memoir, he became 'caretaker' Chief of Staff in 1936, on the arrest of Moss Twomey. He presided over a movement in which a militarist element under Sean Russell was planning a war on England, and on the fringe of which a political left-republican element led by Peadar O'Donnell and George Gilmore were attempting to take up social issues. In this context the latter had been supportive of the 1934 'Outdoor Relief' agitations in Belfast, building bridges into Protestant working-class culture. They had succeeded in bringing a contingent from the Shankill Road to commemorate Wolfe Tone at Bodenstown. Fintan O'Toole on 28/02/06 in his Irish Times column mentions this episode, suggesting however that the Shankill contingent was the victim of Catholic-sectarian attacks from the IRA at Bodenstown, and that this was under MacBride's leadership.

[I had been aware of the 'Shankill at Bodenstown' episode in the context of the folk-memory of the Republican Congress, to which we in the student Left of the late 1940s looked for inspiration, but was not aware of any sectarian attack. Had this really happened, and been conveniently forgotten? If it did happen for real, and was not a case of 'creative reporting' by a hostile press, was MacBride Chief of Staff at the time? The dates require some stretching for Fintan O'Toole's version to be valid, and I hope this can eventually be cleared up by historians; there is alas nothing about it in the MacBride memoir, which suggests that in his 1936 leading role he was aspiring to take up the opportunities to 'go political' presented by the 1937 Constitution of de Valera.]

On the positive side, we get some insights into the details of what went on during the Treaty negotiations, with the delegation split between two locations, also on the role of Collins during the truce, when arms deals were attempted. He is critical of the Church for being in effect a British agent. He finds de Valera's non-participation in the Treaty talks incomprehensible, but does not hold him responsible for the Civil War. MacBride was in jail for the Civil War; he describes with relish an abortive escape attempt, involving a tunnel from Mountjoy. The aftermath of this involved prisoners being moved, and in this context he escaped, and spent some time on the run, during which he again became active in the IRA, at the level of arranging false passports for de Valera to visit Rome in 1924-5 and lobby the Vatican, along with Archbishop Mannix from Australia. During this episode de Valera developed his approach to founding Fianna Fail in 1926.

The death on hunger-strike of Sean McCaughey in May 1946 was the trigger for the founding of Clann na Poblachta, along with Con Lehane, Noel Hartnett and others. The steps leading to the 1948 Inter-Party Government are given; the hurdle of association with Fine Gael was dealt with by the selection of Costello as leader rather than the dreaded Mulcahy. MacBride stood over Browne for Health, and got his way; he felt however that Browne let him down by failing to attend Cabinet meetings. The issue of his relationship with Browne, and the role of Browne, gets a treatment which is somewhat subjective; there is no mention of any role for the Archbishop; he blames Browne for threatening to bring down the Government. It would be of interest to compare the Browne memoirs and the MacBride memoirs, and relate them to the contemporary records, and to the memoirs of others who observed the events.

This book is worth a read for the insights it gives into the complexities of the process of superposing a constructive political culture on people steeped in IRA militarism. It is however a long way from being a balanced historical analysis; one should not expect this of a memoir. I do look forward to the sequel, which I hope will do justice to the MacBride I knew via his UN work.

Roy Johnston 08/03/06


The Trouble with Origins

Books Ireland, circa February 2006

Northern Ireland: the Origin of the Troubles, Thomas Hennessey, Gill Macmillan, ISBN 0-7171-3382-6, £24.99/euro29.99

This book fails to address constructively the problem of what constitutes a nation. The author Thomas Hennessey takes as given the ethnic-nation model which is embedded in the British imperial culture, and is dismissive of the civic/economic model which tried to emerge in the 1790s under Enlightenment influence. The United Irishmen had a vision in which Protestant industry combined with Catholic commercial acumen would have been able to develop a modern economy, with food production in a land-reformed environment without parasitic aristocrats, in a Europe dominated by democratic republics. This the imperial-minded British saw as a threat, and they took steps to 'divide and rule', the Protestant Ascendancy principle being enhanced with the foundation of the Orange Order, and the Catholics emerging as a perceived threat to democracy thanks to the London-financed foundation of Maynooth College with the aid of emigre priests from France. Both these events took place in 1793.

This I would see as the 'origin of the troubles': the nipping in the bud of the inclusive Enlightenment democratic republican model. The decades after the Union provided an environment in which this cultural division thrived. Despite this, successive attempts to develop national movements of one kind or another all had conscious participation by progressive-minded Protestants.

Hennessy however dates his 'origin of the troubles' from O'Neill's attempts at reform. Partition he takes as a given. He has however done us a service by giving an account of the British and Northern Ireland Establishment's view of the developing situation; his sources are almost exclusively the State records and the mainstream media, mostly the Belfast Telegraph. Once a reader accepts this as the perspective, it is a useful book. There are also insights from the Dublin State papers, showing how the Republic reacted to the developing situation, for which they were quite unprepared. What is lacking however is any worms-eye view, from those who were attempting to influence the situation from below, though there is a nod in this direction towards the end, with some post-1969 comments from Goulding, O Bradaigh and others.

Hennessey sets the scene in terms of Protestant fundamentalism and the perceived Catholic threat, in which context the Lemass-O'Neill meeting was seen as Lundyism, triggering the rise of Paisley. O'Neill's softening of the line fueled the development of secret hard-line militant groups under Paisley influence. The 1966 Easter Rising commemorations were seen as an external threat. Attacks on British-related locations in the Republic were seen in the North as evidence of this threat; in fact they were the work of agents-provocateurs or of head-cases under their influence.

Hennessey treats the second-class citizenship of Northern Catholics as subjective, basing his researches almost totally on the Belfast Telegraph. He links this with a section on the IRA, based on Special Branch data from the Irish national archive: the September 1966 Army Council documentation found on Sean Garland. This, while indicating the extent to which the IRA was attempting to politicise itself under the influence of Goulding supported by the present writer, included also however a draft 'military plan' which had originated with Mac Stiofain. This bore no relation to the political plan; it contained evidence of Mac Stiofain's EOKA-influenced background and it certainly was not the policy of the IRA leadership as it was then, while approximating to what emerged later under the Provisionals. This juxtaposition however helped fuel the illusion of military threat during 1966, which the Special Branch in the North was then promoting.

The inclusion of this section on the 1966 IRA as a sub-section of a chapter on the Catholics in the North is irrelevant and misleading. A serious chapter on the attempted 1960s IRA politicisation process would have made more sense, and the present writer has contributed source material for such a chapter in his book Century of Endeavour (Academica/Maunsel 2003, Tyndall/Lilliput 2006). I could have helped Hennessey had he asked.

When we first meet the Republican Clubs and the NICRA, both however are dismissed as 'IRA fronts'. No credit is given for our then attempt to introduce republican activists to the procedures of civil politics, nor to the attempt to link the civil rights campaign with the interests of democratic organisations of Protestant working people; this is dismissed as fantasy. There is a coy reference on p111 to the 1914 civil war threat as a factor influencing politicians in Britain against taking any interest in Ireland; he could have explored this further and given us a run-down on the forces behind the 1914 Larne gun-running, as my father tried to do in his 1913 book 'Civil War in Ulster' (re-published by UCD Press, 1999). This is a more credible recent candidate for the 'origin of the troubles', if 1793 is seen as too deep.

He shows how the Wilson government attempted to persuade Stormont to implement local government reform, and how Stormont resisted, how the role of the B-Specials contributed to worsening the situation, and how the invented threat of IRA intervention was used by Stormont to feed British contingency plans for military intervention. The granting of police protection to the Peoples Democracy march that led to Burntollet was a trap which pushed the civil rights movement into the Catholic ghettoes; the march succeeded in polarising all the communities it passed through.

Shortly before August 1969 the Young Unionists called for full use of the B-Specials as an alternative to 'weak and indecisive government'. The Silent Valley explosion, which left Belfast without water; was done by the UVF and blamed on the IRA, the objective being to overthrow O'Neill, who was replaced by his cousin Chichester-Clarke. B-Specials were used to 'protect' Catholic houses in Protestant areas, and to 'dilute' of the RUC; there was much concern as to how military intervention might be handled. I must say that from this chapter I gain a distinct impression that somewhere in the undergrowth there did indeed exist a 'committee' planning the August 69 pogrom, with a view to provoking re-invention of the IRA, being the enemy they needed to cement Protestant unity under the Unionist banner.

The August 69 events are covered as usual from official records and mainstream press, mainly the Telegraph. The sequence of events is correct; the NICRA in Belfast did attempt, under Gogarty's leadership, to organise a demonstration in support of McCann and the Derry activists, and this fuelled a Protestant backlash. This however was primarily PD and ultra-left influence; the republican clubs get no mention; there are however references to a 'concerted IRA insurrection' in the Falls area, which is subsequently exposed for the nonsense it was by the people's complaints that there was no IRA to defend them. Yet the RUC was so convinced by its false intelligence that they deployed armoured vehicles along the border. Hennessey however interprets the events as a fortuitous accumulation of acts based on false community perceptions.

