1 July 1968 – 31 August 1969
THEMES: Greaves’s criticisms of Roy Johnston’s involvement with the Republicans – Reactions to the Russian intervention in Czechoslovakia – Visit to Derry following the 5 October 1968 assault on the civil rights marchers in that city’s Duke Street – Changing his London flat – Reactions in Britain to the Burntollet attack on the Peoples’ Democracy march in January 1969 – Dissuading the Cathal Goulding-led Republicans from supporting the call for the abolition of Stormont and direct rule from London – Reactions to the divisions on the NICRA Executive caused by the People’s Democracy members, leading to the resignation of Betty Sinclair and others – Co-operation between the Connolly Association, the Campaign for Democracy in Ulster and the Movement for Colonial Freedom in campaigning in Britain for reforms in Northern Ireland – Problems arising from the NICRA and the Dungannon-based Campaign for Social Justice setting up support-group “branches” in Britain – Reactions to the arrival at Westminster of Bernadette Devlin MP and her call for “direct rule” by London – Commencement of the campaign for a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland to be legislated at Westminster: “My little invention to solve the problem of a conflict between immediate and ultimate aims” (entry for 19 May 1969) – The CPGB as “the only political party to break with the imperial tradition” (entry for 30 August 1969) – Drafting a pamphlet for that party on the Northern Ireland crisis and drafting a tripartite statement for it and the two Irish communist parties advocating Greaves’s Bill of Rights – Visiting the Falls Road following the August 1969 outrages there – Changing his place of residence when visiting Dublin to Anthony Coughlan’s bachelor quarters in Dundrum rather than the home of Cathal and Helga MacLiam and their growing family in Rathmines – Concluding research for his Liam Mellows biography: interviews with Joe Clarke, Ernie Nunan, Sean Nunan, Maire Comerford, Walter Carpenter, Seamus Reader, Tom Malone and Mrs PS O’Hegarty
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- July 1 Monday (Liverpool): I was up at 7 am., went to the office, noted the correspondence and then took the 9.5 to Derby, arriving at Ripley without delay despite the railway “work to rule”. It was interesting to note that the general public showed no antagonism to the railwaymen, but only to the Government, as if intuitively grasping that the Wilson gang are trying to impose a reactionary principle at the expense of the public purse and are using a multinational industry to do it. They do not try it with Fords! I saw before I left a letter from Tom Redmond to the effect that Harvey of the Guardianhad declined to erect the plaque because Tom had altered the agreed wording [ie. for the proposed Manchester Martyrs memorial on the site in Manchester] by including the name of Sergeant Brett. He had bent before the wind and the whirlwind blasts his bottom! I had already told Manchester to forget about his antics as soon as possible. Then I will think of a way of getting them out of the trap. I thought perhaps a commission to establish that the three Fenians were definitely not guilty of the shooting. This would move Brett from the centenary. The Morning Star this morning carries a letter I had drafted and Sean Redmond signed regarding the recent scenes in the Six Counties.
- The general mood among the people is very confused. At Derby the bus conductor was holding forth to a passenger, striking one palm on the other. His father had told him that in his young days he worked a twelve-hour day. “I took him my time-sheets. Ah. I slapped them on the table. ‘What d’you think I’m doing? Progress is it? And it just about keeps me alive as it kept you alive.’” Then he drew the somewhat bizarre conclusion: “What’s wanted is another war, to cut the population down.” “Ah,”said the passenger, a middle-aged woman not entirely satisfied with his utterances, “There’ll be another, never worry.”
There was water on the streets of Derby and other people were discussing a storm. But I paid little attention. At Ripley I found Reynolds had taken in a further room from his house to extend his workshop and put in fresh machinery. We are broke. But he is not! All went smoothly for a change.
It was when I reached Derby again that the fun began. I just missed the 4.40 pm. which departed on time. But the 5.40 was cancelled, and the 6.40 ran ten minutes late, just missing the 8.4 at Crewe, which ran to time! The 8.35 was half an hour late. The railwaymen were talking about the lightning which struck a signal box at Stafford and the rain which had flooded the line at Chester. Crewe station was strangely quiet. The refreshment bar attendant told me that business was almost non-existent since they closed at 8 pm. on Saturday night. I reached Liverpool at 10 pm. and saw the Mersey Railway open. With one other I walked into the deserted station and found the last train carrying about three passengers to Birkenhead Park. One of them like me had come from Derby. He was carrying red motor-car plates. Presumably he had been delivering a car to some fool. The lift-man had to unlock the lifts to let us up, while another put out the lights in the station. Then they came up themselves. I had only a short wait for a bus. A man standing for the bus had come from Oldham. There was rainwater everywhere though it was still very hot. I asked him had there been a storm. The worst for many years. But it was worst on the Pennines. At Oldham at midday it had turned as dark as night. “You’d feel frightened,” he said, “It was quite eerie.” What would it do to him? Shoot down a ball of plasma, maybe. Then apropros of the bus he remarked, “Public transport’s finished. There are too many cars on the road.” So he was frightened at what was not very likely to do him much harm, but fatalistic about the instruments that are killing thousands every year.
I found a letter from Mary Hearn, and another from Ian MacDougall of the Scottish Labour History Society. He sent me a copy of John MacLean’s pamphlet, “The Irish tragedy, Scotland’s disgrace.” I read it. It is quite clear that MacLean was a remarkable man. No signs here of the alleged softening of the brain, except perhaps that he believes the British authorities killed their own agents on “Bloody Sunday”.
July 2 Tuesday (Manchester): It was a wild night. Rain and thunder. And a cold morning. Wind, more thunder, dark clouds with lightning flashing behind them, and occasional brighter periods when ragged fracto-stratus made fantastic and rapidly moving airships of the clouds. A letter from Gerald O’Reilly came swearing it was Mellows he met in Ballyhaise. And he gave a rough date.
I went to Manchester in the afternoon, catching the first Mersey train at 4.15 pm. All afternoon it rained and dropped large irregularly-shaped hailstones. I reached Manchester after much delay, and after a meal went to the Claremont for a drink. It had turned very cold. I took a whiskey. There were only two men in the bar. The sole topic was the storm. “Five o’clock this morning, I never heard anything like it. I tell you frankly, I’m scared of it, especially at night. I have to get up.” The other came over from the bar to the table and asked the first speaker a question. “Well now, there could be a thunderbolt. But answer me this one. Did you ever see a thunderbolt? No? Well, I did. It was in 1929. I was in the army on outside manoeuvres in Yorkshire. We saw this fireball coming towards us. I’ll tell you we were scared. Held the arm of the other fellow, and it was shaking! It came within yards of us. Then it went over among some trees and there it blew up. It knocked several trees down.” Then they talked about the fireball seen in yesterday’s storm. “It went right through somebody’s house and did no harm though a girl was killed by ordinary lightning at Oldham.” All this brought back to me the talk, in my young days, that you should leave your window open in a thunderstorm, as then a thunderbolt that came down the chimney would fly out through the window. I must say I never connected a thunderbolt in my mind with plasma balls. I had read somewhere that thunderbolts were pieces of metal or stone dislodged by lightning when it struck buildings. The other was “globe lightning”, the existence of which some authorities ventured to doubt, since they could not even begin to explain it. At the same time the rational kernel in the principle of leaving egress was doubtless derived from the real properties of plasma balls.
It was drizzling when the meeting began. But Aine Chadwick, Michael Crowe, Joe McCrudden, Alice Byrne, Mrs Brannie (Tommy Watters’s two sisters) were there. The enthusiasm of last week was maintained. And they want to meet next week. I learned, incidentally, that the reason why Joe Deighan went to London was that Dorothy lost her sister with cancer and claimed she could not bear to live in Manchester another day. Joe did not wish to move but did so under pressure, McCrudden said. Joe Deighan always said he hated London. I commented on the strange humours he had displayed while in London. “Of course, he was fighting her and taking it out on other people.” All agreed that Joe Deighan had sacrificed a magnificent position built up over years, and that Dorothy was to blame[Deighan had been active in the Manchester Labour movement in the 1950s and early 1960s and was well known in that city]. I stayed the night with Michael Crowe.
July 3 Wednesday (Liverpool): I took some envelopes to Alice Byrne in the morning. Then I went back to Liverpool. It was raining in the morning, but took up later. At 124 there was a letter waiting from Muriel [Mrs Muriel MacSwiney, widow of Cork Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney who died on hunger strike in 1920]. She has arranged to have me sent the “Tribune des Nations” which she says is leftist. And sure enough here it was today. The gales and torrents had wrought havoc in the garden. All the genotheras but one were snapped off low down. I spent most of the day trying to remedy the destruction, staking and tying things. But the Mullein, seven feet high, was as stiff as a ramrod!
July 4 Thursday: I was prevented from preparing properly for Dublin by the arrival of Mrs Phillips, but I was glad of her services. I sailed for Dublin at night. The ship was delayed while we waited for the London train, held up by the “work-to-rule”. The bar was kept open, I do not know how long. I know I left it at 11.30 and it was in full swing. In the winter time it is usual to stretch a point, but in summer they are very prompt in closing it.
I had a look round. How different are the people who travel first-class now from those I remember even twenty years ago. Where are the men in tweeds and women who travelled by a convention as strict as a ritual? They presumably go by air. Instead there are boys in jeans and denim jean-jackets, workers from the Yorkshire mining towns in baggy trousers, young couples, girls in gay slacks. The motor-car ferry of course now takes the car-drivers and by all accounts they are welcome to it, as everybody seems to agree that this is a chromium-plated horror – “the passengers are the cargo,” said one.
July 5 Friday (Dublin): The ship sailed late, and the result was a good night’s rest and a pleasant sail up the Liffey, watching the young students in the steerage displaying themselves in whatever way was likely to attract most attention. One girl took off her shoes and dangled her feet over the gunwale. But she did not attempt the ultimate bravado of jumping in! I had breakfast on board and then went up to to Cathal’s [Cathal MacLiam] at 24 Belgrave Road and saw Helga. I looked for Joe Clarke [War of Independence veteran] in O’Connell Street but did not find him. After lunch I went to see Charlie Strickland, the friend of Seamus Reader. I found him, like Reader, a plain straightforward man with Labour sympathies and delighted to talk. He told me that Mellows was in Scotland and that he also remembered him in Liverpool. He even thinks he went to Dundee. In Glasgow he tried to prevent the famous “smashing of the van”. He thought Reader would confirm this.
In the evening I found Cathal and we went to Parnell Street for a drink. The Connolly Youth were there, plus some Republicans. Then Cathal drove me out to Tony’s where there was a note saying he had gone to Kerry but to use the house as my own [Anthony Coughlan, who had bought a house at 111 Meadow Grove, Dundrum, in the same Wates housing estate as his friends Kader and Louise Asmal had recently moved into]. So we did and drank a bottle of Tony’s wine.
July 6 Saturday: I just missed Joe Clarke again. I met Michael O’Riordan around lunchtime and he told me how strongly he disapproved of the proposals to induct Tony Coughlan into the Republican outfit following Roy Johnston. He considered that Roy Johnston showed two failures. First was the failure to appreciate the role of the working class. Second was the ”respectability” of republican dissent as against the “disreputability” of communist dissent. It was possible to be the wildest Republican and still consort with “nice” people in drawing rooms.
I went up to see Joe Clarke at his home. He and his wife were very agreeable and cooperative, and answered my questions. But I do not think he had much knowledge of Mellows, who after all was ten years his junior, for he is nearly 87. He walks badly but is otherwise brisk. He told me he remembered Connolly’s meetings at Foster Place when Tom Lynch and Connell[Carolan? This name is unclear], (very well dressed and a good orator) used to speak with him. This must have been in the IRSP days.
At midday I met Roy Johnston in Pearse Street. He was riding his old tank of a bicycle away from Sean Nolan’s. I saw him again in the evening. He told me that Tony Coughlan had decided not to follow him. He gave no details, but he showed how irrevocably he had separated himself from the IWP by a remark that I noticed particularly. “I have not been integrated with the Irish Workers’ Party, and for that I do not apologise.” He draws on Marxist ideas without acknowledgement, and retails them to the Republicans opportunistically tailored to suit their prejudices. So they get no means of checking the source. He becomes the fountain head. And articles are then presented showing ”the evolution of his thought”. His present solution is “an overall structure in which the Workers’ Party can participate”. Who decided this principle? Roy Johnston. Whose is the initiative? His. The IWP must fall in behind Roy Johnston the Marxist and who prescribes the terms? Roy Johnston the Republican. So whose is the whole show? Roy Johnston’s. He is very like Bulmer Hobson must have been fifty years ago! He is individualist, genius and political impresario. I recall Tadhg Egan’s remark, “There is a cell waiting for him in Mountjoy. And it is there he will cool off.” We parted without a vestige of agreement and I told him his policy reminded me of that of the Socialist Revolutionaries in Russia, and that his outlook was petty-bourgeois through and through.
I then went out to Tony Coughlan’s where to my surprise he returned shortly before midnight. He did not say much about the trip or the meeting. He started at once to say he understood I had expressed concern at his proposal to take up the same position as Roy Johnston. But he had seen the constitution and did not agree with it [presumably the IRA or Sinn Fein Constitution]. So he was not joining them. I don’t know who told him I had tackled Roy. I did notice however a few of those confused American New Left magazines about the place, and was relieved that he was so far so good. He claimed that his appearance on Sinn Fein platforms was in his capacity as secretary of the Wolfe Tone Society. He said that Seamus O’Toole, who edits the United Irishman, has likewise declined gleichschaltung [ie. integration into IRA/Sinn]. He had told Tony Coughlan this and added, “You see they need me to get out the paper.” So there are irregularities on both sides. He told me his mother had retired and was trying to bring the old man, who is 85, to Dublin. He had found a house for them at Ballinteer [It was Dundrum rather than Ballinteer, and in the same housing estate as Coughlan’s own]. But he will retain his own, and come to England for a fortnight as usual.