The subsequent Cameron Report had impact on the development of hard-core Protestant opposition; the analogy with the role of the 'poor whites' in the US post-Confederate States is noted. Hennessey then goes in some depth into how the early Provisionals received active encouragement, including finance, from the Irish Government, key actors being Colonel Hefferon and Captain Kelly from the Army, and Haughey, Blaney and Boland in Government. The Fianna Fail government felt so threatened by the emergence of a political republican Left in the Dublin context that they were prepared to wreck it by funding the Provisionals.

Hennessey's analysis implicitly supports the idea that influential elements in both British and Irish Establishments, for different strategic reasons, collude systematically in acting to keep the traditional IRA in existence, as a means of preventing the emergence of an effective political Left, fit to unite working people irrespective of religion. Hennessey, from his ethnic-nation perspective, dismisses this as fantasy, but the evidence he presents suggests some trails to follow which lead in this direction. The full story has yet to be told.

Hennessey concludes with what he calls an 'ideological black hole': the question of the existence of an Irish nation. I would tend to agree with this. There are two aborted pseudo-nations: a 'Catholic' one and a 'Protestant' one. The key act in the abortion process was Partition, which was fuelled in 1914 by Tory gun-runners, in the context of what amounted to an anti-Liberal coup-d'Etat. British policy, pursued relentlessly since the 1790s, has been to prevent a unified inclusive Irish nation from emerging. It has been largely successful, reinforced in the context of the 'troubles' by disastrous decisions of people without political experience, like the PD's march in January provoking unnecessarily a Protestant backlash, and by the decision of the Provisional Army Council in 1970 to go to war against the British State, which under left-Labour pressure was in the process of encouraging the Stormont Government to introduce a range of reforms which would have begun to make an inclusive republican political campaign feasible.

Overall, this is an important book, which manages to come to some positive conclusions, despite its flawed philosophical perspective and almost total dependence on Establishment and mainstream media sources. It will be an important source-book for future critical analysis.


The Irish Ordnance Survey

Irish Democrat, circa March 2005

The Irish Ordnance Survey: history, culture and memory by Gillian M Doherty, Four Courts Press 2004; ISBN 1-85182-861-3, £40, 45 euros hbk.

MANY OF us have been aware of the importance of the Ordnance Survey (initiated 1824) as a pioneering scientific enterprise, and training ground for many who subsequently became famous in the sciences (Tyndall being perhaps typical in this context). Few however are aware of the role of the Survey in social and historical scholarship, though hints of this emerge in works such as Brian Friel's Translations.

The Survey engineers were accompanied by a group of roving scholars: historians, topographers, linguists, genealogists, who recorded what came to be known as the Memoirs. Only one of these sets of local memoirs, the one relating to the parish of Templemore in Derry, was ever published . This was widely welcomed, and created something of a political stir, to the extent that while the collection of the memoirs continued, their subsequent publication was suppressed. They remain however in the National Archive, and this book is an overview of the material, the tip of the iceberg.

Colonel Thomas Colby, the overall Director of the British Ordnance Survey, appointed Captain Thomas Larcom the Director of the Survey in Ireland, with a view to providing "...a foundation for statistical, antiquarian and geological surveys..." .

Larcom produced enlightened and comprehensive guidelines, his Heads of Inquiry being basically a manual for field workers. Among the latter were people with knowledge of Irish who were able to contribute to the understanding of the place names, one being John O'Donovan. George Petrie later became associated, producing papers for the Royal Irish Academy based on the memoirs which were emerging.

The topographical and genealogical work had to be defended against allegations of 'Popery and Monkery' from the Orange lobby, and Irish MPs were lobbied, with the aid of 'improving landlords' such as Adare and the TCD librarian Henthorn Todd, both of whom were associated with the movement to educate the landed gentry in the Irish language, the better to understand their tenants.

Thus the Survey project was seen by the emergent liberal intelligentsia as part of the Enlightenment movement, a step in the direction of the future good government of Ireland, based on an objective assessment of the nation's physical, human and cultural resources. It was however seen by the many of the ascendancy as a threat, whence he suppression of the publication of the Memoirs, many of which tended to focus on the local perceptions of the dispossessions of the 1640s and 1690s. Most of the book expands on this aspect.

The topographical work was centred in George Petrie's house in Dublin ('Teepetrie'), where he used to meet with John O'Donovan and an extended group which included James Clarence Mangan the poet as well as Eugene O'Curry, Patrick O'Keefe, Thomas O'Conor and others. They grappled as best they could with variations in place-name pronunciations from native and settler sources. They perceived themselves as gatherers of the raw material for 'scientific history' in the Enlightenment tradition, as pioneered by Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886), and taken on board by Larcom and Petrie.

In this context many manuscript records were discovered, in the possession of descendants of dispossessed aristocracy; these have usually ended up in the Academy, forming the core of its collection: "...O'Donovan told Larcom how ancient manuscripts that once belonged to Ireland's literate elite were now damaged by damp and dust and rotted in the sooty cabins of their wretched descendants...".

Folklore was collected and recorded; archaeological relics were discovered, laying the foundation for modern archaeology; myths were demolished (like for example Vallencey and his association of round towers with fire-worship and oriental influences). The boundaries of ancient tuatha were established, from local lore. The high civilised status of early mediaeval Ireland, prior to the Viking invasions, was firmly established. Echoes of this were taken up in the Nation by Thomas Davis.

Much evidence emerges about the dynamics of language shift and its motivations in pre-famine times, as expressed in family and place names, in various socio-economic contexts. I quote:

"..Memoir research on Irish language, literature and folklore was part of a large scholarly effort to recreate Irish-language culture in English, to make it available to English speakers, Anglo-Irish gentry in particular, and to promote it as the basis of a unified, non-sectarian, non-political Irish identity..'. Petrie, supported by other prominent Protestant intellectuals, '..sought to foster a national identity that was Irish, Protestant and Unionist...'.

Lurking in the background however are the 'underground gentry' as documented by Kevin Whelan in his study of the dispossessed Catholic aristocracy, whose leading role remains embedded in local popular memory. The final chapter explores this in some depth, giving some insights into the bitterness of the current northern situation, where focused on land ownership.

Altogether this is an important pioneering work, which will be a trigger for much more research into the complex historical roots of Irish nationality.


The Land for the People

Irish Democrat circa February 2005

The Land for the People: the land question in independent Ireland, by Terence Dooley, UCD Press, ISBN 1-904558-15-1, 25 euros, £18.95 pbk

THIS BOOK is important in the context of the need to understand the current land question in Ireland, and its relationship with the historical roots of the Fine Gael and Fianna Fail parties.

Basically it traces the work of the Land Commission from its foundation in 1881 up to the foundation of the State in 1923, and then follows its subsequent transformation into a tool for the consolidation of local political mafias, in a complex and convoluted process.

It begins to address the question of who the 'people' were who got the land, and how they relate to the wider concept of the 'Nation', taking a hard critical look at the classic Fianna Fail policy of attempting to maximise the number of viable 'family farms', in the light of both contemporary and retrospective experience.

It is difficult to do justice to the complexity of the issues in a short review; the best I can do is highlight a few focal points in the argument, like the perceived feeling in the Dail that they were actually reversing Cromwell's policy by relieving 'congestion' in the west by giving people the chance to move to land in the east taken from the despised 'graziers'.

Some movement from the west did take place, and many people got land, as a consequence of the division of the landed estates. But each episode was bedevilled by conflicting interests between locals and migrants, and the resulting patchwork of subsistence holdings was a long way from being a network of viable communities. The people who got the land were in fact a relatively small minority group within the nation, and mostly did not have the capital or the knowhow to work it effectively.

It would have made much more sense if the land of Ireland had in fact been vested in the people of Ireland via the state, as Michael Davitt advocated, and then leased out to those who knew how to work it, preferably in co-operative groups in a position to take advantage of the synergies possible in large-scale operations.

Economic analysis done in the 1930s, by my father Joe Johnston and others, demonstrated that large-scale labour-employing commercial estates were about twice as productive per man and per acre than were the typical sub-divided Land Commission holdings. The analogy in industrial terms is to carry out an industrial reform in which every worker gets his own mini-workshop. No-one in his right mind would advocate this. Production is essentially a social process. Yet it was seriously thought by the early agrarian reformers that the alternative to the landlord-owned estate was subsistence peasant farming, with the consequence that during the war we were on the verge of starvation.

Dooley analyses how the Land Commission related to successive governments, and how the local Fianna Fail and Fine Gael mafias influenced land division policies, in such a way as to copper-fasten their local political support. Land in fact was used to feed a process of political corruption, and the people who got to own the land as a result are now in a position to perpetuate the process of political corruption, as a result of the current practice of allowing the added value on re-zoning to accrue to the land-owner, instead of to the local authority representing the community. Whence the universality of the culture of the 'brown envelope' in local politics.

The differing attitudes of FF and FG to 'undoing Cromwell's work' is illustrated by the fact that during the first decade, large farms in the west were moved east, and their land given to locals, while after 1932 local smallholders were moved in colonies.

The role of the Land Commission in fact came to an end after 1972, with the entry to the EEC; the price of land rocketed, and it became politically impossible for the State to buy it at the market price for a perceived social resettlement process, of which the economic value was increasingly being seen as questionable.

There is only one passing reference to Horace Plunkett and likewise one, unrelated, to the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society; in neither context is there any reference to the existence of the co-operative movement. The way the land reform went has resulted in the vision shared by Plunkett and George Russell, and also by James Connolly in his Reconquest (see the Ralahine chapter), being totally forgotten, to the extent that an important book like this can, in effect, write the alternative co-operative vision out of Irish history.

Historians of the co-operative movement (Bolger and others) have done their stuff, but the problem of how to integrate an individual family farm culture willingly into a synergetic bottom-up reconstruction of a productive large-scale commercial managed estate remains with us. The 'land ownership' culture imposed by the Land Acts remains with us, to blight our food production system.

This book however will help us to understand how the rural political mafias work, and in that context it is welcome and should be read.


Violence and Negotiation

Irish Democrat circa January 2005

Bric, Maurice J and Coakley, John; From Political Violence to Negotiated Settlement; UCD Press, 2004; ISBN 1-900621-84-3; 25 euro, stg£18.85.

This book has contributions mostly from academics in TCD, UCD, UCC, QUB and UU; it also has a paper from John de Chastelain, an active participant in the process. It has a foreword by the Taoiseach, in which he compliments UCD and its Institute of British-Irish Studies for running the conference on which the book is based. The introduction by the co-authors/editors gives an overview of the historical background, touching on the issue of the nature of the British 'constitution' and its built-in Protestant hegemony. This opens up the issue of what is the nature of a 'constitutional' party, as seen from the European democratic republican perspective. They usefully remind us of the origins of 20th century militarism in Ireland: the 1912-14 period of Tory-led armed conspiracy.

Maurice Bric (UCD) continues with a historical overview of public protest movements from 1760 to 1900, homing in on Parnell, Davitt and the IRB and their relationship with Protestant opinion, the latter tending to be associated with the national cultural revival movement. In his conclusion he draws attention the weakness of British historiography, in the extent to which it marginalises the role of Ulster in their paradigm. This aspect is developed by Ronan Fanning (UCD) who treats the 1912-14 Home Rule crisis, reminding us firmly in his introduction that it was the Tories who introduced the gun to Irish politics in the 20th century. The sectarian nature of the British State was revealed in the attitude of the king and cabinet to the 1908 Eucharistic Congress, held in London, a ritual procession of cardinals being, in effect, banned. The way the emergent partition concept was handled indicated the existence in ruling circles of a anti-catholic mind-set rooted in the origins of the English nation centuries previously. It seems that there was even an undercurrent of welcome for the 1914 European war as a means of avoiding the spectre of 'civil war in Ulster'. He fails however to pick up any feel for the Protestant liberal support for all-Ireland Home Rule, which did exist, and was exemplified by my father Joe Johnston's 1913 book (re-published by UCD Press in1999), which exposing that very threat. This suggests the continued existence of catholic-nationalist blinkers among some UCD historians.

The period 1913-1923 is covered by Michael Laffan (UCD), under the title 'triumph and containment of militarism'. We are reminded of the extent of the broad-based support for Home Rule, underlining the failure of British constitutional democracy under the Union to accommodate Irish interests: in 1913-15 eleven out of twelve candidates in Irish by-elections were returned unopposed. The emergence of a military dimension however was inevitable, with the combination of the Larne and Howth gun-runnings, and the differential attitudes of the British authorities to these events. Some problems underlying the treaty and the civil war are stated; these were rooted in aspects of militarist elitism, but remain unresolved.

Paul Bew (QUB) in his chapter on 'Moderate Nationalism, 1918-23' suggests starting-points for several further inquiries into the respective roles of Stephen Gwynn (Redmondite MP for Galway 1906-18), Father Michael O'Flanagan, Sergeant Sullivan, Sir John Anderson and the 'Anderson group' in the Castle, and Erskine Childers. The latter, it seems, when on the run in 1921, was on occasion sheltered by Anderson. The implications of this are staggering and need to be teased out. Was moderate nationalism unpartitioned seen by the British as a greater threat than militant nationalism undermined by partition and civil war? Why was Childers, who was acting for Lloyd George in 1917 at the time of the Convention, in 1921 supportive of de Valera and the processes leading to the civil war? I can see echoes of this in the origins of the current 'troubles': why did they leave Sean Mac Stiofain at large in 1969, to undermine the politicisation of the republican clubs in the civil rights context, and arrest Malachi McGurran the leading republican politiciser? These are difficult questions, but in the end historians must face them. Pardon my digression, but Bew is to be thanked for uncovering an interesting Childers-related nugget.

Eunan O'Halpin (TCD) teases out the interactions between the republican movement in its various phases with the geo-political scene as it evolved after world war 1, and later in WW2 and the subsequent cold war. We have links with Bolshevism and Nazism successively, but neither of these global forces had much feel for Irish political realities, and post WW2 evolution was internal and without significant influence by outside forces. British intelligence-gathering was so obsessed with the cold war that they ignored the trouble brewing in their own back yard.

Alvin Jackson (QUB) traces the development among the Unionist establishment of a cult of the period 1912-14 as a 'foundation myth', with Paisley playing Carson to Molyneaux's Craig. He omits to remind us that the April 1914 Larne guns came from Germany, though he does characterise the episode correctly as a 'coup'. While Carson later helped his biographers to generate his own mythology, it was Craig who master-minded the political genealogy going back to William III and the earlier Scottish Covenanters. He mentions in passing the Howth gun-running, suggesting it was 'contemporaneous'; it was of course subsequent; this error is in conflict with a key objective of this book, which is to highlight the role of the Tory-Orange coup as the trigger for militarism in the 20th century. He usefull reminds us of the wealth of resources deployed in support of the coup: cutting-edge Edwardian technology like motor transport and film, indicating access to serious upper-crust imperial resources.

Joseph Ruane (UCC) develops a somewhat blinkered catholic-nationalist view of evolving republican strategy. His view of 1798 totally ignores the role of Protestant leadership and its Enlightenment roots. He goes on to interpret the 1960s uniquely in terms of Catholic mobilisation, and August 1969 as basically communal in nature, despite the evidence if its being initiated by the forces of the State. The chapter is somewhat redeemed by his analysis of the process of recognition of the process as a 'war' rather than 'terrorism', and the development of the peace process.

Paul Dixon (UU Jordanstown) contributes an interesting analysis the the tactics of contemporary Unionism in support of the retention of their hegemony. He reminds us that Northern Ireland is not accepted in Britain as part of an emergent 'British nation' as are Scotland and Wales, and that an all-Ireland national identity is widely accepted within Ireland. He analyses critically Unionist insecurity and loyalist backlash processes. I feel I should add as a comment that I have encountered Unionists who were republican in the British context, who traced their ancestry to 1798 and the then objective of a federation of republics in Britain and Ireland. This is indeed a political domain to be explored, in the context of the increasing irrelevance of the English monarchy.

John de Chastelain is the only non-academic contributor to the publication, providing a welcome insight into the realities of the current situation. One can wryly remark that the slowness of the peace process, as seen from his perspective, has given him plenty of time to chronicle its progress. His report is clear and objective; he reminds us that his key role is in the avoidance of the perception of defeat or surrender in the minds of the protagonists, and issue with which Ian Paisley at the time of writing has difficulty in coming to terms. This is a useful chronology of the events up to the time of writing, July 2003.

John Coakley (UCD) in a final chapter overviews the book as a whole, in an assessment of the legacy of political violence, in which he adumbrates a comparative approach, both in European and in post-colonial contexts. In Ireland he stresses the relatively non-violent nature of the 19thcentury as compared to the 20th, giving a context for Pearse's eccentric approbation of the Orangeman with the rifle. The overall mortality 1969-2002 was 3471, 2055 being due to republicans, 1028 to loyalists and 368 to security forces. In the European context the comparable figures for the Basques and for Cyprus are respectively 500 and some figure in the range 1600-6000. The figure fromBosnia is 200,000 and Chechnia 72,000. The figure for Iraq (among the Kurds) is 180,000-200,000, with a further 5,000-9,000 in Turkey. Numbers in Africa and Asia are much greater. He attempts to map a path away from the culture of violence, but I found this disappointing, as nowhere does he advance the idea of people uniting and working together in the common interest irrespective of religious or ethnic background, this being the classical founding concept of Irish republicanism, rooted in the Enlightenment. This approach we tried to re-develop in the 1960s, via the civil rights movement, which picked up significant Protestant support via the trade union movement, especially on the issue of the property franchise.