July 7 Sunday: The unexpected return of Tony Coughlan upset my arrangements with Cathal, but it was no harm. Tony Coughlan wanted to go into the country. As Roy Johnston was away to Galway (without Mairin) to supervise the letting of his cottage, and God knows what else, we decided to borrow his bicycle [Roy and Mairin Johnston’s house at 22 Belgrave Road, Rathmines, was coincidentally just two doors from Cathal MacLiam’s at No.24]. So Tony Coughlan and I went up to Rathfarnham where we spent an hour pottering round St Enda’s, where Tony Coughlan knows the caretaker. Then we cycled and walked to the top of Kilmashogue Mountain where Maire Comerford had taken us last year. The old anvil the IRA used in their mechanical repairs was still there. We thought we should try to get it for the Kilmainham Museum, as somebody may steal it and try to sell it to the USA. We then returned to Cathal’s and had a wee drink.
July 8 Monday: I went to see Seamus Reader in the morning. We stowed ourselves away in the staff kitchen on the top of Leinster House. He confirmed what Strickland had told me, namely that Mellows was in Glasgow and tried to stop the rescue and have it transferred to Irish soil, as carried out in Scotland it would put his arms channels in jeopardy and offend the British population. He was very informative. He is a strong socialist, strongly anti-clerical, and dabbles, I gather from his remarks, in theosophy. He believes the Cruithin were the pre-Celtic inhabitants of these islands from which all good is derived. It was interesting to hear him tell of his first arrest. His father had died while he was still young. His mother re-married – an Irishman. As a result of his socialist activities he was thrown out of the house and then excommunicated (just how he didn’t say and I did not ask) and at 17½ after some explosives robberies, paced the cell alternatively laughing hysterically and crying, till he pulled himself together. He had lost home, family, religion and liberty all at once.
He told me he thought Wesley Wood might enlighten me about the old days and the Scottish connections. “I want you to autograph my copy of your book,” he said. “I’ve a lot in common with you. But I’ve given you enough time to get me the sack.”
After lunch I went to see Sean Nolan [at the IWP bookshop at 16A Pearse Street]. In conversation he said J. Roose Williams had been with him. “That fellow does like to be laying down the law!” was his impression of him. He told me that Roose had been very impressed by the man who goes under the name of Seán Lynch and pretends to be the brother of Liam Lynch, but is really a Trotskyist tout. He is a Derry man. He decided to see Wales and in some manner engaged Roose Williams as guide. When they drove to some hotel to stay and Roose would go to pay his share of the bill he would say, “Ach – have this on me.” He seemed to have plenty of money,” said Roose Williams to Nolan. We were wondering aloud at Roose’s ingenuousness and at what could be his game. Spying on Plaid Cymru? The strange thing was that though Sean Nolan said pointedly that Liam Lynch’s brother John had died in Tipperary two years ago at the age of 85, this failed to reach Roose!
Later I saw Cathal at 24 Belgrave Road.
July 9 Tuesday: I went to Cathal’s on the way to town and discovered to my surprise that it was the twins’ birthday [ie. the birthday of Egon and Finula MacLiam, twins, the two eldest of their five children]. They are ten, and fine little youngsters into the bargain. Finula is reading all the time and and has mastered not only a considerable vocabulary, but many tropes and turns of speech. She was washing the delph before the sink in the chaos in the basement. “Slavery was not abolished,” she drily observed. Egon, still small and skinny, is the apotheosis of the “nipper”, always running about, elusive as the wind.
I visited Ernie Nunan and discovered the important information that his father was a “strong labour man” and that Tom Johnson was in his house before he settled in Ireland. He himself was with Peadar O’Donnell as organiser for the Transport Union in the olden days. He did not accept a pension. This was all useful, but I had a frutless journey to Cabra in search of Seamus Nolan of Waterford.
At eight Tony Coughlan brought in Noel Harris from next door but one [in fact from some dozen or so houses away in the same suburban street as his own, Meadow Grove, Dundrum, where Noel and Rhona Harris also lived. They had recently moved from Belfast to Dublin]. When I first met him he was in DATA [the Draughtsmen and Allied Technicians’ Association]. We had taken Marcus Lipton to Shorts Club [in Belfast] or possibly it was the occasion when I spoke at the school run by the party in Belfast. I rather think the latter as Betty Harrison was not there. He had been attached to Brian Behan’s crowd but had broken with them. He knew the nincompoop who spoke to me in Glasgow. He also confirmed that Cooley[ie. Mike Cooley] was a Marxist, and added that Whately was the same [The editor does not know who Whately was]. I reflected that here is another example of the curious working of the one department. But I imagine that one would get one’s surprises if one tried to run it oneself [Presumably a reference to an aspect of CPGB organisation].
July 10 Wednesday: At last I got Seamus Nolan – at Bru na nGael in North Great George’s Street, a GAA club. Some of his colleagues I was introduced to had been members of the team at Croke Park on Bloody Sunday. He indicated that the time Mellows and the Woods family came to Waterford was probably late August 1921. They all left for Cork. So quite possibly the National Museum MS does not relate to this trip, or has a wrong date on it. But why was the list made? Nolan believes the visit was made before the Helvick landing had been decided.
Later I went to Cathal’s and helped the children mend their bicycle. Little Beibhinn is always asking for chocolate, and mostly getting it. Maire Comerford called and she ran out to introduce me. “His name is Uncle Desmond,” she declared with great pride of possession. I went to Roy’s [two doors away] and to my surprise found he was back, looking very ill at ease and sleepless.
“I’m surprised to see you.”
Voice from inside the room: “Not half as surprised as I was, at three o’clock in the morning, and he prowling around the house, I was trembling in terror.” Mairin then came out. “I was shaking. Jesus, if I’d guns in the place I’d have shot the arse off him.” She thought he was too mean to spend the money on a phone call to announce that he was returning. Relations between them are very strained. She said to Helga, “I can’t stand this creeping. If they want to hold a meeting why don’t they hold a meeting. This creeping is getting on my nerves.” Then Una appeared [their daughter], dressed in the uniform of the Baden Powell Girl Guides. She had been at a camp in Killarney. So he has certainly not been effective in influencing her political development if he wished to do so. And the situaton led me once more to reflect on Tadhg Egan’s remark.
July 11 Thursday: I finished mending Finula’s bicycle, in time for the three of them to quarrel over who was to ride it. I did not succeed in making contact with Michael Nunan. So I decided to return to Liverpool tomorrow and see what could be done about the situation in Manchester. In the evening I cycled out to see Maire Comerford, who is quite near to Tony Coughlan’s [She lived in Sandyford, he in Dundrum]. But at 111 Meadow Grove, Cathal arrived. He had hurt himself, having fallen off a ladder at Finglas Park while painting his father’s house. He was badly cut but came out partly to take his mind off his adventure. Maire Comerford made a remark about Roy Johnston. She thought he was “a little bit innocent” in politics.
July 12 Friday: I got little done today.The traffic jams in Dublin make it almost impossible to cross the city. I went to Cathal’s in the late afternoon, and heard tbe story of the accident from Beibhinn. “Papa put a ladder on top of a gas stove. And it went crack and he fell off. But he didn’t cry.”
Helga, who is getting near her time [she was expecting her fifth child, Killian MacLiam] was upset. Not unnaturally she thinks Cathal would be as well looking after his own house. But of course there are two sides to that, since he sold 74 Finglas Park to the parents to help buy 24 Belgrave Road. Cathal drove me to the North Wall.
July 13 Saturday (Liverpool): At Liverpool I dealt with the correspondence and tended the garden. This year each species has flowered with a bang and then stopped. The roses in the back garden are over. The loganberries all ripened together. As for the weather, once again a depression is held up against the European anticyclone and we have hot winds, clouds and promise of much rain.
I went to Manchester and called out to Michael Crowe. We sold 100 Democrats in about an hour. Finance has come in well. One of my aims is to have the branch well equipped with funds when Michael goes, as this will be needed to enable it to pull through. He told me interesting things. His slowness of manner and vagueness is only a surface phenomenon. His brain is subtle and understanding, far superior to that of Brian Farrington, who has no scientific approach. He is also a good Marxist. He said if he had known Tom Redmond was leaving he would have tried much harder to remain in Manchester.
A letter from Sean Redmond said that when Tom Redmond left, the “Plaque Committee” was £5 in overdraft to the CWS Bank [Co-operative Wholesale Society Bank] which had asked Sean to pay it. I said no payment till the plaque is our property, and Tom hands over a full account. Every day people complain that their applications for membership were not followed up, though they had paid their money. Tom is of course quite honest. He simply let things go. Probably he was too busy gravitating round the plaque.
Michael Crowe was telling me about Fanon. Apparently Constance Farrington translated his book and this is where Roy Johnston got his nonsense from. Brian Farrington is Roy Johnston’s closest friend, but he is now beginning to see through it. Apparently Tom Redmond also was affected and Michael Crowe was ostracized because he did not subscribe to their theories. This is why they thought he was slightly odd! Also Tom Redmond surrounded himself with Bohemians and semi-Trotskies and replaced the Branch Committee where Michael had a majority with the Plaque Committee nominated by himself. Sean Redmond tolerated this [Sean Redmond weas Connolly Association General Secretary], and Tom always claimed that whatever he was doing had his support. He did not think Sean was affected by his theories, and thought Tom modified Sean’s words to suit himself. He had a private line to London. Michael Crowe had protested that when he went to Manchester he spent all his time with Tom and never even consulted Michael or tried to draw him into discussion. So now we have our political explanations.
July 14 Sunday: The rain came, but it was not as heavy as I had feared. We went to All Saints. Pat Noonan was there – now out of Sinn Fein and only interested in the GAA. In the early evening we went to see Wilf Charles [Manchester CPGB organiser]. He reminded me of the first time he met me. It must have been around 1943 when Pat Devine was in Manchester. There was a one-day school in the Burlington Cafe attended by 75 people (I doubt this; more like 40) and that evening I spoke at the Irish Club in Rusholme Road and they interrupted the dance for the speech. He thinks it was Easter time. I remember the occasion all right.
But what he had to say now was somewhat disturbing. Apparently Syd Foster is retiring in a fortnight. Gerry Cohen [CPGB organisers] is coming from Liverpool. Gerry Pocock (whom Michael Crowe calls Gerry Poco!) will look after Manchester City and Wilf Charles thinks he will be bogged down in fund-raising. He says the party is in a grumbling mood and many are ripe for the ultra-leftist rubbish peddled lately in relation to France [ie. the mass of “New Left” theorizing that was stimulated internationally by the 1968 events in France and elsewhere]. He even went the length of saying that many Trotskies were holding party cards in Liverpool. And he added that he was beginning to feel his years, though not too badly.
After that we persuaded John Watters, Tommy Watters’s son, to drive us round the sales area. We got £5 from Wilf Charles and a pound from his friend – all unsolicited – and learned that Charles had thought that Joe Deighan moved to London at our suggestion. It was Lena Daly who told me that Dorothy Deighan lost her sister, who died of cancer, and that she said she could no longer bear to live in Manchester. Caelum not animam mutant qui trans mare currunt! [They change the sky, not the soul, who cross the sea]. Apparently Joe Deighan had had no desire to sacrifice the splendid position he had built up.
July 15 Monday (Liverpool): After making one or two final decisions, I returned to Liverpool. I had, while in Dublin, secured a promise from Tony Coughlan to spend a week in Manchester [during his summer vacation from teaching in TCD]. Michael Crowe said he would delay his departure so as to be present during that period, or at least for part of it. Tony Coughlan, incidentally, offered to finance the Democrat more substantially in the autumn. I told Michael Crowe I would before long be looking for more massive subsidies for the paper, for I can see it will be a wreck by the time Sean Redmond leaves.
July 16 Tuesday (Liverpool): I went back to Manchester in the afternoon. I was treated to the other side of Michael Crowe. He had suggested I arrive there at 6 pm. and not wait for a meal in town. When I got there he was in confusion. He explained that the heel had come off his shoe while the alternative pair lay at the cobblers. He had gone to the cobblers, which was in the opposite direction to the butchers, and there was no food in the house. A university lecturer with only two pairs of shoes! I said very well, we’ll go to town. But he had to meet Michael O’Riordan at Piccadilly Station at 7.15. He started collecting the literature. It took him fifty minutes. “I knew this would happen,” he said with irritation. He seemed hurt when I said that then he might have been able to take action to avert it! After a meal we were over outside an Indian Restaurant and he started walking along the road. “Isn’t that the bus stop over there?” I asked. “Indeed yes, of course. It was sheer absent-mindedness had me walking the wrong way.” The meeting was nevertheless a considerable success. The collection came to over £20. The AEU District Committee [Amalgamated Engineering Union] sent delegates. All the old crowd were there. Joe McCrudden, his wife and father had come from Liverpool. So they drove me back.
July 17 Wednesday: I spent the whole day pottering about, and thinned out some of the trees to give the garden a bit more sun and did some filing. I was thinking over Michael Crowe. His strength is that he will go and see people. Sean Redmond will not. Michael does not think much of Sean. He complains, “I find it is quite impossible to discuss anything with him.” What is the use of going to see somebody if you do not discuss? The Manchester experience gave me much more confidence in the possibility of pulling things together, once I have the book done.
July 18 Thursday: I made little progress in writing, but future plans considerably matured in my mind, and I posed a number of questions sharply. I thought of going to the cottage to chew over them.
July 19 Friday: I woke with much of the contentious matter much more well ordered in my mind than it was yesterday. So I decided it was not necessary to go to the cottage.
July 20 Saturday: I spent the day on the book except for a cycle ride to Brimstage, along the roads I used to enjoy as a young fellow, which are soon to be sacrificed to a motorway that will solve nothing.
July 21 Sunday: I again cycled to Brimstage, this time in the morning, and got quite a deal done preparing for the next chapter and deciding on how to re-arrange the old. I had a telephone conversation with John McClelland, but I doubt if he has much political perspective [John McClelland worked in Cammell Laird’s shipyard in Birkenhead and was the key man in the Liverpool Connolly Association branch at the time, along with Manxman Brian Stowell and Bernard (Barney) Morgan].
July 22 Monday (London): I went to London. Awaiting me was a telegram from Tony Coughlan saying his father had died suddenly and apologising for the inability to send his copy. I just got out the Irish papers and started to cut them for stories! As was to be expected, sales were the lowest ever, due entirely to lack of sellers and lack of enthusiasm among those we have. Some abusive letters came from Lindsay Aiken. Muriel [ie. Mrs Muriel MacSwiney] accused us of appeasing the Catholic Church. And Heywoods of Leicester cancelled their order because the priest objected to the left-wing tendencies of the paper. Sean Redmond had £70 in the bank more than he thought because he had pasted a sum in the wrong column in his ledger!
July 23 Tuesday: I worked on the paper all day. I was quite impressed by the change coming over Sean Redmond. His bounce has gone. He seems permanently on the defensive. It is a process of degeneration, in which all the former weaknesses are welded into the one fact of weakness. In the evening Toni Curran came in. She is trying to get her responsibilities on to Jim Kelly’s shoulders and has been sending out invoices. I said something mildly in Sean Redmond’s favour. “I’m afraid nothing he does is right for me. To him it is simply a job. That is what everybody sees.” Then Jim Kelly opened up. Sean Redmond was at home on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday evenings, and Sunday as well, every week. Sean was a political organiser. Jim Kelly was not. Yet he was in the office more, in the evening time. As for Sean’s strictures on Dorothy Deighan, Toni defended her and said she sold pounds worth of books which helped to finance us. Jim Kelly said on the bus to Camden Town some of Sean Redmond’s former football friends came on board. “I believe you’re looking for another job,” one of them said. Now this is curious as one would expect his wife’s family to be using their influence to place him.
July 24 Wednesday: All day I worked on the paper and got half of it off. There was a poor turnout at the branch meeting. The degeneration of Sean Redmond was shown once more. He will only do Friday this weekend [ie.going out selling the “Irish Democrat”], and there is no note of conviction in him. He told me he does not think the talked-about return to Ireland wil come about. He was talking to Susan, who said she would not like to leave London because of the theatres. She obviously wants a “good time” and it is Sean’s job to get it her. And he is beginning to see the road he must travel. It does not entirely suit him but he can see no way out.
July 25 Thursday: Today I saw the first sign of political change in Sean Redmond. He said he thought the USSR was “playing a dirty game” in Nigeria, and that it was impermissible under any circumstances whatsoever to intervene in Czechoslovakia, even if it were to join the Nazis. Now if I can help it, he will not break on this. I told him that similar talk from Bobby Heatley was merely his excuse for having pulled out of activity. I left him chewing that. But his appearance of disorientation is greater than ever. At the same time he does his work and gets on energetically with certain limited things – all organisational. It is not easy to see what to do. He told me, in passing, that he had recently taken a driving test. Possibly this links with the new job he is looking for, or his wife thinks her station in life demands a motor-car.
I went to South London [ie.to the South London Connolly Association branch]. Only Pat Bond, Gallivan and two others were there, though they had a huge meeting last week. I went with Pat Bond and Gallivan for a drink afterwards. Gallivan is in his early twenties, a rather wild youngster, very vivacious, with a huge shock of hair, a great man for the girls so I am told, but a good worker in his way. He is from Keady, where his grandmother aged 85 now lives. She is apparently a “character”. She was in Belfast years ago and remembers Connolly. I told him that the Connolly family might have come form Keady. He told me of how the Council made a culvert alongside his grandmother’s house, with an open trap for trees and other articles likely to block. She had him up one night putting tins, clothes, bottles and saplings into the stream. When the trap was blocked and some slight flooding of her premises took place she claimed and secured £200 compensation from the Council. So we can see where some of his wildness comes from.
July 26 Friday: I went to Colindale [for the British Library newspaper collection] to see if I could trace Mellows’s arrival in New York in January 1917, the date I am now inclined to favour, but I could find nothing. In the evening I was out with Pat Hensey who was telling me that there was “something wrong” with the Connolly Association, but he did not know what. Mostly it is the general disillusionment with Labour, against which only Trade Unionists are reacting; and to some degree it is that Sean Redmond and Joe Deighan suffer from the symptoms when they should not.
July 27 Saturday: I was in Kilburn with Chris Sullivan [ie. on the regular weekend sales rounds of the Irish public houses selling the “Irish Democrat”, the main “pub runs” being Camden and Kentish Town, Kilburn and Willesden, Paddington, Shepherd’s Bush, Hammersmith and Fulham, and in South London Brixton and the Elephant and Castle]. We met Brendan Redmond, Sean Redmond’s young brother. He told me that Tom Redmond was glad to be back in Dublin but detested the long morning trek from Enniskerry. He himself is to be married to an English girl next year, and it could be that his prospect triggered off Sean’s decision, which seemed to have an element of haste about it. Young Brendan now speaks with something approaching a Cockney accent, drops an occasional aitch, and affects that pseudo-enthusiastic, or should I say sympathetically enthusiastic, slightly estudiantine manner which shows you belong to a youth organisation. I remember how odd I found it in the lad who painted Pollitt’s picture – was it Sweet? – who was in the YCL till he was in his thirties, and bobbed up and down, grey hair and all, to the need to show youthful buoyancy. At the same time he is a good youngster, and might yet prove the best of them. He is furthest from the days of the small manufacturer of bedding [Mr Redmond Senior had had a small bedding business at the corner of Dame Street and Christ Church in Dublin before moving with his family to London]; driving the van for that was really Sean’s ruin. He has been spending his two weeks’ holiday working on the YCL Vietnam wagon. What a failure on Sean’s part that he could not interest this youngster. I was a little amused, however, when he was describing Manchester to me as if I had never seen it!
July 28 Sunday: We had the Standing Committee in the morning. Sean announced (as I anticipated) that if while on holiday in Dublin he found a suitable job, then he would stay there. This is of course his only chance of remaining active in politics in any way at all, and thus one can see the two trends. He was talking about voluntary workers taking over from him gradually – but I did not want some structure created which I would have to change later, so I said nothing. Joe Deighan was worried that the Belfast “Unity”[the CPNI weekly bulletin] was showing signs of retreat under pressure of Unionist demands that Mr Wilson should not “interfere” in the Six Counties. The only reply is a Republican one and many of them are Unionists at heart and are afraid to make it. There was an excellent meeting in Hyde Park following a parade, and we put the reply to the Unionists with great effect. Jim Kelly, Pat Bond, Sean Redmond, Chris Sullivan and others were there.
July 29 Monday: I was in the office at about 9.30 am. Sean Redmond came in at 11 am. dressed up, as Dorothy Deighan pointed out in her usual frank manner. He seemed displeased but said nothing. My guess is that there was an interview that did not fill him with self-confidence. I had what was substantially a wasted day.
July 30 Tuesday (Liverpool): I caught the 9 am. to Derby. It was late departing. Then there was a long wait for a bus at Derby. The works were closed for lunch when I reached Ripley. But the paper was produced smoothly. All was well. At lunch a man from Sheffield showed me a “Queen’s award to industry” badge he was wearing. His company had exported over a million pounds worth of goods. “But it’s going to ruin British industry,” he said. “Delivery dates for new equipment are so long we’ll be obsolete while the foreigners are using our new equipment.” I well believe it. At Crewe the train arived (on schedule) at 6.4 pm. The Liverpool train had left at 5.59. There was no other for over an hour. I took the 6.30 to Chester, wasted 30 minutes at Chester and arrived at Rock Ferry at about the same time as I would if I had gone to Lime Street. All this is of course deliberate. I found letters from Cathal, Michael Crowe and Sean Nunan.
The letter from Sean Nunan made mystery more mysterious, for he assured me that Mellows had been in the Nunan household at Leeson Grove on many occasions before 1916, and knew them well. My recollection is that his sister gave the impression that they had met him before, but I presumed it was in Dublin. I wrote to him at once enquiring about these earlier visits.
That from Michael Crowe said that he would be back on Saturday week at the latest, and Cathal merely told me of the number of visitors he has had and passed on the news about Tony Coughlan’s father for fear I had not heard.
The ground was parched when I arrived. Potassium nitrate I had sprinkled before I returned to London last had not been worked in, and it was very warm.
July 31 Wednesday: I spent the whole of the day working on an index of sources, so complex has the marshalling of information become.
August 1 Thursday: I spent the day for the most part completing the index, which was not a big job. But apart from that I had to water the garden very thoroughly. The drought has delayed growth.
August 2 Friday: I returned to the fray on the main work, and and was kept busy fixing Chapters six and nine.
August 3 Saturday: All day once more I was busy on Chapter Six. It is tedious pernickety work.
August 4 Sunday: I spent yet another day on the same job and seem no nearer finishing it than when I started.
August 5 Monday: I had a letter from Sean Redmond to the effect that he has decided to start his holiday a few days earlier. I replied that I was returning no sooner.
August 6 Tuesday (Glasgow): I left for Glasgow by the morning train and went to the head office of the Scottish Nationalist Party. There I met their national organiser, Ian MacDonald. I had quite a long talk with him. He is a hard-headed, almost bullet-headed character, with that type of middle-class fanaticism which my first impression was to compare with the Mosleyites before the war, but which I later likened more to that of determined young business executives. He has no interest in the Union of 1707, though he mentioned the Declaration of Arbroath. His case was that since the economic life of Scotland was more sluggish than that of England, the fiscal measures (“stop-go” as he calls it) that alternate in England just tolerably, do so intolerably (“stop-reverse!”) in Scotland. He had no objection to English or foreign monopolies operating in Scotland. He wanted Dominion Status, accepting the Queen as the head of the Commonwealth. He was prepared to limit defence expenditure to ten million a year, but would harbour no Polaris submarines or atomic war-heads. There would be “co-operation” in defence with Britain, and with NATO if it survives. There would be no question of neutrality, but Scotland would have its own diplomatic service for trade and so on. Transport policy and suchlike would be changed. I thought this an astute enough young fellow, and the party had avoided neatly all the awkward questions that would lose it votes. But what happens after it has got them? They demand separation at Westminster. They leave it if they don’t get it, and try Sinn Fein. He thought this would be a middle course avoiding the “errors” of Parnell and Griffith.
After ringing up I went out to Charlie Byrne’s.
August 7 Wednesday: I saw Alec Clarke at the National Office [ie. the Scottish area office of the CPGB] – now where Maggie Hunter used to live and Cathal stayed. Jimmy Reid was unable to get in because his wife was ill but he suggested I go out to Clydebank to see him. He met me at the bus stop and we both called on Finlay Hart. He reminded me of the day I flew a tricolour outside Yarrow shipyard [a major shipbuilding firm in the Scotstoun district of Glasgow] and there were ructions inside all day afterwards! Reid thought that MacDonald was not the most able person in the SNP, but that perhaps he represented what they stood for more accurately than others. We discussed a Scottish conference next February. I am not inclined to think there is much likely to come from the Glasgow Connolly Association. Indeed whether it will go on at all much longer I am inclined to wonder. Travers rang up in the evening and was very excited that the IRA had burned a ship that was trawling the local peoples’ herrings off the Galway coast. But it would be safe to say that he has not got a political idea in his head.
August 8 Thursday: I walked around the Gorbals and was told the “Bunch of Grapes” that Reader was telling me about was knocked down about a year ago and was on the Paisley Road beyond where Kingston Street ends. In the afternoon I went to Cambuslang and saw Dan Doherty. He reminded me of the day when we had a meeting there – it must have been about 1953 or not long afterwards.
August 9 Friday (Liverpool): I went to Edinburgh and after some difficulty found McGahey, President of the Scottish Miners. He told me that he lives in Cambuslang still and that he was present as a boy at the famous meeting Dan Doherty was speaking about! Again the flying of the tricolour was the exciting element. He was prepared to accept the idea of a conference and said he would suppport it. Of the Scottish Nationalists he said he said they were “chauvinists” and that they had got the support they had thanks to the neglect of the question by the Left. I caught the 5.20 pm. and returned to Liverpool.
There was an interesting contretemps on the way. At Waverley a soldier planted himself in a reserved seat by the window. Then a young man whom I took to be a student took the one opposite, very decisively, almost contemptuously I thought, pulling the reservation slip from the upholstery. “Aha,” thought I, “there is the modern student; an educated person should know better.” When he carefully put the slip in his pocket I said to myself, “And he’s cute too! Nobody will know there ever was one there.” The owner of the soldier’s seat came, and the guard moved him to the other side of the carriage, where other soldiers were sitting. But the student sat tight and I said to myself, “He is lucky. These are the people who drive away when they have knocked people down in their cars, and they are never caught.” After that, when we got to Carstairs, I went for dinner.
When I got back I found the soldiers had taken out cigarettes and the student was expostulating with them. I thought this damned cheek for somebody who had just squatted in somebody’s reserved seat. So I told them to smoke and be damned, even though I can’t stand it. But then the owner of the other reserved seat protested, so they hesitated at offending a woman. The matter was clinched when the student declared vehemently, “I’ve paid three shillings for a reserved seat in a non-smoker.” So they apologized and went into the corridor, and of course I was highly amused.
They all got out at Preston but the student who was going on to Liverpool. At once he wanted to make amends and discuss the incident. I told him just what I had thought of him, and assured him that he was quite right to insist as he had done. Then he said he might not have minded at all but for the fact that these people were soldiers, and he couldn’t stand soldiers; they were the lowest type of humanity. He told me he was from Crosby and studying veterinary science. He had been working for Edinburgh Corporation as a gardener for the vacation. Then his back grew so stiff he could not bend. He hoped it was not a slipped disc. I said I thought it unlikely, reflecting that the discs of people of his age usually keep their place reasonably well. So he had come home for his mother’s birthday, the parents having sent the fare.
He didn’t think much of the working class he was thrown among. But he kept a transistor radio going while he was weeding, so he didn’t notice them. He found the horticultural work satisfying but the fellow-employees merely curious. It was the first time he had seen them “in their menagerie”. With him was an eighteen-year old Scottish Nationalist, who was a prospective candidate in an election five years hence. He calls on twenty or more people each week, and thinks of nothing else. He says that if all else fails the Scots will adopt guerilla tactics and talks of secret tunnels joining Perth City and Berwick-on-Tweed! The young fellow was obviously influenced by this and on the whole shared the views of the “student Left”. “The only thing I miss at the University is a car. When I’m at home I drive all the time. I’m sure I must help to clutter up the roads, but I love doing it.” And I suppose in a few years, with his youthful liberalism behind him, he will charge £10 for killing a cat and love doing that. But now there is a queer mixture of orderliness, conscience, snobbery and romanticism.
August 10 Saturday: I got immediately busy, apart from tidying up the garden, on the 1916-18 chapters. John McClelland gave me a message from Michael Crowe.