Introducing the gun served to keep the people divided on ethnic and religious lines, and to prevent the development of genuine common-interest politics, based on realisable objectives. This aspect needs more research attention than it is getting from the current academic community, who seem largely to have accepted as given the 'divide and rule' categories imposed by imperial interests. At both ends of the century, the gun was introduced from the Orange side, in order to retain a religious/ethnic hegemony. Those who responded with the gun, in the perceived interests of Irish nationhood, did exactly what the imperial strategists wanted, and helped to prevent the emergence of a united Irish nation with a positive role for those of Protestant culture. There are many more issues here to be teased out, and hopefully this book, when read critically, will be a stimulus.


Essays in honour of Brian Farrell

Irish Democrat circa October 2004

Dissecting Irish Politics: Essays in Honour of Brian Farrell, Tom Garvin, Maurice Manning, Richard Sinnott (eds), UCD Press, ISBN 1-904559-12-7, 272pp, 40 euro, £30, hbk

THIS BOOK starts with an assessment of Brian Farrell as a political scientist, teacher and broadcaster by Maurice Manning, who identifies his 1971 Chairman or Chief book analysing the role of the taoiseach as his most important work.

Tom Garvin analyses the roots of Irish politics in the Civil War. Garrett Fitzgerald gives a critical assessment of Chairman or Chief. Michael Mills assesses his role as the first Ombudsman.

Eleven other authors have contributions on the Boundary Commission, De Valera and democracy, civil-military relations, taxation, European governance, the prehistory of the Irish party system, referendum funding, electioneering practice, parliamentary lobbies, the print media and broadcasting.

This is a useful source-book for political activists, with competent indexing.

We are reminded in the Manning's introduction of Farrell's status as the Richard Dimbleby of Irish TV, and interviewer who was '..terrier-like, especially when faced with prevarication, evasion or spin.'. His academic work included a biography of Lemass and The Creation of the Dail, the latter being based on a series of Thomas Davis lectures. Tom Garvin (politics, UCD) in his background to the Civil War goes into the historical roots of the Irish political elite in the Fenians and the IRB. He reminds us that the Ulster loyalists, who introduced the gun to Irish politcs early in the last century, were aided in 1914 by the imperial German government. He suggests that Collins' support for the Treaty was influence by his understanding of, and linking for, the English leadership with whom he was negotiating, anexperience which de Valera did not share.

He notes aspects of the Civil War, such as the intransigence of the women, the family divisions, the destruction of the prior solidarity, the consequential descent into parish- pump politics married to the post-British state apparatus, and the inability of the successor generation to have any insight into the north when it erupted.

Ronan Keane, currently 26-county chief justice, gives some insight into how Tim Healy as governor-general was influential in getting the Free State to accept the status quo after the collapse of the Boundary Commission. He mentions marginally some interesting nuggets, like a plot detected by Countess Markievicz to marry off Collins to the King's daughter Pricess Mary, and install him as Viceroy. He evaluates this as a 'flight of fancy', presumably in a scene dominated by rumour.

Peter Mair (comparative politics, Leiden, Netherlands) does an interesting 'posthumous rehabilitation' job on de Valera, of which Desmond Greaves would perhaps have approved: a uniquely long career by European statesman standards, extending from the Great War to the Vietnam War, including the 1932 peaceful transition of government, his positive role in the League of Nations, and his 1937 Constitution which could easily have become a licence for dictatorship.

We are reminded of the slim chance of emergent States between the wars surviving as democracies, in a traumatised Europe. Mair enumerates the positive features of the 1937 consitution, which far outweigh its Catholic majoritarian flavour, particularly the role of the President and the Supreme Court. We need more comparative European studies, and indeed comparative post-colonial studies, as an antidote to Irish insularity.

Theo Farrell (Essex, international relations), analysing the culture of the Irish army, comes up with a model which is internally inconsistent, with traditional military and guerrilla traditions in conflict, a situation which he describes as suicidal.

Garrett Fitzgerald (currently chancellor of NUI) emerges as chairman rather than chief; the latter role is more that of Haughey. He has positive things to say about ministerial advisors from outside the civil service, and is critical of the patronage process, especially as regards membership of state boards.

Niamh Hardiman (UCD, politics) has critical things to say about how taxation adapts to changing economic environments, homing in on the 'interia' problem and on the evasion schemes which thrived under the Haughey regime.

Michael Mills (first Ombudsman; previously Irish Press) successfully defended his office against savage staff cuts in 1987, and went on to set up a viable and significant service with regional contact-points, which the civil service has had to respect, initial resistance having been overcome.

Brigid Laffan (UCD, European politics) gives some insight into the complexities of European politics: '...nested games within each member-state and connected games in Brussels..'. All member-states need 'Brusssels insiders'. The growing importance of the European parliament remains unperceived within the Irish system. She expands at length into the Nice referendum re-run and the reversal of the outcome, and its significance.

John Coakley (politics, UCD) goes back to the 19th century for the roots of Irish party political culture, seen as pioneering in European terms.

He goes in detail into the religious dimension. The Catholic-Liberal link was stronger than the Protestant-Tory one; in the undergrowth of the Protestant community lurked the embryonic Protestant support for Home Rule which my father Joe Johnston attempted to mobilise with his 1913 Civil War in Ulster, which was produced in time for the Ballymoney Liberal Protestant Home Rule rally in November.

The introduction of the gun by the Tories at Larne in April 1914 strangled this process, reinforced the sectarian divisions, and prevented the emergence of Labour and socialism as a mainstream political force, as it had done on the contiinent. The divergence of Ireland from the European norm is of course related to the colonial to post-colonial transition process, and Coakley manages to avoid this issue.

Richard Sinnott (UCD, politics) explores the implications of the McKenna Judgment regarding funding of referendum campaigns, expanding on the anomalies presented when there is virtual unanimity on the need for change at Dáil level, and an organisational vacuum as regards 'no' funding. He promotes an equitable system involving Dáil proportionality.

David M Farrell (Manchester, European politics; editor of Party Politics) gives a historical survey of the evolution of party practice, as between constituency and national levels, uptake of market research results, activism on the doorstep etc.

Stephen Collins (political editor, Sunday Tribune) credits John Healy in the Irish Times and 7 Days in RTE with transforming the role of the media in politics, and goes on to credit Frank Dunlop in 1982 with telling the assembled correspondents that he could no longer guarantee the truth of the information he gave them. The concept of the 'prebuttal' emerges (getting your retaliation in first). He notes the decline in significance of Dáil coverage and the rise of 'spin'.

Jean Blondel (Essex, government) attempts an analysis of the relationship between raw 'facts' and the implications of their background, their relative importance, the need for interpretation. This is a philosophical, abstracted contribution, at the European level.

Finally Peter Feeney (RTE public affairs) gives a historical overview of broadcasting, the political interference problem, and the impact of the Northern Ireland crisis, especially the role of Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act. He goes into the rise of local radio stations and their political impact, which was significant; they were used by politicians though initially they were illegal.

Overall we have what amounts to an interesting an important festschrift, in honour of a significan contributor to Irish public affairs.


Ulster and Scotland

Irish Democrat circa December 2004

Ulster and Scotland 1600-2000: history, language and identity, William Kelly and John R Young (eds), Four Courts Press, 55 euro hbk, ISBN 1-85182-808-7.

THIS BOOK will be of interest to people wishing to enhance their understanding of the Ulster Protestant cultural background, especially as regards the actual and perceived linkages with Scotland.

It treats the historical backgound as regards movements of peoples in both directions across the North Channel, links between Derry and Glasgow, Scottish links of Ulster Unionsis. It goes in some depth into the emigration patterns, covering the emigrations to America, New Zealand and Scandinavia, the latter being of importance during the 30-years war period. The New Zealand experience is interesting, in that unlike the Scottish, who tended to preserve their identity, the Ulster emigrants abandoned the Ulster identity and developed a British imperial one, but with a democratic, anti-aristocratic ethos, presaging an emergent New Zealand national flavour.

The final section on language and literature treats the relative roles of Irish, Gaelic, Scots and English as they evolved over the centuries. James VI/I consciously tried to integrate Scots with English, but the former survived in the undergrowth, reaching its peak with Burns, but scarcely survived the subsequent Burns cult dominated by the anglicising bourgeoisie, until perhaps rescued by Mac Diarmuid, though its current status is open to question. Scots and English are as close as Danish and Norwegian, or Spanish and Portugese, so that Scots is perhaps validly on the Scottish political agenda, in a role supplementary to Gaelic.