August 11 Sunday: Again I spent the whole day working on the book.
August 12 Monday: Another day on the same job.
August 13 Tuesday: On the phone at last, Michael Crowe himself. Owing to some mix-up he had not arrived in Manchester on Saturday. The rest of the day I was busy on the book.
Asugust 14 Wednesday: The dry spell seems to be breaking. The garden has hardly developed since I went away. I practically finished the two chapters. Sean Redmond sent word that he was leaving on Saturday, and I decided to go on Friday.
August 15 Thursday: I finished the 1918 period, and started on 1919. I think I will try to get back next week and do some more.
August 16 Friday (London): I went to Rock Fery intending to go to Shrewsbury and see the Water Board people who apparently don’t reply to letters! But a porter came along the platform to tell the fifty odd people who were on their way to work that he didn’t know when the train would start. I got my money back, went on to Lime Street and came to London. I found Sean Redmond had taken some notice of the strong representations to organise, and so things had shown someprogress, if not much. I was out with Pat Hensey in Hammersmith but the torrential rain spoiled our trip.
August 17 Saturday: I did some preparatory work on the paper. In the evening I was with Pat Bond in the South. We had quite a good gossip over mutual friends, among them Roy Johnston and what Mairin calls his “sinnfeinigans”. Dorothy Deighan was in the office. She has conceived the idea of selling a diamond ring she had had for 20 years. When she went into Bravingtons at King’s Cross they offered her £145, which was exactly what she paid for it. I told her I was sure the price of platinum had risen, and that of diamonds too surely. I said I would write or ring WDP whose brother may still be in Johnson-Matheys and see if I can find out. Among the things Pat Bond said was much deploring the way Sean Redmond’s wife has systematically striven to pull him out. He says their common interest is theatre.
August 18 Sunday: I heard from Dorothy Deighan an interesting thing. Last Wednesday week when Sean Redmond was speaking, two burly characters she would swear were policemen came into the meeting. They said they were Welshmen and were on holiday in London for a few days and that they had heard me address Plaid Cymru in Bangor and were very impressed and thought they would come. How did they know about the meeting? They had been at the Welsh Club in Gray’s Inn Road. Dorothy remarked that they did not have Welsh accents. And they were very interested in violence. Why, they asked, did the Irish not start taking over the Six Counties by invading one county at a time. Finally before leaving they wheedled his name off Pat Hensey and a few others. Afterwards the whole branch was arguing whether they were policemen or not. Pat Hensey thought they “might not be”. I told him he was an innocent baby and he should have forced them to reveal themselves. I wondered whether to connect this with “Sean Lynch’s” tour with Roose-Williams. Such agent-provocateur work is rather darker than they usually stoop to.
We were in Hyde Park. A reporter from the Irish Times who had been at my lecture in Dublin button-holed me after I got down, which was a nuisance. But there it was. I don’t know what they will send – if they print it. Both Pat Hensey and Bobby Heatley did quite well. These impossible people with brains and no sense of purpose – Heatley I refer to. He is like Jack Bennett but I think even more subtle, yet will never accomplish anything. Jim Kelly and Chris Sullivan were there. I still had a cold, so I said to hell with expense and bought a bottle of whiskey, not of course all for one swig, but to stand the “duration”. And I went to bed early.
August 19 Monday: I was cursing having to do the paper, but it had to be done, so I worked all day at it.
August 20 Tuesday: I spent another day on the paper. Tony Coughlan sent his material, which was good. He is bringing his mother to Dublin next week. He may come over.
August 21 Wednesday: I was fast asleep at 7.45, having gone to bed late, when Des Logan telephoned. What on earth for? The Russians had invaded Czechoslovakia [ie.to suppress the liberalizing communist regime of Alexander Dubcek]. Thank you, I told him, and still having a cold went back to bed, but the unexpectedness of the news precluded sleep, so I got up again. The midday papers were out by 10 am., so I read about it. Pat Devine’s article, sent by hand, had a strong piece in support of the Russians. He has no tact. I re-wrote it and he agreed to have his name to the amended version. So that was fair enough.
The branch meeting was in the evening. But before I left the flat Des Logan rang again. What was the line of the Connolly Association on the Russian action? How did I know? It had not discussed it. Well, and Logan was slightly hesitant at his effrontery, or dubious of the response, what did I think? Did I support them? Support was something that demanded more knowledge than I possessed. But I would accept it. Why? Because Bohemia was the fortress of Europe and it would be better to argue the case, even if a bad one, with that in safe keeping, rather than try to reverse it now, which we couldn’t anyway. “Indeed,” said Logan with great solemnity, “Well, I tell you I was indignant. This will split the party. Every member I have spoken to says the same. And let me tell you that if the Connolly Association does not stand for self-determination for the Czech people, they will lose all standing among the Irish.” Sic David et Sibylla. I told him it was too hard to hold a discussion by telephone. He said he could not call as he was ill. An artery in his arm was blocked. I find this hard to believe, but he says it is so.
I went to the Branch meeting anticipating ructions. But there were none. First Joe Deighan telephoned that he had a filthy cold with temperature 100’F and was hugging a bottle of whiskey and going to bed. Those present included Bobby Heatley, Joy Rudd, Charlie Cunningham, Pat Hensey, Jim Kelly and a young Irish lad who seems intelligent. Bobby Heatley had previously been highly critical of Russian policy, whereas Tadhg Egan and I had been explaining some of the factors which were bound to determine it. This discussion stood us in good stead. There was no trouble. Charlie Cunningham, Jim Kelly and Pat Hensey understood perfectly, and Jim Kelly commnted on the hypocrisy of the British press.
August 22 Thursday: When I saw the Morning Star I saw that the boys in King Street had “deplored” the Russian action. I spoke to Pat Devine and told him I would have to reconsider the statement on the general principle of not making anything bad any worse. Devine said they had made a mistake. I had thought they were foolish to pronounce on the Czech “liberalisation”, as I am sure they did not know enough about it, nor indeed could they. Anyway they will not retreat now, I suppose. It is desirable however only to convey the Connolly Association line of policy. Pat Devine’s column is personal. So I wrote a special article, unfortunately in a desperate hurry as I had intended to leave for Liverpool early.
Betty Harrison came in [of the Tobacco Workers Union]. She was strongly critical of the Russians. She knew both East Germany and Czechoslovakia. She was in Prague about five years ago and the whole atmosphere was redolent of stagnation. A friend wrote to her this year and said, “The Spring has come.” Then she told her they feared Russian invasion. I said what about strategic considerations and West German penetration. She brushed this aside. “How many years will it be before we can trust the people?” I asked her had she any other explanations of the move. She had not. She was without guidance or policy.
Then I left for Liverpool
August 23 Friday (Liverpool): There was much to be done in the garden, and I must have spent the greater part of the day doing this.
August 24 Saturday: Again I worked on the garden. I also did most of a discussion article for Marxism Today on Scottish and Welsh Nationalism. John McClelland came in the evening before going on sales. He took something approaching Pat Devine’s line and would not even accept that mistakes might have been made. Later he telephoned me and said that Pat MacLoughlin’s views were so pro-Russian that he had written to George Mathews protesting at the Morning Star’s treatment! But Barney Morgan was nearly as bad as Des Logan.
August 25 Sunday: It is surprising how people do not see through the hypocrisy of the BBC and the newspapers. Surely they will soon be sickened of British tears for the poor Czechs. Pat Bond rang at night. He seems sound enough, I am glad to say, as he is the most important man in the CA[Pat Bond, who was comfortably off, gave the CA substantial donations from time to time].
August 26 Monday: Jean Hack next door found a man to mend the gutters that the snow earlier this year had damaged. I asked him to do mine, but ugh! £34. I sent off to the insurance company. D2F [a relation of his, Dorothy Greaves] had neglected to pursue the claim, so I wrote direct. For the rest of it I did a little work on the book.
August 27 Tuesday (London): I left in the morning and went to Ripley. After doing the paper I came on to London. I learned from Toni Curran that Jim Argue was back selling the paper, having become tired of the CDU! [The Labour Party-based Campaign for Democracy in Ulster]. But Gerry Curran says he can function in Hyde Park no more.
August 28 Wednesday: I spent most of the day sending out letters trying to raise funds. Barbara Haq had telephoned. Apparently after the ructions at Dungannon on Sunday [following the first Northern Ireland civil rights march form Coalisland to Dungannon under the auspices of the NICRA, at which Gerry Fitt, Betty Sinclair, Austin Currie and others were speakers] Gerry Fitt had gone to Westminster very disgusted and went to see Harold Wilson. Wilson was too busy restoring democracy in Czechoslovakia and told Fitt as much. Fitt was fuming and met Stan Newens. “I’ll give them something to think about,” says Fitt. “I’m going to call in Tariq Ali.” Newens had to promise to get the MCF to do something before he would stop. So Barbara Haq booked (tentatively) Trafalgar Square for October 20th, and rang me for advice on the content of the thing. I told her we would give every support. So then I decided to ask the Central London [CA branch] to change their conference on September 11 into one that would prepare a contingent for this. I had no difficulty in persuading the branch to agree, so all was well.
August 29 Thursday: I was busy all day in the office. In the evening I went to the CP meeting on Czechoslovakia. Iris Walker, Judith Todd and others were there – about 300 in all. I sat by Joe Bent. He seemed reserved and depressed. The members started their emotional displays. “Under stress of political excitement,” I remarked to him, “the Englishman becomes almost human.” And he laughed and relaxed and said he had been pulled hither and thither all week. I missed Jack Woddis’s statement. Charles Doyle, the American-Irishman who was once friendly with that snake O’Shea, took up the standpoint of the Americans, very stridently, very challengingly. He was interrupted. There were cheers and counter-cheers. The others spoke from the other side. The thing that was so remarkably absent from most of the speeches was the element of modesty. The nationalism of the English, their parochialism, narrow practicalism, all came out, together with their irrepressible determination to say just what they liked how they liked, and a sense of fairness that was as complex as their appreciation of principle was simple, all showed. I could understand Marx’s experiences at the meetings of the First International. But I must say I prefer the Irish a thousand times, though they also have produced their crop of rats. I think it was the arrogance everywhere that repelled me – though it did not appear in the platform or among the experienced people who spoke. Bill Hardy was almost having apoplexy defending the Russians. Des Logan was clapping the orators as loudly as he could. This morning Malin came in and said thank God for the days of Stalin were back at last! Tom Aherne, erst so chilly, came forward to shake hands and indicate that he did not see the Russians were excluded on principle from performing their act of intervention. There were equally good people on both sides, and Woddis made a good showing of what was a poor hand in his summing-up. Apart from Des Logan all the Irish incline to be pro-Russian. We had a chat with Jack Henry afterwards, that is, Chris Sullivan and myself. Des Logan discovered he was very tired when somebody offered him a lift in a car. Aherne was very upset that it should be suggested that anybody who sympathised with the Russians should be accused of not agreeing with the “British Road to Socialism”. This question came up several times. I could only conclude that what I had seen, or for that matter what anybody had seen, was but the tip of the iceberg, and one could not even be sure whether what was under the water was ice at all.
August 30 Friday: I was busy in the office all day. Then in the evening I was in Hammersmith with Pat Hensey. We had quite a good turn-out. But what vicissitudes otherwise hardly bear record. Gerald Griffin called in the afternoon and I had to spend some time with him. I got home later than usual and found the flat had been burgled and the good typewriter stolen. I got the police but expect no results! I had hardly got back to the office when four fire engines rolled up and began pumping water into the large building a few doors away from which smoke was proceeding. The fire was put out. Then a hose became detached from a hydrant and shot a high-pressure jet at a motor-cyclist who, though drenched, was fortunately at the far side of the road.
August 31 Saturday: Jim Argue came in during the morning and is on sales again tonight and the Branch circular and Conference invitation was sent out by a working party composed of Jim Kelly, Charlie Cunningham, Pat Hensey and Chris Sullivan. There is no doubt that these boys will respond to proper leadership and I think there can be little doubt that the growth of slackness arose from Sean Redmond’s deficiency in this field. In the evening I was in the South with Pat Bond.
September 1 Sunday (Liverpool): I was busy in the office most of the day, apart from the afternoon at Hyde Park. There were no sizeable ripples from the Czech storm. Possibly the CP statement took the heat out of things. Or possibly people had learned since Hungary and there was no need to make one. Joe Deighan, Jim Kelly, Charlie Cunningham, Chris Sullivan and others were there and I was out with Pat Hensey in the evening. I left by the night train for Liverpool.
September 2 Monday: I found a letter from Jeremiah O’Leary’s son saying that the father is still alive, though blind and 87 years old. Maire Comerford also wrote saying May Hearn will be in Ireland next month and would like to meet me. She has Mellows’s letters with her. “If we don’t see her before she gets to the Aras,” says Maire[where President De Valera, with whom Mellows had been in America, would be interested in seeing or obtaining the letters], “it is goodbye to them.” I spent the day on the book.
September 3 Tuesday: I spent another day on the analysis of Dail Eireann. Otherwise it was uneventful.
September 4 Wednesday (London): I returned to London, did a few things in the office and got ready for Gerald Griffin’s meeting. It was not as well attended as I would have hoped. There were Pat Hensey, Joe Deighan, Charlie Cunningham, Chris Sullivan, Jim Kelly, Jane Tate, Dorothy Deighan and a new promising lad, O’Donohue from Mayo, who applied to join. And Peter Mulligan was back, promising to stay back (more or less) after his holiday in Yugoslavia. We had a wee party afterwards to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Connolly Association, which all enjoyed.
September 5 Thursday: The Biafrans moved in today[ie.supporters of Ibo/Biafran secession in the Nigerian civil war]. That kept me at 283 Gray’s Inn Road. I was mostly busy on next week’s meeting. As I was writing letters at about 8 pm. who should telephone but Roy Johnston. He arrived at about 8.30. Not ten minutes later Michael O’Riordan rang. Roy answered the phone. But O’Riordan would not tell him who was speaking. “Is Desmond Greaves there?” “Yes.” “Very good. I hope he straightens you out.” When I spoke to him he said, “Congratulations on your stand on the Czech affair. I think I told you there were complications in Dublin.” He had, it is true, when he phoned me the IWP statement, hinted that he did not agree with it. Then O’Riordan declared, “Can’t you do something to knock sense into to other peoples’ heads?” He added, “people that are not far away.” I put two and two together, and he rang off on his way to catch the Irish mail. “Knocking” sense into heads is easier talked about than done, so I discounted that as a pious wish. What I am really wondering about is how they will get out of it, something much more important than “knocking”.