John R Young (University of Strathclyde) goes in some depth into the 17th century background and the perceived identity of the first wave of planters, who were mostly Scots-speaking radical Presbyterians, in dispute with the established Church, falling foul of Charles I and Wentworth in 1639 with the Covenanters, in opposition to the 'Black Oath'.

Young is silent on the question of how Scottish and Ulster politics related to those of the emergent English republic; there remains work to be done here. There were problems in Scotland post Restoration: "...for the ...Stuart administrations, a London-Edinburgh- Dublin axis... attempted to monitor the activities of rebels and dissenters..".

In his treatment of the Williamite war we get some feel for the European scope of that episode, but perhaps not enough. Post-war migration from Scotland to Ireland was motivated by famine in Scotland. He goes in depth into the extreme variability of the perceived identity of the Ulster Scots, in contemporary documentation: "distressed Irishes..Scots-Irish... British in Ireland... British Protestants... French Hugenots and Irish Protestants... the Scottish Nation in the north of Ireland...".

Graham Walker (Queens) gives some insight into the Scottish dimension of unionism, which was primarily motivated by a perceived need to disrupt the unitary vision of emergent Irish nationality. They countered the first Home Rule Bill by resurrecting the Scottish link in numerous pubications, which fuelled the subsequent anti-Home Rule Covenant.

There is however no mention of the Larne gun-running, which introduced the gun into Irish politics and subverted the constitutional Liberal Home Rule process, in what, in effect, constituted a Tory-instigated coup d'etat.

Unionist historians tend conveniently to forget this; I took this up with R B McDowell recently, in the context of my comments on his book on the 1917 Convention, in the background to which he mentions the subsequent Howth gun-running but conveniently passes over the Larne. He chuckled and said that the guns from Larne went to the right people.

In other words, Unionist historiography is dominated by conscious acceptance of the role of the Larne gun-running as a valid Tory imperial blow against Home Rule, seen as the first step in the dismantling of the Empire.

Mairtin O Cathain (University of Ulster Inst. of Scots Studies), in his treatment of the Derry-Glasgow link, picks up some Protestant republican and labour threads, and support for Home Rule and the Land League. Glasgow gang sectarianism existed as an a-political undercurrent. John Hume's grandfather was a Presbyterian stone-mason. On the whole an episodic and inconclusive contribution.

Jock Philips, a New Zaland historian and encyclopedia editor, contributes a comparative study of the Scottish and Irish immigrants to Nw Zealand; they make up an important part of the population. He finds that the Scottish more conservative of their identity, being united by a common Presbyterianism, while the Irish identity was split between the three main religions.

The Catholic group preserved its identity and became influential in the Labour movement, but the others were split between the Protestant denominations, and tended to blend off into an English-oriented background culture, in which however they tended to identify with an emergent New Zealand identity, better than Britain because "... more democratic, less elitist and free from the pretensions of upper-class toffs..".

Patrick Fitzgerald (Irish Migration Studies, Queen's University Belfast) treats the 1690s migration from Scotland to Ireland and to America; this turns out to have been primarily famine-driven.

Steve Murdoch (University of St Andrews) goes into the influence of the 30 years war and the consequent development of Scottish colonies in Scandinavia and the Baltic.

There was much Scottish participation in the Protestant armies of northern Europe against the Hapsburgs. The Baltic colonies were trade-driven in part, but contained also an element of Calvinist utopianism. There were marriage links, between Scottish colonial families of the diaspora, connecting Ireland with Scandinavia. Later interactions seem to have been divided between Williamite and Jacobite loyalties.

Kerby A Miller explores the 'Scotch-Irish' tradition in New England. While, initially, the motivation was harassment by the established Church in Ireland (rather than by the Catholic dispossessed); subsequently the French Catholics in Quebec were seen as the threat.

Towards the end of the 18th century they tended to accept an Irish identity, in response to the inclusive Enlightenment republican politics of the time, a key philosopher being Francis Hutchinson, the 'father of Scottish Enlightenment'. The differentiation into 'Scotch-Irish' identity came later as they bourgeoisified and needed to distinguish themselves from the 1840s Famine immigration wave.

Michael Montgomery (University of South Carolina) traces the historical evolution of the Scots language, which replaced Latin as the language of government in the 15th century but had lapsed from the written record by about 1700, though it persisted as the vernacular, in which context it staged a revival with Burns and the 'Rhyming Weavers' in the period 1780 to 1860.

A prose revival in the local press began from the 1850s, and is currently showing signs of expansion at the literary level. He gives a European perspective via the 'lesser-used languages' network, where it has recognised status, but is prepared to concede its image problem and dubious status.

Richard Findaly (University of Strathclyde) goes into the question of Scots in greater depth in the inter-war period, analysing the role of MacDiarmid, who led the revival after switching his support from Gaelic. There was an awareness of the role of language in Norway, whose language differs from Danish by about as much as Scots does from English. He is very critical of the Burns cult, supporting MacDiarmid; "sham bards for a sham nation... the occasion for a sermon or an excuse for a dram..".

The issues remain unresolved, with the 'nationalism vs socialism' dichotomy lurking in the wings, a phenomenon not unknown in Ireland.

David Horsburgh (Arts and Humanities Research Board Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies) explores the political identity of the Scots- speaking community in Scotland and Ulster from 1545 to 1760. He suggests many further areas of research, particularly in the area of how Scots managed to maintain its differentiation from English in spite of the factors generating conformity. The Scots-speakers were undoubtedly a distinct entity in a struggle usually seen as anglo-saxon vs celt.

Finally Alan Titley (St Patrick's College Drumcondra) compares and contrasts the rural autobiographical narratives available in Irish and Gaelic He concludes that the Scottish Kirk was much more destructive of the native culture than was the Catholic Church in Ireland. Popular culture in Ireland accepted as positive the national project, while in Scotland it tended to support the British imperial project uncritically.

We are left with a sense of unfinished business, and a sense that Titley needs a rejoinder from Scotland, and some critical voices from Ireland, perhaps to look into the role of English-speaking priests in the Gaeltacht.

It is good that the culural dimension of Ulster Protestantism is receiving some scholarly attention. It deserves more than to be identified with the Orange Order, triumphalist marching and related fascist-like pursuits.


Expanding our understanding of Irish landlordism

Irish Democrat 04? when?

Parnell and his Island by George Moore, introduced and edited by Carla King, UCD Press (Classics of Irish History series), ISBN: 1-904558-16-X €17.00 £13.20

THIS SERIES of edited reprints includes PS O'Hegarty's Victory of Sinn Fein (1924), my father Joe Johnston's Civil War inUlster(1913), Arthur Griffith's Resurrection of Hungary (1918), and Ed Hagan's recent evocation of Standish O'Grady's To the Leaders of our Working People, published originally by James Larkin in 1914.

I had encountered echoes of George Moore in Mayo in the 1960s, when walking over the remains of his Moore Hall estate (the house was burned in the civil war) in the company of politicising republican colleagues, and picked up a positive local folk-memory.

I had read one or two of his novels, and picked up the feel for Zola naturalism which according to Carla King he consciously pursued, but had not seen him as a contributor to the unerstanding of Irish political and social history. This book fills that gap in my understanding. It is indeed a serious contribution to the understanding of the Land League period; it has been neglected hitherto because, like Horace Plunkett's ill-fated 1904 Ireland in the New Century, it did not comfortably conform to the nation-building mythology.

Moore was living in Paris in the 1870s on the rent from his estate, collected by his uncle acting as his agent; he was an aspirant artist and poet, cultivating the company of Verlaine, Manet and others. In 1879 he was advised to come home and deal with his own affairs, as his uncle found the serving of eviction orders uncongenial, and was concerned to preserve his life.

This book is a fictionalised version of Moore's ensuing cultural shock; it served to re-orient his career towards writing, at which he subsequently earned an honest living, in the Zola tradition. This book, and another, A Drama in Muslin are serious contributions to our understanding of Irish landlordism, the Land League movement, and, indirectly, some of the social and political pathologies of the Irish national movement as it subsequently emerged.

The totally parasitic nature of Irish landlordism comes over as the main message. It gave no service to the tenants in return for the rental. The tenant farmers for their part, were also exploited by the small-town gombeen-men, who sold them provisions retail, and bought their raw intermediate output products wholesale to sell on. Home Rule politics was dominated by small-town gombeenism, and Moore depicts insightfully the characters concerned.

In the environment as described by Moore there is no way in which surplus value generated by local agriculture could be transformed into capital for investment into local industry based on adding value to local food production, as happened in Denmark thanks to the co-operative movement. This movement, initially promoted by a tiny handful of more enlightened landlords, like Plunkett and O'Grady, who saw this as the way forward, was widely rejected because of gombeen political influence and perceived landlord leadership.