I had a long talk with Roy. I think he is largely at sea. He wonders if he has been wasting his time in his “Sinnfeinigans” as Mairin called it. He had opposed the burning of the ship at Galway, rightly or wrongly [a recent IRA incident]. He was not hard persuaded that the Russians might have a case in Czechoslovakia. He told me that Tony Coughlan had drawn the conclusion that the Russians must be mad! Cathal (in Roy’s words) thought they could “do no wrong”. And others fitted into other parts of the spectrum. Joe Deighan met us by accident. He also is a very confused man. Roy had said the burning of the ship was “covering up for the cooperative movement”. “A fat lot of good a coperative marketing organisation will be if all the fish are on board the Yankee trawlers,” said I. Joe Deighan interpreted this as an attack on the coperative movement. The idea seems to be to leave them to compete with toy hammers! If these Republicans will not go into Parliament and influence State policy, they have no alternative but to burn the ship, and it is Roy who is illogical. “I’m not a physical force man,” says he. Then why masquerade? I enquired. He told me the Republican Clubs were about to launch a grand Civil Disobedience campaign in the North. Now that in itself would not worry me. But I asked him if they had consulted the Trade Unions, or the Labour Movement. Of course they had not. So they learn nothing and forget nothing, and are liable to go off on any tangent.
September 6 Friday: I was in the office in the morning arranging for the arrival of the Biafrans, who have sublet from us. I went to Colindale only to find there were no seats. In the evening I was with Pat Hensey in Hammersmith. He told me about Sean Redmond’s plans, not a word of which I had heard. He intends to become a Trade Union official, if possible in Dublin, and proposes to “have a word” with the notorious Trotsky Matt Merrigan [an official of the ATGWU in Dublin]. Failing that he will try to get a job as a Trade Union official in Britain – I suppose like Halliday! Of course the reason why he would tell me nothing was fear of disapproval. It is strange how I have had “hunches” over what he was at. Just after he was married I guessed his idea was to persuade me to give up the editing of the paper so that he could bring in his wife as typist. He launched an attack on my editorial abilities to Peter Mulligan which Peter (after a drink) disclosed. At another time he was licking the backside of Tony Smythe of the NCCL, so that I suspected he was looking for a job there. Everything but a frank discussion of the extremely difficult problem of running the Connolly Association and raising the finance to do it. And his failure in running it? The insistence on leaving at 5.30 every evening so that he cannot use the voluntary workers. Even in the three weeks he has been away the “morale” has improved.
September 7 Saturday: I was in Colindale for most of the day, telephoning Pat Hensey at lunch time to see all was well in the office. In the evening I saw Pat Bond.
September 8 Sunday (Liverpool): I took the 2.30 train to Liverpool and arrived at Mount Road at 6 pm. Ashford the contractor had done the work on the gutters and had taken his ladders away. This was February’s snow damage. The garden seems to have recovered from the drought.
September 9 Monday: I spent most of the day working on the Dáil Eireann chapter. It is slow work. The weather was September at its best.
September 10 Tuesday: I spent another day working on the Dail Eireann chapter, and it was still slow work. The weather was September at its worst.
September 11 Wednesday (London): I returned to London. First I saw Barbara Haq [of the Movement for Colonial Freedom] and got a favourable impression of arrangements. but she referred me to Stan Newens, the MP for Harlow, the new town. When I got back to the office Sean Redmond was there. He told me that Cathal had foolishly allowed John Sheridan’s son to drive his father’s car and he had put it into a traffic standard. There was Mairin’s description of Roy on the day the Russians went into Czechoslovakia. He didn’t go into work. When she returned about midday he was wandering round the place unshaven and in his dressing gown muttering, “the Russians!” Then he made tea and kept knocking the cup on the saucer, a habit of his, until she had to take it off him! Apparently O’Riordan had called an Irish Workers Party meeting while Nolan and Jeffares were on holiday and was defeated by about 18 to 13, something which did not please him. He told me he had this from Tom Redmond, that useless little specimen. I gathered that he and Tom would be against Michael O’Riordan, but Sean did not try to argue the point.
The meeting was fairly well attended. But I had spoken to Newens and was displeased. He is talking about personally inviting Lawless [ie. the Trotskyite Gery Lawless] while telling him that he must cause no trouble. I told him that if he gives status to those mad elements we may consider not participating – this I wrapped up of course. What nincompoops these “Lefts” are! No wonder he will lose his seat. Griffin was there.
September 12 Thursday: I was busy all day on the paper. Tony Coughlan’s copy has not arrived, it may be owing to the postal strike in Ireland. I am awaiting a letter from Maire Comerford, who is a good correspondent. In the evening I went to South London and saw Pat Bond, Bobby Rossiter and the wild man Gallivan.
September 13 Friday: I kept going on the paper. Maire Comerford’s letter arrived, postmarked September 5th. She confirmed that Miss Hearne would be with her in October, and that the plan is to keep De Valera’s hands off the Mellows correspondence. In the evening I went to Hammersmith with Pat Hensey. I think I detect a general stiffening of morale, which was in my opinion needed. The successful meeting on Wednesday helped and the clearer sense of direction. Sean Redmond seems somewhat more vigorous after his holiday, but works on a strict 10 am. – 5.30 pm. basis. Today he was laboriously copying into the minute book what could have been typed and stuck in. My guess is that he has not had much success in Dublin and is now not in such a hurry to give up the job. There is nothing in the EC agenda about his departure. But if he wishes to stay after the end of the year he must justify it. However, being completely uncommunicative, he “reserves his defence”. It will be a damned surprise if he delays.
September 14 Saturday: I continued the paper – having to assume Tony Coughlan’s stuff was not coming. I had no answer to a wire I sent him. In the evening again I was with Pat Hensey, this time in Paddington. Jim Argue is active again and out with Charlie Cunnigham. But he drinks too much, and last night I told him so, in a delicate way of course. We had a drink, but when we were in the saloon it began to rain again. After all the warm September weather today has been cool and wet, except for the evening.
September 15 Sunday: What a day I woke up to! Endless torrential rain, bubbling off the streets, and an east wind. I got to the office in a solitary lull, and was marooned there, unable even to go for lunch, until Pat Bond drove me in his car to the Indian Restaurant at 6 pm. It had been at it all night, thundering into the bargain, and Bond announced that all the railway lines were cut in southeast London. We held the EC, but only Michael Crowe was present from the provinces. He thinks Peter Scully will do the sales in Manchester, but he needs a helpmate. Michael will go back for an occasional weekend. Joe McCrudden is probably largely responsible. I spent the evening on the paper. At 10 pm. Charlie Cunningham arrived so we had a drink in the Pindar of Wakefield. He told me about Bobby Heatley, who had not turned up today. He had told Charlie he had just finished writing a play. How universal is the desire to escape from the treadmill of modern society, which will only be alleviated by socialism, not cured, or not for years. He still harps on his dismissal from the shipyard in Belfast and having to give up fulltime work for the youth. Charlie said he heard him and he tackled him “While you were moaning about victimisation, there were other young fellows dying on the Border”[ie. in the late 1950s IRA campaign]. I was amused and intrigued at this. It was an unexpected strip of steel in a person I never thought of as a particularly strong character. Indeed I was much more interested in the insight into Charlie Cunningham than into Bobby Heatley. Charlie says Heatley suffers from “lack of self-confidence”. But that is attributing to Bobby his own weakness. What is the matter with Heatley is that he is damned lazy. He wants to have distinction without earning it. How many young people are like that.
Now at 10.30 the torrents begin again.
September 16 Monday: It was dry in the day – it was surprising. You would hardly believe it. I went to Colindale. But at 7 pm. it began again. Buckets!
September 17 Tuesday: I was busy in the office all day. It was mostly a matter of clearing things up. In the evening the Central London Branch committee met – Pat Hensey, Joe Deighan and Jim Kelly. They showed little imagination. Joe Deighan’s main concern is that he should not become involved in any extra work. Here was an example. I passed on to him some most interesting material from Mrs McCluskey [of the Campaign for Social Justice in Dungannon] suggesting it might make the basis of a talk. When he had gone Pat Hensey told me they had decided to send it to Tom Leonard, now a full-time organiser for the NUR [National Union of Railwaymen] and ask him to give a talk on it. I told him this was absurd. “But he’s a North of Ireland man. Joe said so.” “He is,” I replied, “but from Bundoran or Ballyshannon – a vastly different thing from Dungannon.”
September 18 Wednesday: I was in the office all day. Tony Coughlan’s copy came, delayed a week in the post. The branch meeting took place. I heard Pat Hensey announce that “Tom Leonard had some interesting new material on the situation in the Six Counties, and that since he was from that part, it would be doubly interesting!” I thought to myself, “that man would say anything to please.” Sean Redmond gave the talk and it was quite good; it was on his experiences in Dublin. Joe Deighan came up with the proposal to invite the editor of a new cultural magazine, “The Celt”, to come and solicit subscriptions. What a man. I got him a ticket for the Wallace commemoration and invited him to represent the Democrat and give me a report for the paper. Not a line came. Not even an indication that he was present. But he was – and this is the result. Well might we regret the days when there were people like Cathal and Tony Coughlan and Cal O’Herlihy, even though the last one has gone to the bad.
September 19 Thursday (Liverpool): I went into the office in the morning, but in the afternoon came to Liverpool intending to begin my holiday.
September 20 Friday (London): I decided that I should have made some provision for the possibility of another burglary. So, expensive though it was, I took a cheap trip to London. I had intended to fix a padlock. Then I thought this might draw attention. So I left a note for Fitzgerald, who lives below, asking him to keep an eye on things and ring Sean Redmond or Toni Curran if there was anything wrong. I availed of the trip to bring a load of books. I heard on the radio that the Wilson bunch have declared that they will go to war with Russia if she invades Germany under the UNO or Yalta agreements. And what can be done? Here is the first result of the folly committed earlier this month [ie. the Russian intervention in Czechoslovakia]. I have not written anything about it. I would if I could see any way to get them out of the mess.
September 21 Saturday (Liverpool): I called in to the office for a minute or two and then came on to Liverpool and started again on the book.
September 22 Sunday: I decided to spend a few days on Chapter 10 and see if I could finish it. So I started.
September 23 Monday: Another day spent entirely on the book. I rang John McClelland who suggested my meeting him tomorrow evening.
September 24 Tuesday: I worked on Chapter 10 all day, and slow work it is. Then in the evening John McClelland called and we went to the Halfway House. I was last in it with Stan Coulthard and Ness Coulthard in the year 1940 after I came back from Barrow-on-Furness. It was somewhat glorified since then, but like every place here has a proletarian clientele. Crowded too, the place is booming, as McClelland put it. John broke the news to me that he is returning to Ireland after Christmas. He has no hope of work at his trade. So he proposes to open a “wee shop” and hope for the best. He is 36 and thinks he is “getting on”. Of course all this arises from the intolerable position in this country under the most contemptible government ever to disgrace it.
September 25 Wednesday: I spent another day on Chapter 10, and gradually it is beginning to take shape. I am reducing the period 1919-20 to political order. Beasley and Dorothy Macardle only give an order of events in time [ie. in their respective books].
September 26 Thursday: All day on the book. I have practically finished Chapter 10 and can turn my attention to Chapter 11, not quite so difficult but bad enough. In the evening I went to the CA meeting in Tarleton Street. There were about twelve people there. Pat MacLaughlin is complaining of breathlessness and he looks ill. He says, “it is indigestion.” I thought it might be heart disease and told him so, to scare him into consulting a doctor. J. Roose Williams was there, Eve Gormley, some young people from the Irish Club, and Brian Stowell. But John McClelland’s talk sounded to me very amateurish. But then these are people whose best hours are spent on very different things.
September 27 Friday: I was 55 this evening. The day I spent writing. The evening also – but not the latter part of it. Angus Macpherson used to say that at 55 a man begins to experience “senile depression”. I didn’t notice any of it coming on, but thought I’d better have a bottle of Moselwein to try to ward it off.
September 28 Saturday: Another day on the book. I had thought to go to the cottage but the weather is appalling. Constant rain.
September 29 Sunday: Again, as it as wet, I stuck to the last. Chapter 11 is beginning to show some shape.
September 30 Monday: Again twelve hours writing. It is tiring, but the rain continues to pour, so this is the best thing to do.
October 1 Monday: Incredible, but it rained again all day. My plans for a holiday are ruined. I may get a few days but that is all. So I got on with the book.
October 2 Wednesday: Rain again, but slightly less heavy. I am beginning to see the back broken of Chapter 11.
October 3 Thursday: Apart from a brief trip to the City to buy envelopes and suchlike I was writing morning, noon and night.
October 4 Friday: At precisely 8.25 pm. I finished Chapter 11 and got Mellows out of the United States. That also merited Moselwein.
October 5 Saturday: I thought at first of going to the cottage but spent so long clearing up that I failed to get started. [This was the day on which the civil rights marchers in Duke Street, Derry, were assaulted by the RUC under the orders of Northern Home Minister William Craig, television coverage of which brought the situation in Northern Ireland to world attention.]
October 6 Sunday (Salop): I cycled to Chester, then took the train to Gobowen and then cycled on to “The Bog”. I saw Mrs Corbett who told me that there are more changes pending in the neighbourhood. The old Miners Arms has been turned into a luxurious country house for some city person. The “bog” itself has been sold for forestry. This will introduce conifers, I suppose, but will not be too bad, and will take time. I learned that the incredible Water Board are slow with everything.
October 7 Monday (Liverpool): I spoke to Mr Pugh. He told me not to waste time trying to persuade the Water Board to cut a trench and bring the water down but to ask a local farmer who has a mechanical digger, and to buy the pipe myself in Bishop’s Castle. I thought this good advice. I returned by cycling to Salop in the afternoon and reached 124 Mount Road by about 8 pm.
October 8 Tuesday: I spent another day cleaning up, then left for Dublin on the Leinster in the evening.