Moore does not allude to this, because the Mayo picture he saw was totally parasitic; this no doubt influenced Davitt in his rejection of Plunkett. But in order to understand the intrinsic weakness of the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society (IAOS) and Davitt's rejection of it, and the failure of Irish development economics to follow the Danish path, it is useful to have read Moore.

Carla King has done us a service in helping UCD Press to resurrect this book, which incidentally was originally published in French, and then subsequently translated into English, in a bowdlerised version, which was rejected by Irish critics. His description of the clergy and the local Land League leadership is earthy and worthy of Zola, while his treatment of the landlords and agents is scathing. He saw no good in the scene, and chose to distance himself from it, being now remembered mostly by his authorship of books such as 'Esther Waters' (1894). George Russell in his obituary (1933) of George Moore hailed him as "...one of the most talented and unfilialof Ireland's children...".


ATQ Stewart

Books Ireland circa Oct 04

From the United Irishmen to Twentieth Century Unionism. ed Sabine Wichert, Four Courts Press 2004, ISBN 1-85182-811-7 (255p, price 55 euro).

This book is a 'festschrift' in honour of the 75th birthday of historian ATQ Stewart, author of numerous scholarly studies ranging from The Ulster Crisis (1967) through his 1981 Carson biography, his 1993 analysis of the origins of the United Irishmen The Deeper Silence to his recent Shape of Irish History.

It could in a sense be said to be a celebration of basically Unionist scholarship, representative of a reflective and intelligent Unionism, which however has not yet come to terms with the 'greater Unionism' of the rest of Irish scholarship, which now tends to look to the European Union, thereby differentiating itself from the micro-Unionism of post-colonial Britain.

Stewart's Unionism however is full of interesting paradoxes. There is a lurking suggestion that the Presbyterian republicanism of the 1790s was at heart Unionist, in that it was part of republican movements in England, Scotland and Wales, which if they had succeeded would have led to a federal republic of these islands. Wolfe Tone would have been familiar with this aspiration. Stewart himself, however, according to Arthur Aughey (UU, Jordanstown), rejected the label 'Unionist', dismissing ideological labelling as over-simplification, never being concerned whether what he writes might please Hume or Paisley. He argues that 'there is no misunderstanding between Protestant and Catholic... they know each other only too well, having lived alongside each other for four centuries... it is not a clash of cultues, it is a culture in itself..'. Stewarts profound skepticism about the applicability of rational Enlightenment culture under Irish conditions presents a challenge needing to be taken up creatively by those trying against the odds to build Irish democracy.

We have some interesting insights into the relationship between the radical Belfast merchants of the 1780s and 90s and the slave trade, from Nini Ridgers (Queens). Mary O'Dowd (Queens) concludes that elite women in Ireland in the 18thC had more access to the mechanics of political influence that their counterparts in England or colonial America.

From Marianne Elliott (Liverpool) we have an analysis of the Kent 'treason trials' of 1798 which enables some evaluation of the potential of 'federal union' republicanism, and throws light on the complexities of the French connection, in which context Wolfe Tone was far from being the sole operator. Allan Blackstock (UU) gives an insight into the relative roles of the conservative Anglican clergy and the radical Belfast Presbyterian businessmen, using a comparative biographical treatment of two examples, respectively William Richardson, who claimed to be in on the foundation of the yeomanry with Orange collusion, and William Tennent, an active United Irishman who was imprisoned at Fort George in Scotland. He follows their subsequent careers; the former became a crank agricultural innovator, the latter a stalwart of the Chamber of Commerce and the Linen Hall Library. These contrasting careers represent '..a paradigm for the divisions within Protestantism: rural anglicanism is set against urban New Light Presbyterianism..'.

We have an analysis by Peter Jupp (Queens) of the life and times of Patrick Duigenan, an ultra-Protestant ex-Catholic MP, who was a source of many parliamentary arguments against Catholic emancipation, on various grounds related to intrinsic disloyalty, '...mostly specious or wrong..'. One can see here the roots of Protestant insecurity based on the perceived need to defend a baically indefensible ascendancy situation. From George Boyce (Swansea) we have the life and times of AV Dicey, a 'moral force' Unionist with a sense of European-style nation-building, who found himself ill-at-ease with the processes that led to the Larne gun-running.

Diane Urquhart (Liverpool) gives us the life and times of Theresa Lady Londonderry, who with her London salons was a significant channel of influence beween Carson and the Tory Establishment, in the lead up to Larne gun-running time. This leads on to a somewhat rambling discourse by Owen Dudley Edwards (I can almost hear his voice when reading it!) on Carson, Marjoribanks (his authorised biographer) and Oscar Wilde. The connection is of course Carson's role in the first of the Wilde court-cases, and conflicts between Marjoribanks' hagiography and the work of subsequent more critical biographers. This chapter deserves close study, again for the embedded paradoxes in the Protestant relationship to the emergent Irish nation. There is a 'what if' hint: might Carson have emerged as a Parnell successor but for the role of the Bishops? Carson had a good relationship with Redmond. Marjoribanks, who was gay, committed suicide in 1932. Here is much food for thought, and trails to be followed by scholarship.

Paul Bew (Queens) revisits some ideology issues related to the 1912-14 Ulster crisis. He devotes much space to the perceived problem of Catholic hegemony, on the basis of local government experience; there is also a perceived Irish language dimension. This chapter is broadly based on Steward's Narrow Ground 1977 publication. Alvin Jackson (Queens) analyses the history of militant loyalism subsequent to Partition, including the problems faced by O'Neill in the liberal reforming context. Carson got his State funeral in 1935, having attended the unveiling of his statue at Stormont in 1933; the hawks of 1914 were celebrated as the founders of the State. Yet the 50th anniversary in 1964 was celebrated separately by O'Neill and Paisley. According to Jackson, '...Paisley's commitment to the militants of 1914 was more than rhetorical..' and he goes on to suggest a sharowy link between him and the current generation of loyalist militants. He goes on the treat the Vanguard, the UDA, the response to the Anglo-IrishAgreement and then finally the current Belfast Agreement of 1998 (by which the Good Friday Agreement is known in Unionist circles, such being the need for differential perceptions and associated labelling!).

Marc Mulholland (Oxford) attempts to answer the question 'why did Unionists discriminate?', under headings Triumphalism, Anti-Catholicism, Social Prejudice, Populism, Cabals, Security, Sectarian Electoral Geography. This chapter confirms all we were aware of when we attempted to develop the non-violent Civil Rights approach in the 1960s. His Cabals section records episodes which I personally witnessed and interacted with: the diversion of the University of Ulster from Derry, and the resignation of the distinguished town planner Geoffrey Copcutt over the imposition of sectarian political geography on Craigavon. The 1965 Irish Association Whitsun meeting was planned for Derry on the theme 'Planning a New University', and I was present. The Coleraine university location came as a bombshell; the conference was planned as a welcome for the development of Magee College. Many people subsequently associated with political developments were present, icluding John Hume and Ivan Cooper. Later, on the Craigavon issue, I remember encountering Copcutt at an event organised by the Dublin Wolfe Tone Society.

There is no question that the Unionist discrimination was the basic fuel for the 1960s attempt by the republican movement to 'go political'. Missing from the analysis however is the main factor which nipped this process in the bud: the August 1969 armed pogrom by the B-Specials. Was this a 'cabal' job? Who organised it? Was its primary motivation to stimulate the re-invention of the IRA in military mode? Was there a relationship with the group which organised the 1964 Silent Valley job, with similar intent? August 1969 succeeded brilliantly, and triggered decades of mayhem. I look forward to future insights into who comprised this cabal, or these cabals. Were they, perhaps, the fire behind the smoke that obscured Sean McPhilemy's ill-fated Committee (Roberts Rinehart 1998)?

A final chapter by Richard English (Queens) attempts to set an agenda for Unionist intellectuals in Northern Ireland, developing a secular and inclusive unionism, transcenting ethnic and religious boundaries. This attempt, to my mind, founders on the rock of the problem of what is meant by Britishness. He fails totally to project any sort of vision appealing to Protestants living in Ireland. An obvious one is on offer, and I can commend it to him: to develop the Irish dimensions of Protestant culture, in the context of the European Union, and forget about the type of imperial intellectual garbage embedded in the British label.

Roy Johnston, rjtechne@iol.ie, Sept 23 2004


De Valera and the 'Black Fifties'

Irish Democrat, circa July 2004.

De Valera's Ireland, ed Gabriel Doherty and Dermot Keogh (Mercier Press) and Ireland in the 1950s, ed Dermot Keogh, Finbar O'Shea and Carmel Quinlan (Cork University Press). Both titles 15.95 euro pbk.