October 9 Wednesday (Dublin): I went straight up to Cathal’s where Helga showed me the new arrival, little Killian, the spit of Cathal, and told me that they had wondered when they saw the head of black hair what to call it. Dougall somebody said. Anyway they decided on Killian Desmond Peter, the second name after myself. He will therefore be voracious when he comes of chocolate-eating age.
I had lunch with Tony Coughlan. Then we had a drink. Cathal Goulding and Misneach [Seamus O Tuathail, editor of the Sinn Fein monthly,the “United Irishman”, who had previously been active in the Misneach Irish language organisation] joined us in the Pearl Bar. I asked them if they weren’t too far to the Left. Oh No. Well then, if they stood for socialism why didn’t they join the working class movement? The Unions and Labour Party would never do anything. “So you have a short cut?” I asked. They said they had. It is to be hoped it proves shorter than their cut to a United Irish Republic. Tony Coughlan had been in Derry and was drenched by a water cannon [This occurred when Duke Street was being cleared by the RUC following the demonstration on the previous Saturday. Anthony Coughlan was an observer from the Dublin Wolfe Tone Society and arrived from Dublin just as the demonstration began and he observed it from behind the police lines]. Gill and Mitchell were there. Cathal Goulding was not. He had intended to go but his car broke down. I said I thought they should all keep away. But you might as well talk to the table. Cathal Goulding then yanked Tony Coughlan off to an Editorial Meeting of the “United Irishman”! [Coughlan was not a member of that paper’s Editorial Committee or of the Republican Movement. He was a personal friend of Seamus O Tuathail’s who was the paper’s editor although he was not a member of Sinn Fein or the IRA either. This was presumably a special meeing called in response to the crisis following the Derry events].
Later I was at Cathal’s and Tony Coughlan and O’Toole came in. Then Roy Johnston came in looking very jaded. I gave him a further talking-to – but he is entrapped in a web of his own weaving. At midday I had seen O’Riordan who told me he had had trouble with Nolan over Czechoslovakia. This was indirectly confirmed when Sean Nolan came in. Smilingly he said, “I hope you’re not here to make trouble.” I said I doubted if I could add much to what was here already.
October 10 Thursday (Belfast/Derry): I went to Belfast, called on Betty Sinclair, found she was out and rang Jack Bennett who saw me for a few minutes at York Street. Then I went to Derry and booked in at the Melville. I had no addresses so I called in at the Derry Journal and saw Ivan Cooper on their advice at the hotel in which he runs a bar [Cooper was of Protestant background and was chairman of the Derry Citizens’ Action Committee. He was later one of the founders of the SDLP and a Stormont MP]. I was not impressed by him or his partner. They had come under the sort of Lawless influence that rejects Trotskyism but makes use of its anti-communist content. Still he told me of the new committee from which McCann [Eamon McCann, member of Gery Lawless’s Irish Workers Group in London in the early 1960s and later a prominent member of the Socialist Workers Party in Derry] had walked out in a scunder.
October 11 Friday (Derry/Dublin): I drove out to O’Doherty’s in Prehen. His mother showed me the proclamation received on Friday last [presumably the order of Northern Home Minister William Craig banning the Duke Street civil rights march]. She gave me Melaugh’s address [Eamon Melaugh, member of the Derry Housing Action Committee and the NICRA] and I went there. His wife told me he had gone to sign on at the “Barroo” [colloquial name for the Employment Exchange, presumably from “bureau”]. So I went there, the taxi man meanwhile describing the event of last Saturday. Finally I went into the “barroo” and waited inside its dingy premises till Melaugh came in, after which I went with him to take photographs and ended at the City Hotel. The town was swarming with journalists. This was useful as I got one or two lifts in their cars. At the City Hotel one of the Sunday papers was buying Melaugh a lunch. When I arrived McCann was there, very dark and dapper, and as obviously a chancer as anyone you’d meet. Melaugh at one point said they should go to the Labour Exchange. I don’t know why again, perhaps it was McCann. That gentleman replied, “I’ll ring the manager. I’ll make an apppointment for four – I’m not going to wait two hours.” “If it’s good enough for ordinary people to wait two hours it should be good enough for us,” said Melaugh. “It’s not a matter of principle,” said McCann. He said this several times over different things and I concluded there was a feeling in McCann’s mind that matters of principle should not be multiplied. “Really now,” said the Sunday Times photographer, ”I’m given to understand, Mr McCann, that you are the extremist and Mr Melaugh is the moderate. But in everything I have heard you say, you are the moderate and Mr Melaugh is the extremist.” This was a fair comment. I tried to get a map of Derry on which to have a plan for the paper, but not a single shop but had sold out. I secured a deal of important information highly damaging to Mr Craig [ie. the Stormont Home Affairs Minister who had banned the 5 Octoer march in Derry], and then took the afternoon train to Belfast. It was late as I missed the “Enterprise”, but finally reached Dublin at 9 pm.
October 12 Saturday (Dublin): I found I had a filthy cold – desperate! For the most part I lounged about but managed to struggle into town for a spell. Cathal MacLiam,Tony Coughlan and some others went to Kerry to speak at Keep PR meetings [The then Fianna Fail Government was holding a referendum on 16 October seeking to abolish Proportional Representation and replace it with the UK first-past-the-post electoral system]. I heard Enid Lakeman [of the British Electoral Reform Society] was in town but missed her. They all think that the Government will be defeated.
October 13 Sunday: I felt somewhat better but did little, except that in the evening I went out to see Maire Comerford. She says Miss Hearn is in town, and that John Hearn broke with De Valera in 1926. She says she has Liam Mellows’s last letter and Miss Hearn wants it back. She showed me the originals of the photocopies I was sent, and talked of giving them to the National Library. Apparently Snoddy was coming up [ie. Oliver Snoddy of the National Museum]. I was not too pleased at this – that means they will go to the Museum. But I said nothing.
October 14 Monday: I saw Miss Hearn at Jury’s [ie. Jury’s Hotel], a rather dignified schoolmistresslike American lady who gave me a good impression. She told me she had sent De Valera the letter in this way: A friend was travelling to Ireland and brought it with instructions to deposit it in a national institution. She showed it to De Valera who kept it and wrote saying he would do so, but never did. I advised her to swear an affidavit with a Republican solicitor and instruct him to act immediately when De Valera died, showing his receipt and noting a claim on the estate. Thus the old man can have the pleasure of keeping it while he is alive, but it will not be possible for his heirs to sell it to an American University.
I did little else. I still had a cold. I saw Cathal in the evening. He had stayed with Tony Meade [former editor of the “United Irishman”]. He is wondering whether to remain in Tralee with the prospect of becoming editor of the Kerryman or whether to return to Dublin and go into a printing business. He is not very popular with the Republicans. They think he writes articles for the Kerryman whch draw too much from his knowledge of Republicanism. Cathal told me how he left the United Irishman. He was very displeased with their refusal to treat the paper as anything but a fund raiser, and took two days off walking in Wicklow. Then he returned and resigned. I took the Leinster back to Liverpool.
October 15 Tuesday(London): I called in at 124 Mount Road, answered correspondence and came straight on to London. Sean Redmond was away – as I learned later with Misneach at Eton [ie. where “Misneach”, ie. Seamus O Tuathail, was distributing leaflets to the students there about the role of the College bursar, Proby, as a major ground-landlord in Dublin]. I got on with the next issue of the paper. I saw him later.
October 16 Wednesday: As I discovered, Sean Redmond went to Wolverhampton and Coventry. It is good that he does some travelling. Barbara Haq rang up. Lawless has been in to see her to say that unless McCann was invited to speak on Sunday [at the MCF meeting on the Derry events] he would bring out the “International Socialists” and sabotage the demonstration. She told him to go to hell, after which Newens [Stan Newens MP, leading light in the Movement for Colonial Freedom] wrote and appealed to his better self. I said I thought Newens was an inexperienced person (I paid him that compliment). She replied that he wanted to be everybody’s friend. No doubt that may woo the voters, or so he thinks. At the meeting in the evening Malachy McKenna appeared. Jim Kelly insists he is with Lawless. He sharply dissented when I said we did not want violence on Sunday, but later calmed down. Loftus, the Anti-Partition League man who also inclines to this view, later said he had said no such thing.
October 17 Thursday: Again I was on to Barbara Haq. The Manchester Guardian had boosted a non-existent Connolly Association parade to the Ulster Office, and said it was to be infiltrated by militants. It had failed to publish Barbara Haq’s correction or to enquire of the CA whether this was true. I told Barbara Haq I remember that thirty years ago the Guardian was crawling with Trotskies. She says it is now worse than ever. I told her to get her solicitor moving and threaten to report them to the Press Council. If there is violence they will have helped to cause it. I also suggested informing the police that this had appeared in the Guardian. Later I learned that she had done so. “Who do you expect to cause trouble?” asked the Scotland Yard man who visited her. “We don’t know,” she replied, “but you see that newspaper.” He then gave her a new route which avoids the vicinity of the Ulster Office which is no longer in Regent Street anyway. I continued with the paper until later. Joe Deighan rang the good news about the referendum [where the Irish Government’s proposed constitutional amendment on changing the voting system had been defeated by 61% to 39% on a 65% turnout of voters].
October 18 Friday: I continued with the paper. Sean Redmond said he had quite good gatherings in Coventry and Wolverhampton. He has started something at any rate. The recent excitements in the Six Counties have stimulated interest as never before. It was very fortunate that at our EC a few months ago we decided to resume the Six-County campaign. I saw Pat Hensey in the evening in Hammersmith. He told me that Malachy McKenna had told him after the meeting that he is “absolutely fascinated” by Trotskyism, so that our fears were justified. We saw from Tribune that McCann is coming anyway. He is billed for some public house as a member of the Committee in Derry, even though he is not on it any more. They wouldn’t have him.
October 19 Saturday: In the morning I met Betty Sinclair at the Air Terminal and brought her to 283 Gray’s Inn Road where Sean Redmond, Pat Hensey, Charlie Cunningham, Jim Kelly, Dorothy Deighan and others came. Then I had lunch with her. She told me of the sharp internal differences within the Civil Rights Committee [ie.the NICRA Executive], the jealous desire for publicity and the anti-communism of Heatley [Fred Heatley, Belfast local historian, an independent member of the NICRA Executive]. What is bad is the refusal of the CP to participate effectively. At the Political Committee when she raised the question the Chairman Andy Barr looked at his watch. She said that both he and Graham wanted Trade Union jobs, and Barr in particular will fight strenuously any line of policy that would lose him ground in the Trade Unions. Thus party policy is made subordinate to the Sheet Metal Union – the old old story, the unholy alliance I have been battering my head against for twenty and more years [Andy Barr was then President of the Sheet Metalworkers Union, as well as President of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions. In 1974 he became President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Jimmy Graham was secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering Union. Both were CPNI members, Andy Barr being the party chairman]. Though they may or may not all be aware of it I can imagine that the attitude of some people to the Czech business is influenced by the same considerations. Of McCann she said that if he was on the platform she would walk off. It would have a disastrous result in the Six Counties. She had high praise for McAteer [ie. Eddie McAteer, Northern Ireland Nationalist Party leader] who though struck in the testicles by a truncheon stood by her side all through the meeting [ie. the 5 October gathering before the march in Duke Street, Derry]. We also discussed the Republicans who, she says, are very difficult to work with. They invited her to one of their committee meetings, secret no doubt, but she did not go. I said I thought she was right. Have the talks in her office on equal terms. They are too good at inveigling members of other organisations.
The sort of thing Heatley does is this. He proposed on the committee that all those who walked at Derry should sign a document and present it to the RUC saying that they walked in an illegal procession. This was right at the end of the meeting and it was for some reason agreed to. When Betty got home she said to herself, “Why, in God’s name, should I?” She didn’t sleep a wink that night. Next morning she went to McAnerney [John McAnerney, secretary of the NICRA ] and said, “Not me. I’m having nothing to do with it.” Now he also had had second thoughts. Together they went to a third, who felt the same. Heatley was indignant. But somebody evolved the formula that while they had agreed that they would thus “give themselves up”, they had not decided when, so it was left at that.
In the evening Charlie Cunningham came in. He had obtained the news, probably from some of the Hyde Park gossipers he is prepared to waste his time talking to, that the “International Socialists” met today to discuss sabotaging the meeting tomorrow. Others think they will concentrate on advertising the evening meeting at the Square. He also said that the “New IRA” as they call themselves, consists of one or two headcases from Bedford and Luton who meet in a public house with Dalton and a few others. It is strange how these crazy Leftist pub-groups gather – all hating each other and insulting each other, but meeting every week. Later I met Pat Hensey [ie. to go selling the “Irish Democrat” with].
October 20 Sunday: This was a brilliant October day with a temperature around 70’F. I was in the office soon after 8 am. finishing the paper. Then at 10.30 we held the Standing Committee. For the second time Sean Redmond said nothing about his impending resignation. Nor did I. He seems to be working very hard of late, so that just what change has taken place we can only guess at. I proposed a new approach and it was accepted – the drafting of an Amending Bill to the Government of Ireland Act, a conference to discuss it, a lobby to persuade an MP to bring it up as a Private Member’s Bill, and councils of action to agitate. Joe Deighan and Pat Hensey were there. The recent events have improved their morale and they are not so trying to work with.
I went to Hyde Park early. I noticed Dalton there, but he had only a few with him at the meeting when I started it. There was no opposition whatsoever. From all sides Irish and others crowded in. The young Welshman of the LSE whom I met at Bangor was there with the Plaid Cymru banner. His name is English – Keith Bush. But he could not be more patriotic if it were Llewelyn ap Grufydd! Kearns, who is sometimes hostile, asked if the Republican (Wood’s outfit) Party could come. I said they could as long as they didn’t bring Lawless’s crowd.