DERMOT KEOGH is the Modern History Professor in University College Cork. Both books are the products of a project funded by the Higher Education Authority which is aimed at increasing public understanding of the post-independence period, under the general title 'Culture Contact: Nation and State'. Both involve contributins by many authors, some of whom lived throught the periods described. De Valera's Ireland lacks any notes describing who the authors are; though many are well-known to contemporary readers, some are not. This deficiency is made good in the second title, Ireland in the 1950s.

Owen Dudley Edwards gives many useful insights into the US background and contacts of de Valera, some of which help to explain the many paradoxes and contradictory aspects of his character. He takes the Kennedy 1963 address to the Dail as his starting-point, using it to develop arguments about the League of Nations, neutrality in the war and partition. He goes into Woodrow Wilson as role model, the origins of the Irish Press, and the relationship with the Hierarchy. He credits Dev as the "...saviour of Ireland from fascism..." and "...containing political Catholicism which elsewhere in Europe facilitated a slide or a capitulation to totalitarianism...", keeping at bay "...the sinister threat ...posed by Professor Michael Tierney, seeking an Irish version of Mussolini's doctrine integrated with the papal encyclicals...". As he says in his last line: "...it demands much further study".

Sean Farragher gives a somewhat bland account of Dev's relationship with Blackrock College. More substantive is the next essay, by Dermot Keogh, who tries to assess Dev's role in the civil war, between the hagiographers and the demolitionists. Demolitionists appear to dominate currently, if the Michael Collins film is a good indicator, but Keogh suggests that Dev's militarist rhetoric, identified by some demolitionists as a trigger, was in fact due to misreporting. The conduct of the war was largely outside Dev's influence, though he did manage to have a hand in bringing it to an end, after Liam Lynch's death, in the context of his replacement by Aiken. As elsewhere, there remain unanswered questions.

Tom Garvin deals with the civil war aftermath. He addresses the question of the status of the Treaty: was it an ignoble defeat or a workable compromise? He pulls no punches in describing the sources of the bitterness arising frm the civl war; these dug deeper than those of the Parnell split. The cost of the war was of the order of a quarter of the GNP, equivalent to about 9B euro today. It contributed to the strengthening of Partition, and the further alienation of the northern nationalists, while confirming the unionists in their hegemony. Finland had a feroceous civil war in 1918, in which 25,000 were killed, yet protagonists were sharing government by 1937. Garvin concludes that "...a crippling of Irish public political culture occurred (with) an exaggerated reliance on Chirch and central State structures..." which faded only in the 1960s "...as a general social pluralism began to melt the socilogical glaciers generated by the 'great freeze' of the post Civil War period."

Ged Martin in his chapter 'de Valera Imagined and Observed' has a few gems; after some time with Lloyd George, Smuts, Midleton and others, for example John Gunther who noted that de Valera was not a citizen of the country he ruled, picked on Hitler and Stalin as parallel examples. Keynes on the other hand in 1933, in a UCD lecture critical of 'laissez-faire' economics, expressed sympathy with Fiannaa Fail self-sufficiency, though he regarded the wheat policy as "insane". Gunther however had come to Dublin primed with negative experience from Europe aflame with petty nationalisms and their leaders, found de Valera "alert, interested and courteous...". Martin concludes with an insightful comment: "...the civil rights movement of the mid-1960s suggested that Northern Ireland could be destabilised far more effectively by Catholics trying to get into (it)...than ... to get ut of it...".

Catriona Clear surveys the scene from the angle of the women's movement. There was more overt feminism in the epoch than is currently given credit for, with the writings of Maura Laverty and Dorothy Macardle to be reckoned with, and the work of formidable trade unionists like Louie Bennett, who addressed the 'servant problem' by a proposal to develop a vocation with good hours and pay, as a respected social service.

Brian Kennedy has some critical things to say about the Arts Council, which was set up under Dev in 1951 and initially concentrated its support on drama and music, the visual arts being seen as 'big house' stuff and not part of the national tradition. In 1956 its director PJ LIttle was replaced by Sean O Faolain, under Costello, despite opposition by JC McQuaid. O Faolain however initially took a somewhat narrower view, and helped focus opposition to the introduction of television. He did subsequently attempt to mobilise opposition to the destruction of Georgian Dublin in the late 50s.

John McGahern's recollections of the 1950s in Dev's Ireland are mostly positive, despite the banning of his books. He recollects the "freemasonry of the intellect, with a vigourous underground life of its own that paid scant regard to Church or State". Brian Walker contrasts commemorations and identies, north and south. The Armistice Day commemoration in the early1920s was initially a shared memory, but Easter Rising commemorations subsequently emerged and invoked a ban. Dev in the 1930s used St Patrick's Day to emphasise the 'Catholic nation' concept. Walker, writing from a Protestant perspective, succeeds in stating the problem of how commemorations relate to perceptions of national identity. Gearoid O Crualaoich invokes cultural nationalism, via Herder, Hyde, Yeats and others, taking Dev's speech inaugurating RTE as point of departure.

There is more meat in Gearoid O Tuathaigh's 'cultural visions' chapter, linking the early vision of the Gaelic League with the more modern Gramscian Marxist radicalism of Mairtin O Cadhain. The book concludes with a paper from Garrett Fitzgerald in which he attempts to lay to rest the concept of 'civil war politics', while emphasising the divisive nature of Dev's politics regarding the North.

On the whole, I found this an unsatisfactory book from the angle of providing an overall assessment of the role of Dev, though it can be mined for various critical glimpses of aspects of the solution to the problem of national identity in our divided country. The political division has in fact largely, thought not totally, prevented the emergence of a genuine inclusive national identity, and it can be said that partition has been a nearly-complete success, from the standpoint of its Tory architects. It remains to be seen if there remains enough momentum to enable a unified national identity to be regenerated from the resultant wreckage.

Turning to Ireland in the 1950s, we have here 17 papers, basically the proceedings of a conference held in February 2001 in Cork. Dermot Keogh's introductory overview defines the Censorship Board (at which they used to laugh in the 1960s, regarding them as 'small-minded ignoramuses') in fact as being 'reactionary ideologues, who knew exactly what they were doing. The country had to be protected from outside influences and liberal tendencies, and from liberal tendencies within our own borders. Free thought is dangerous...'.

Irish Times literary editor and art critic Brian Fallon's view of the 1950s, while personal and anecdotal, gives quite a positive impression of much going on, despite the censorship, in a lively literary and critical underground. Dermot Keogh (UCC) gives a detailed scholarly analysis of the processes that led to the abandonment of the Blaskets. Gerry O'Hanlon (CSO), Enda Delaney (QUB) and Tracey Connolly (UCC) cover different aspects of the emigration process which dominated the decade. There was a strong 'establishment' view that it was a necessary 'safety valve' without which society would be under threat.

John Bradley (ESRI) analyses the role of 1930s protectionism which persisted throughout the 1940s and laid the basis for the disastrous 1950s economic performance, with insights from Keynes' 1933 Findlay Lecture in UCD. The latter gave apparent support to Dev's policies, but added many qualifications in the small print which turned out to be dominant. The Whittaker policy revision in the late 1950s opened up the republic to globalising capital, with Ireland well placed to take advantage of the US-originating investment boom, as analysed in European terms by Servan-Schreiber. This in the Irish case had the consequent of decoupling Irish trade from its total dependence on Britain, and our subsequent accession to the EEC. Alternative policies, as contemplated by the Irish Left at the time, would have resulted in Cuban-style isolation, and were a long way from being politically credible.

Andrew McCarthy (UCC history) goes into the history of the health services, particularly the issue of the problem of how emigrants fell victim to TB, and whose fault it was; the British blamed the Irish and vice versa. People living in Britain in crowded conditions, who had not had a primary infection in Ireland generating immunity, were particularly at risk. Catriona Clear (UCG) contributes a feminist angle on the conditions of domestic servants. Sandra McAvoy (UCC) analyses the abortion question, touching on James Ashe, the Bishops, the TCD Medical School, Nurse Cadden and the back-street service industry, as well as the emigration trail.

Irene Furlong has established something of a reputation as a historian of Irish tourism, in Maynooth. She has positive things to say about the environment which encouraged the emergence of the B&B as the mainstay of the industry, and critical things to say about the environment which impeded the early initiatives like an Tostal, such as the opposition of the Archbishop to things like Joyce's Ulysses, O'Casey's Father Ned and Tennessee Williams' Rose Tattoo. The stop-go attitude to civil aviation on the Atlantic was also a negative factor. Maurice Fitzgerald, a UCC graduate now in Loughborough, analyses diplomatic relations between Ireland and the US in the 1950s; these became strained towards the end of the decade with Aiken's attempt to get China discussed in the UN. US diplomats in Ireland tended to be of rather poor quality. The Kennedy visit to Ireland in 1963 was in return for the O'Kelly visit to the US in 1959. Linda Dowling Almeida (NYU) contributes a paper on the culture of Irish immigrants in New York. She remarks on the domination of the 50s immigrants by the county associations, and on the lack of mutual recognition between the 50s and 80s immigrants.

James Ryan and Liam Harte attempt to cover the experience of emigrants to Britain, both commenting adversely on the lack of literary attention, despite the best efforts of a handful which included Donall Mac Amhlaigh. There is an implied attempt, perhaps unconsciously, of the Irish literary establishment to write the emigrant experience out of Irish literary history, though the authors, by digging, do find some. Finally, there is an analysis by Dermot Keogh of the emigration and attitudes of the Jewish community in Ireland to the state of Israel. The problem of recognition of Israel came up in Sean MacBride's time, and it is interesting that the main concern was the issue of access to Jerusalem and the holy places, rather than the problems posed by the violent dispossession of the Palestinians.

These books are part of a process which some have condemned as 'revisionism', but increasingly this negative 'labeling and dismissing' is being seen as irrelevant, as useful additional insights emerge from which we can learn.

De Valera on the whole comes out more positively than might have been expected by some. He does not fit into the standard historical pattern which generated Cromwell, Napoleon and Stalin in post-revolutionary situations. We still have to get a serious in-depth critical biography. He managed to keep 'Eire' out of the war, and he managed to contain the influence of McQuaid within bounds which gave Protestants room to survive and contribute to politics, as indeed did my father Joe Johnston. The latter was a Carson critic in the 1910s, a Free State supporter in the 1920s and a severe Dev critic in the 1930s and 40s, in the Seanad and elsewhere, and yet served his final term in the Seanad up to 1954 as a de Valera nominee*.

Some insights into the life, times and political evolution of the reviewer's father can be found in his book Century of Endeavour, published by Academica/Maunsel in the US, and distributed by Lavis in Oxford. Some overview notes on it can be found on the reviewer's website at http://www.iol.ie/~rjtechne/ where it heads the political group in the table of contents.


Ireland and Post-Colonial Theory

(Ed) Clare Carroll and Patricia King
The foregoing is the complete version of a review submitted to the Irish Democrat for its October 2003 issue; the print version may have got edited down, but the practice is to publish in full on the web-site. RJ August 2003.

This book, published in 2003 by Cork University Press, is a collection of essays on the theme, with an afterword by Edward Said, the Palestinian guru of the domain who is based in Columbia University, NY. It is ground-breaking, in that it provides a serious academic source for comparative study of the Irish colonial to post-colonial transition in the global context, as an alternative to the European. In the latter context some historians have tended to overlook the colonial aspect of the Irish experience.

Clare Carroll (New York City University) in her introduction invokes Declan Kiberd, who in his Inventing Ireland was influenced by Said and by Franz Fanon, whose damning analysis of the Algerian situation was published in 1961. Joe Cleary (NUI Maynooth) attacks the cultural dominance of the 'modernisation' concept, which he identifies with European imperialism, contrasting the post-colonial approach which suggests that '...Irish nationalism can only be understood contextually as the complex outcome of local interactions with an aggressively expanding imperialist world economy..'.

David Lloyd (whose location the editors regrettably omit) comes up with a pungent definition of colonialism, in the aftermath of which he identifies Ireland as '...a bourgeois post-colony... a conduit of neo-colonial capital..'. He offers some comparisons between Ireland, India, Ghana and Algeria, and some insights into the development of the industrial proletariat in the North-East predicated on the colonial social relations. Clare Carroll in her specialist essay goes deeply into the medieval background, starting with Gerald of Wales, and offering comparison with native American history. Luke Gibbons (Notre Dame) offers a critique of Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment, contrasting the emergent inclusive philosophy of the United Irishmen, as exemplified in the practice of Lord Edward Fitzgerald in his dealings with the Iroquois at Detroit in 1789.

Kevin Whelan, who directs the Notre Dame outstation in Dublin, offers an analysis of 'Modernism' in literary terms, distinguishing a 'right' modernism associated with Eliot, Pound, Lewis, and a 'left' modernism with Beckett. Joyce, Brecht. He delves with some subtlety into the influence of the Famine. Seamus Deane, also now at Notre Dame, analyses the post-Famine language switch, including the posthumous influence of O'Connell, referencing Friel's Translations, and with some Algerian comparisons. We also get direct Indian input from Amitav Ghosh (expatriate in CUNY), relating to the 1857 'Mutiny' and the second world war, when the Indian National Army sided with the Japanese.

A paper by Joseph Lennon (Manhattan College) on Irish Orientalism brings out the complexities, ranging from the fantasies of Vallencey in the early RIA, through Mahaffey and his Primitive Civilizations to the Yeats-Tagore connection. Gauri Viswanathan (also Columbia) rediscovers the poet James Cousins, whose work at Irish literary revival-time is in many anthologies, but vanished from the scene after 1915, when he went to India under the influence of Annie Besant. There he stayed, becoming an educational reformer, promoting the scientific study of geography, after falling out with Besant over his support of 1916.

Edward Said in his afterword decidedly gives the Irish post-colonial project his blessing, invoking Friel, Fanon, the post-Yugoslavia crisis, Palestine-Israel and South Africa. His inclusive model for post-Israel politics welcomes the emergent Israeli critical historical scholarship.

This compilation is indeed a positive input, from mostly US-based scholarship, to the historical understanding of the evolution of Irish culture, resulting from the work of active Irish Studies centres. The missing element, if I may repeat in print what I suggested to Kevin Whelan when the Notre Dame outstation was set up, is the culture of technical competence: science and technology. There was a tiny nod in that direction in the mention of geography in the Cousins context; this is of course the queen of the systems sciences. There is also an echo in Friel's Translations, which is rooted in the Ordnance Survey. There is a mine of 'colonial to post-colonial transition' stuff waiting to be worked over, in the Proceedings of the RDS and the RIA. Post-colonial discourse is its natural home. May it prosper.


Standish O'Grady and Socialism

Review: To the Leaders of Our Working People, Standish O'Grady, ed EA Hagan, UCD Press 2002, pb ISBN 1 900621 41 X stg£12.65 17 Euro.
Irish Democrat, possibly October 2002

Ed Hagan, who is Professor of English at Western Connecticut State University, and a stalwart of the Irish Studies community in the US, has done us a service by resurrecting a series of articles written by Standish O'Grady during 1912-13 in Jim Larkin's Irish Worker. He has rescued O'Grady from the image imposed on him by Yeats and others, that of a romantic quasi-feudal visionary, and placed him firmly in the progressive anarchist tradition of Kropotkin, and also that of Owenite Utopian socialism, as exemplified in the Ralahine commune described by Connolly in Labour in Irish History.

Mainstream Marxist thinking, which is now beginning to address the problem of the genesis of the repressive role of the State under Stalin, ignores these traditions at its peril. It could be argued that a socialist economy, if it were to exist, would consist of a free market inhabited by an ensemble of producer-owned communes, run by elected boards of managements, and using advanced productive technologies. In such a situation the State would not be a player but a referee, imposing rules governing quality and environmental control, long-term sustainability, spatial strategy, co-operative credit, contracts and so on. O'Grady foreshadows this with his vision of giving the Dublin unemployed and their families the option of re-locating to centres of 'rural civilisation' in a decentralised economy under co-operative ownership and management.

His classical background informs his tendency to regard the Greek city-states as models for his communes, and to regard the emergent Irish nation as a 'commune of communes', rather than a centralist State on the British model, dominated by capitalist principles. He was opposed to violence, and regarded the worker-owned commune as 'the form of human organisation most likely to escape capitalist hegemony' (Ed Hagan). He looked to the trade union movement as a means of organising to provide the means of co-operative investment in productive resources. The key political act would be the Trek of overcrowded Dubliners re-colonising the underutilised surrounding land. He supported the expansion of technical education, and learning by doing.

There is unfinished business in relating O'Grady's ideas to Connolly's; my guess is that they are closer than Hagan gives O'Grady credit for. Connolly did not 'seek violent confrontation', as Hagan suggests, he was forced into the situation where he felt there was no alternative, and the key agent was the World war. Nor, to my mind, is it fair to O'Grady to use the term 'feudalism' to describe his decentralised vision, as Hagan does, though to be fair to Hagan, O'Grady used the term himself on occasion, with a connotation implying 'small-scale local community throwing up its own accepted leadership' rather than warlords. He had the Greek city-state in mind, and this after all was the cradle of democracy, where it managed to avoid the war-lord mode.

The notes include references to contemporary activists who have been forgotten, like JW Petravel (1870-?) who promoted co-operative communes using Christian sources, and WR MacDermott (1838-1918) who wrote about south Tyrone in 1902 in The Green Republic. My father Joe Johnston was also a co-operative activist from about 1913 and I now recognise O'Grady influences in his writings, which I am currently editing, from this period and later. For this I must thank Ed Hagan.



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