As we moved off I saw Lawless, outflanked, outmanoeuvred and disconsolate, standing watching, together with some of his touts. I was close enough to notice that they were reeking of whiskey. They had their sellers at intervals along the route. But all went well. Before we started Chris Sullivan reported from the Square that he had been prevented from putting out the chairs and attaching the streamer. But all went well in the end. The police had erected crash-barriers – something that never happened with the CA. Behind them about twelve of Lawless’s touts shouted, “We want McCann”, but soon grew tired. Partway through Sean Hurley, as mad as ever, brought up a note from Lawless asking if McCann’s girl friend [probably Bernadette Devlin] could speak. Sean Redmond objected and Fitt also objected. Newens would have allowed it. McEllistrim said a few words on behalf of Clann na hEireann, and it was well they were few as they were ill-chosen. Betty Sinclair, Fitt and Sean Redmond were in top form. Everybody was delighted at the collection of £200 and there was a sense that history was made [because of the wide unity of the Irish organisations at a meeting organised by a British body, the MCF].
We went to Schmidt’s for dinner, then to a public house near the office for a social evening. About six of the Clann na hEireanns were there; Patsy Byrne who has joined the CA [Byrne was a leading light in the Labour Party-based Campaign for Democracy in Ulster]. He was in the Park and after speaking to Luke O’Connor who was glowering at the turn-out which was not under UIA control[United Irish Association, remnants of the old Anti-Partition League.] (this ex-ultra-left communist!), what must he do but tread on his toe. “It’s a hard thing,” said I, “that two such distinguished gentlemen should be treading on each others’ toes.” And Des Logan was there, Charlie Cunningham, Sean Redmond, Susan Redmond, Betty Sinclair and of all people Frank Small, very much more restrained and bemoaning the fact that he had reached the ripe age of 22 without embarking successfully on his career. He is a great kid, he is bound to do well in the end. And who else was there but Elsie O’Dowling, back from Ceylon with all kinds of news. She found Maud Rogerson stand-offish and snobbish. She has been drinking heavily. Her husband had written a laudatory book about himself and distributed it round the embassies where he spends most of his time. They have a taste for high life and have built a huge house which they are filling with antique furniture. She thinks they are riding for a fall. Wickramsingh, however, she says is a superior character. She stayed with him. She looks very well.
Des Logan was there. He is ill. His hands and arms are swollen and I am wondering what can be the matter with him. His doctors say they “do not know”. Meanwhile he has gone on a course of training in statistics.
October 21 Monday (Liverpool): Last night just before I went to bed I had a call from Bill Pemberton to the effect that Elsie Greaves [One of his aunts] had died on Sunday night. He seemed a little depressed but philosophical. I asked what will he do about Leslie [the mentally handicapped son of Elsie Greaves]. He had no notion yet.
I went into the office, to the bank and so on and discussed the meeting with Sean Redmond. There is talk about the MCF’s starting a committee of all Irish organisations, but I am not enthusiastic. I suggested we move quick with our conference.
Then I went to Liverpool and straight to the meeting. John McClelland was there, and the usual people.
October 22 Tuesday: There was some telephoning about the proposed meeting in Lancaster. The students have met with recent obstruction, which they attribute to the Vice-Chancellor, Carter[former economics professor at Queen’s University, Belfast, and co-author with Denis Barritt, of “The Northern Ireland Problem, a Study in Group Relations”, 1962, a sophisticated apologia for the Stormont administration which Greaves wrote what became his book “The Irish Crisis” in reply to]. They have been unable to secure a room. I advised them to postpone it a fortnight and thus give no excuse for failure to accommodate them.
October 23 Wednesday (Liverpool): I went to Elsie’s funeral. I found Bill Pemberton more shaken than he had sounded on the telephone, but completely self-possessed. Elsie’s three daughters were there, Anthea very badly stricken, the others (whom Phyllis had not a great deal of time for) not unduly upset. They took Leslie Greaves to the cemetery – Landican, where I had never been before. He has the mind of a boy of six, though balding and grey, wrinkled and lined. He tried to comfort Anthea like a child. When the droning of meaningless invocations without conviction was over, we all came back. Leslie was excited. “I’ve seen a new bus.” Bill Pemberton said he would keep Leslie if possible, but he had no responsibility for him. His brother, whom I do not recall meeting before, was not pleased that he had been there. It is “Weren’t the flowers lovely!” and “Wasn’t it a funny church?” and “Where did they take the coffin when it went away?” He said Bill Pemberton wants cheering up, not this kind of parroting. Both Enid Greaves and I agreed that we would not blame Will Pemberton if he had Leslie in an institution. But, says Will, “He hasn’t done any harm to anyone.” He is of course full of what Elsie would have done. I advised him to place his own interest first – delicately of course. It is impossible to live somebody else’s life and useless to try. But of course if he can manage it, that would be good.
Later I went to Manchester. The turn-out was poor. But for some reason O’Shaughnessy of the CDU turned up with two snooty little Labour Party Mancunians. They said that Paul Rose [Manchester Labour MP and leading light in the CDU] had told them about the meeting, which I very much doubt. The discussion dragged on and I caught the last train back. I was not too pleased.
October 24 Thursday: I thought of having a break but I still have a cold. So for the most part I pottered round the house and did nothing in particular. Though of course it hadn’t the sharpness of a closer relative’s, Elsie Greaves’s death unsettled me again. There seems to be no respite! Nor I suppose will there be.
October 25 Friday: I started work on the book again and spent the whole day on it. I have got to Chapter 13.
October 26 Saturday: Another day spent on the book.
October 27 Sunday: I spent the day revising Chapter 12. I had thought of going to the cottage but didn’t get started.
October 28 Monday: A sickening day! I was sick when I got up – diarrhoea, everything. I had no head-ache so I diagnosed food poisoning, suspecting some chicken I had brought from London and curried last night. Also the extraordinary rapidity of the illness and absence of signs last night confirmed my suspicions. I had the stomach clear by early afternoon and the intestines easier by evening. But I feel exhausted. I can understand the effect of vomiting on sick people if it has this effect on healthy ones! Not a thing done all day.
October 29 Tuesday: Not right yet. But I got out and bought fish to steam, and a bottle of brandy for a nightcap with milk. I did some reading.
October 30 Wednesday: I was able to set to work on Chapter 13 again, but I still feel below par. I have not much doubt now that it must have been food poisoning.
October 31 Thursday: Once again I thought of going to the cottage. But I do not feel energetic, so I went on with the book.
November 1 Friday: I had already sent Sean Redmond the resolution for the Conference and sent today a draft to present to Wilson when O’Neill [ie.Northern Premier Terence O’Neill] comes to see him. I went on with the book.
November 2 Saturday: As my energy returns after the trouble early this week I am getting on quite merrily with Chapter 13. I had hoped to complete it in three more chapters by Xmas, but I think it will be four, and by end of January.
November 3 Sunday: I stayed at 124 Mount Road and put in twelve hours. If only people who had written on the subject would put in the right dates for things!
November 4 Monday: I heard from Sean Redmond that the paper is doing well when I telephoned. He had too many sellers on Saturday night. I met John McClelland in the evening.
November 5 Tuesday: All day on the book. It is beginning to look more ship-shape, but I will not have time to do it properly.
November 6 Wednesday: Apart from an excursion to buy food I spent all day on the book. But I have accumulated a number of factual enquiries for the British Museum, so must soon interrupt progress.
November 7 Thursday: This is the first day since Monday week when I felt really well again. I celebrated by starting work at 8 am. and continuing with brief breaks until midnight.
November 8 Friday (London): I caught the midday train to London, and went to 6 Cockpit Chambers. I think that Fitzgerald has now moved, but Gilbert is still in the bas fond. There was a letter offering accommodation in Gray’s Inn Buildings, not a very salubrious place, but good enough, I imagine, as a pied-a-terre.
In the office I saw Sean Redmond, and in the evening with Chris Sullivan we went to Kilburn. The paper has been doing fairly well, with several new sellers.
November 9 Saturday: I was in the office during the day and met Sean Redmond, Pat Hensey and Charlie Cunningham, and was in Paddington with Charlie in the evening. There was a letter from Roy Johnston saying he had studied some remarks I made to him in Dublin and proposed to amend some of his ways. A letter from Michael O’Riordan said he had been to see him, I think it may be to renew his membership [ie. of the Irish Workers Party]. Charlie Cunningham said there has been an improvement of morale – since 1962, he said, we have not had a victory [1962 was the year when the last of the IRA internees in Belfast were released following the campaign instigated by the Connolly Association, which had got over half the Parliamentary Labour Party and other notables to call for that from the Unionist Government at Stormont, Belfast]. Now at last.
November 10 Sunday: I was in the office during the day. In the evening I went to the Festival Hall. Everything was in three flats! Mozart’s Mauerische Funeral music, the Eb piano sonata and Bruckner’s Symphony No.4. The performance (by the LPO) was very accomplished indeed. It is a long time since I heard such satisfactory performances of anything. The Bruckner I did not know well, as it is only in recent times it has been much performed. It has plenty of inventive effects, but not thought. Still, better than most.
I saw that Walter Schon of the AScW died after a long painful illness – more cancer I suppose. I was sorry. I remember speaking on the Irish question at the City Branch of the AScW. They were sneering chauvinists with not a scientific thought among the lot of them, except himself, an Austrian, and he roundly ticked them off for it.
November 11 Monday: I spent the day in the office working on the paper. There was no unusual event.
November 12 Tuesday: The day again on the paper. In the evening I went to the IAC [International Affairs Committee of the CPGB]. Andrew Rothstein was there, very dissatisfied with the line on the Czech crisis and pointing out that 34 parties had supported the Russians and only eleven opposed them. The remainder, I presume, said nothing. He was, I thought, very upset. R. Palme Dutt was there, looking terribly old, bent, and hobbling away on the stick, Rothstein at his side. Sean Redmond and Billy Strachen and I had a drink with Kay Beauchamp. Billy is a supporter of the Russian action. He had said so loudly at the IAC both Sean Redmond and I missed. “There were some didn’t like it,” he told Kay Beauchamp. I think she has no independent opinion on anything. She was loudly critical of Palme Dutt for his “veiled attack on the leadership” in the Labour Monthly . Why did he do it, she asked. I replied that probably he thought he was an old man who would not be listened to by those at present alive, and he had courageously decided to address history. “He wouldn’t have done this a year ago.” That is of course quite right but she could not see how historical events can create positions which are for the moment “impossible” – offering no solution to questions that arise. How could anybody have stopped the split and the civil war? There is no discipline left. Deplorable? Of course. Her own reason for condemning the Russians was characteristic. “If we hadn’t done so we would have lost 40% of our membership.” I told her the mistake was the demand for immediate withdrawal of Russian troops. Without that they could deplore as much as they liked and nobody be a ha’p’rth the worse. She replied that the issue for the people was, “were the Russians right or were they wrong?” And I have already recorded the basis on which she decided they were wrong. She then deplored aspects of the Soviet system. I replied that I did not doubt there was something in what she said, but that time would provide an altogether broader historical perspective in which the curiosities of modern times would find their place. We lack a comparative critique of socialist systems.
November 13 Wednesday: I nearly finished the paper. There were 24 at the Central London branch – Sean Redmond, Joe Deighan and Dorothy, Chris Sullivan, Frank Small, Charlie Cunningham, Pat Hensey, Elsie O’Dowling and many more young people, who are moreover joining. The comparative success we are enjoying has had a good effect on Sean Redmond and I find him working hard and enthusiastically, coming in on time and no longer stinting the extra effort required to complete things properly.
November 14 Thursday (Liverpool): I finished the paper in the morning, and took the four o’clock train to Liverpool.
November 15 Friday: I spent the day clearing things up, and preparing for the meeting in Glasgow on Sunday. I spoke with Sean Redmond and John McClelland on the phone.
November 16 Saturday (Glasgow): I got up in the dark and caught the 9 am. train to Glasgow where I went out to the Byrnes. Charlie Byrne takes the view of the Czech crisis that the Russians were justified in moving in, but I do not think he is in touch with things.
November 17 Sunday (Glasgow/Manchester): I had no phone calls from McGinley or Travers. But I went to the meeting place – the St Mungo Hall, Hutchinsonstown – and found four Clann na hEireann boys with four large piles of the United Irishman. McGinley appeared later. I had brought up Democrats but he had nobody to sell them. Travers arrived late, with beard. His sister was there and is a much superior person, and the mother is a powerful woman. Soon Oliver Brown arrived. He did not, I think, remember me. I spoke with him in the Central Halls in, I think, 1943. Alice Cullen [Glasgow Labour MP] arrived and I got Brown to insist she sat on the platform, and Dr Meller, MP for Kelvingrove, and a Church of Scotland vicar from the Gorbals, named Shaw, and finally Hugh Wyper and Betty Sinclair.
The hall is a huge barn of a place with galleries and branch galleries going up to heaven like a schizophrenical drawing, something that would appear, one is told, in an opium dream. The acoustics are poor, but there was amplification. The audience was mostly elderly. Dr Meller was heckled a little. Questions were allowed (they were of course foolish in this, as they allowed them to be asked of all speakers) and Mr Wilson came in for it. I drew the conclusion that the Catholics of Glasgow are in a confused frustrated state and cannot understand the new times we live in. The organisers had tea for us after the meeting, and later one of the Clann na hEireanns, a Glasgow-born man, came to the Trade Union Club with Wyper and Betty Sinclair and me. He told me he was thinking of joining the Connolly Association as the Clann na hEireann Committee was always quarrelling. I caught the 11.55 to Manchester.
November 18 Monday (Liverpool): From Manchester I went to Ripley to read the proofs of the paper,and then returned via Crewe to Liverpool, and did a little clearing up.
November 19 Tuesday: I spent a part of the day cleaning up in the garden and did some work on the book.
November 20 Wednesday (Lancaster/London): I met Mrs Stewart by accident at Hamilton Square. She had been visiting friends and was very elated. She must be well up in the sixties now and I think feels “on the shelf”, having plenty of ability and the desire to take responsibility and none to take. Hence the slight nervous breakdown. If age is not to be pitiful it must be cynical; it is never wanted, it must be indispensable. This requires long ears and a shut mouth. But she is a lonely person.
When I met her I was on the way to Lancaster to speak to the students. They seemed to be a very promising group of young people, especially Anson Firth of Wolverhampton and another YCL. There was one “international socialist” in orange jeans, a blazing blue jacket, and hair almost to his waist. Everything is of the cheapest in these new universities and students drink tea out of plastic cups with no handles. They sit on wooden benches on which there is only the merest dash of paint. No wonder there is unrest. They are divided up into “Colleges”, which have no purpose but to separate them. I took the night train to London.
November 21 Thursday (London): I was invited to look over a new flat in the barrack-like Grays Inn Buildings, but when I got to the Council office I found they could not find the key of it! Later I found Fitzgerald had been offered similar accommodation and had turned it down without looking at it. His sister had “talked him out of it”. I was in the office and found Sean Redmond busy with the Conference and Pat Devine’s party.
November 22 Friday: I was in the office a good part of the day. In the evening we had Pat Devine’s 70th birthday party at Schmidt’s. Palme Dutt sent a message and so did Betty Sinclair and John Williamson. King Street was silent – I had asked Sean Redmond to ring Gollan to see if he got our invitation. But he did not do so. I think he had a feeling that Pat Devine was
“out of favour”. But I doubt it. David Ainley was there from the Morning Star. Bert Papworth, the big mouth, made a fool of himself and got into a dispute with the waiter. Paddy Byrne also was there, Pat Devine junior, Des Logan, Charlie Cunningham, Sean Redmond, Joe Deighan, Dorothy, May Malone, Kay Phoenix, MacLaughlin the “bell-ringer”, Pat Bond, Stella Bond, Pat Hensey and many others, about 70 in all. Later Michael Crowe and John McClelland arrived from the North. On the whole it was a highly successful gathering. Gerry Curran and Toni Curran were also there. I took the chair.
November 23 Saturday: The Connolly Association conference began in the MCF Hall in Caledonian Road. It was reasonably successful, and quite a few new young people were there.
November 24 Sunday: The public session of the CA conference took place at Jockey Fields. There were representatives from the CDU and observers from Clann na hEierean and individual visitors from the UIA [United Ireland Association]. There was a general feeling that the Unionist “reforms” meant nothing but window dressing, but we deferred our campaign for a Bill of Rights until a campaign of pressure had been undertaken to press for their enlargement. Melly of the CDU said that next Sunday efforts will be made at Belfast to “soft-pedal” the campaign, MacAteer leading the way. This may well happen, and I can imagine that people like Andy Barr, who has been gathering Paisley resolutions in their Union, might also prefer things to go that way. It will be very interesting to see the outcome.
November 25 Monday: Sean Redmond had promised to be in tbe office “early” but when I left at 10.20 to meet Sam Levenson at the Waldorf he had not come in. “Often he’s not there till 10.30,” commented Chris Sullivan who had had long opportunity to note this as he is unemployed and comes in every day. It is hard to know what Sean Redmond is going to do as he is now as tight as a clam. He has already dropped the talk of finding another job. But I do not propose to enquire what his intentions are for the moment. His political position too is uncertain. He seems to have some regard for Cooley, who wrote that “in common with many other leading trade unionists” he was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the “orthodox left”. If I can get this book out of the way I think I will make a bit of a study of the whole basis of the divisions in the Left. There is much unexplained. In the afternoon I went to Liverpool.
November 26 Tuesday: I spent the day clearing up, and making preparations for further work.
November 27 Wednesday (Coventry): I caught the afternoon train to Coventry. With some difficulty I found the place where Pat Powell and Conway had arranged the meeting. On the way down I saw a letter in a copy of one of the Liverpool papers signed by HE Green [Green the botanist; see Vol.1]. He must be well into the eighties if he is the same man. Neston is the address alright.
At the meeting John Hewitt the poet was present. He is director of Coventry Art Gallery. He is an Orange socialist who disguises his Unionism as Trotskyism. He spoke of the olden days. He knew Captain White well [Captain Jack White, one of the founders with James Connolly of the Irish Citizen Army]. He commented that the Casement diaries must be forged because Captain White, who knew Casement and couldn’t stand him, never once used them to discredit him in conversation. He must have disbelieved them. White was a romantic. At the end of his life he said he had a strange feeling that he was at last approaching the truth. The strange feeling was cancer. He used to buy his clothes at Saville Row – misfits. He said in the thirties when the Chinese revolution was developing that clearly Ireland would soon follow. Why? Because revolutions took place at points opposite to one another on the globe. When he was in Belfast he was arrested and let out on condition he signed a statement that he would take no part in politics. He called at Hewitt’s for a bed, which his parents provided. “No hotel will take me,” he explained. He stayed a few days. Then he typed out a statement revoking his signature to the previous document, and disappeared. Hewitt knew Tommy Watters, Malachy Boyle and George Bell. He thought it was they who had started the Democrat. He did not know about Irish Freedom. He also knew George McBride.
He recalled sitting on a Belfast Corporation selection committee. A man was looking for employment.
”I hope he is not a Muslim,” said one.
“Of course,” said the Town Clerk, an Englishman. “I don’t know what he is,” but he said he hoped the interview wouldn’t last long, “as he wanted to be away with the boys to Bangor.”
Among those present was the properietor of the Shamrock Club.
I stayed with Frank Conway. As we walked up there Pat Powell said he was not too happy about the Czech policy. He said nothing, but he saw them all flying for cover. “I know now who’ll yield at the crunch,” was his comment. I don’t know however whether it is as simple as that!
At Conway’s house we met his brother. There was a great contrast between the boys, the bright irrepressible optimistic Frank, and the pale, listless uninterested elder brother.
November 28 Thursday (London): I saw Mrs Conway for a moment. On the way to the ‘bus I referred to his elder brother. “Oh – he’s younger!” said Conway, in surprise. “He’s only seventeen.” It was my turn to be surprised. Then it was explained that about two months ago there had come a striking change in him. He ceased to go out; he became pale and watched television all day. A doctor brought a specialist and blood counts were taken. I hope it is not leukaemia.
Then I went to London and was in the office all day.
November 29 Friday: I was in Hammersmith with one of the newer recruits, Patrick O’Donohue of Claremorris. His father is from Tuam. He is outwardly quiet, but well educated, thoughtful and has a great interest in Spain.
November 30 Saturday: In the office there assembled Charlie Cunningham, John Woods of Newry, a very good young lad, Paddy Cunningham (Charlie’s brother) and his girl friend. We drove to Oxford in the rain. There we were to meet Jim Argue, Melly and others to take part in the Oxford CDU [Campaign for Democracy in Ulster] parade. This character Doyle who is at Ruskin was present but did not deign to notice us. I had an uneasy impression of him when he came to our conference last week. Gery Fitt was there, full of welcomes. The parade was highly effective, though not without its inconsistencies, viz. a group of “revolutionary students” who shouted “One man! One vote! Two guns!” and “Down with the bourgeoisie!” We walked to Ruskin College. There we learned that Melly had run out of petrol thirteen miles out of Oxford and Patsy Byrne had had a breakdown! A somewhat doleful individual from Derry gave a speech. Gerry Fitt had a wild ovation. “A bit different,” he said to me, “than when you and I used to go round England and we couldn’t get fifty people to listen to us.” On the platform was Michael Leahy. I forget when I met him last. I think it was when he was District Organiser [of the CPGB] and Betty Reid was investigating some maladministration of the District – a good 20 or even 23 years ago.
We left Woods for Melly’s car, and brought back Argue in ours. He was to meet Jane Tate at Shepherd’s Bush[to go selling the “Irish Democrat”]. At High Wycombe we called into a ghost cafe. The lights were on, shop and restaurant were open, but we could find nobody. We waited a time, made a rough search of the place, then went elsewhere. Charlie Cunningham and I then went to Paddington.
December 1 Sunday: The Standing Committee met in the morning. I judged the time opportune to ask Sean Redmond when was he leaving. Not at the end of the year. He had been too busy to look for another job. But he would probably leave at the end of March – in other words, failure to find anything in Dublin has cooled his ardour. I spoke to Platts Mills and Ralph Millner on the phone. Both were ready to defend Joe Doyle cheaply but not till January. Doyle was told to stop selling at Hyde Park by a policeman. He disobeyed – foolishly – and was arrested, for obstruction. They got Birnberg through the NCCL, but when the magistrate urged the police to have legal representation I decided that we wanted counsel. In the course of conversation Ralph Milner said, “I’m a very sad man”. “About what?” “About Czechoslovakia. They have made a mistake,” he said. “And the one thing can lead to others.” He could not understand the reason for it. He added, “But of course those who disagree with this are not the people who cause divisions.”
December 2 Monday: I saw the flat and decided despite certain disadvantages – the main one the noise of Roseberry Avenue – I decided to take it. I spent the day at Colindale.
December 3 Tuesday: After calling in to the office and dealing with correspondence I spent the day at Colindale.
December 4 Wednesday: In the morning there was news that Goulding [Bill Goulding, a Connolly Association member] and Tom Bolton were prepared to reconstitute the CA in Birmingham. And a letter came from cracked Lindsay Aiken saying he now recognised that all his allegations were figments of the imagination!
There were 24 at the branch meeting – a record, in recent times at least. I think West London once had thirty. Bobby Heatley had returned from Armagh full of his adventures [At the major civil rights demonstration under the auspices of the NICRA in that city]. He had been searched on the bus and dumped in an Orange quarter, surrounded by well-armed Paisleyite hoodlums. “Things are going well,” said Joe O’Connor. ”There were many long years when they were going badly,” said I.
December 5 Thursday: Joe Doyle lost his case. He was fined £2 and £15 costs. “I would like to charge you £50,” said the amiable magistrate, “since you have occupied so much of the time of the Court. But I realise that you would appeal, and you’d probably win.” The magistrate had constantly interrupted defending counsel. And then it was disclosed that he had been defendant in a libel case where Birnberg had been retained by the plaintiff. Doyle had not a chance! He was in a shocking state, swearing bloody vengeance, or at any rate very sore.
December 6 Friday: I was in Colindale most of the day. In the evening again I met Pat O’Donohue and we chanced against Jim Argue. I remarked that it was easy to see who would buy the Democrat, not the snobs, nor the slobs, but the worker who was a cut above the average. Argue laughed, and blushing slightly said, “That describes me exactly.” And it does.
December 7 Saturday: Sean Redmond went to Birmingham, so I looked after the poster parade along Oxford Street. Pat Bond, Charlie Cunningham, Elsie O’Dowling, Pat Hensey, Peter Mulligan and Frank Small were there – with a number of new members and, from the past, Eamon MacLaughlin. In the evening I was with Frank Small in Paddington. He had brought three from his College.
December 8 Sunday: I spent the greater part of the day in the office. But in the evening I went to the Festival Hall for Dvorak’s Requiem, which I had never heard before.
December 9 Monday: I had called a meeting of the Irish Committee which had fallen into inaction, and seven turned up: Sean Redmond, Robbie Rossiter, Joe Deighan, Elsie O’Dowling, Chris Sullivan and Andy Barr’s son,who agreed to act as convenor. Sean Redmond, Joe Deighan, Chris Sullivan and I met afterwards in Mooneys to discuss the following up of Joe Doyle’s case.
December 10 Tuesday: I was in the office and then Colindale. The IAC [InternatIonal Affairs Committee of the CPGB] was in the evening. After it was over Kay Beauchamp, Michael Harmel [South African representative on the committee] and Jack Woddis had a drink with me. Woddis is worried that the CPNI does not seem to be playing much part in the Six-County Civil Rights movement. This apparently is why they want one of them over next month. Harmel pointed out that they should learn from their visitors, not advise them! I thought the same. Woddis feared they would miss this “historic opportunity”[provided by the world attention brought to the Northern Ireland situation following the 5 October events in Derry]. But I am not sure that the English way of seizing opportunities necessarily suits Ireland.
I was able to get a little insight into Woddis’s approach to Czechoslovakia. He recalled being in Moscow where only a few hours after a proposal had been made and spontaneously supported, it appeared in print. “A put-up job”, he said. And he said that a Hungarian told him that the differences between socialist countries came from competition for the West German market. The Hungarians were against the Czechs, who have the smallest state, entering into closer relations because they would be done out. While having no particular knowledge of the subject, I did not feel that this was an adequate explanation for the gigantic sledgehammer taken to this nut [ie. the Czech intervention].
December 11 Wednesday (Liverpool): I called in to the office and after dealing with correspondence took the 11 am. to Liverpool. There was nothing much awaiting me.
December 12 Thursday: After doing some work about the house I took the Munster for Dublin.
December 13 Friday (Dublin): I went up to look for Ernie Nunan but he was out sick. I saw Tony Coughlan for lunch and Sean Nolan in the shop for a few minutes. On the whole the day was pleasant but hardly productive.
December 14 Saturday/December 15 Sunday: I went into town at midday, and later went to the Irish Workers Party “sale of work” at their premises. There I met Packy Early, Michael O’Riordan and many old friends. The mysterious Gleeson was serving alongside Cathal. He is the man who threw beer over Roy Johnston and enraged Eamon MacLaughlin. Cathal still distrusts him. He had made a number of Connolly calendars. I had given him an order before I realised who he was. We had never met. But it is a trifle. According to Sean Nolan the printing in Dublin costs the Irish Socialist 1/- a copy. So they lose sixpence. Ripley [in Derbyshire, England, where the firm Ripley Printers printed the “Irish Democrat”] would charge 10½? And the work is slower instead of swifter. But he considers indigenous stamp important, which is true enough.
Carmody [Paddy Carmody, IWP writer and theorist] wanted me to take a drink with him and I complied. Naturally he wanted to talk Czechoslovakia. So I dissented from him on those points where I thought he should be dissented from. There is much legalism and idealism in his attitude, as much as to say he does not really grasp how history is in fact made. I told him there was nothing for us in an anti-Soviet campaign. “I agree,” he said, “we have to compromise there.” So where was his case? The demand for withdrawal of Russian troops was already transformed into the proposal of working for an amicable settlement. He admitted he could not run a campaign.
Further down the bar we descried Patsy O’Neill, Sean McGhee and Geraghty [probably Seamus Geraghty]. O’Neill is as grey as a badger, Geraghty as fat as a fool and McGhee barely recognisable as the young lad who left Kilkenny full of idealism 20 years ago. They were a sorry spectacle. But Carmody insisted on speaking to them. They did not misbehave. Carmody then expressed sympathy with O’Neill who was “crucified” while in the ETU [Electrical Trade Union in Britain, in which there had been a major national scandal about the use of fraudulent ballot papers in electing the union officers]. The “crucifixion” consisted of touring England in a motor-car posting bogus election papers for Haxell. It would be impossible to have the slightest symapthy for anybody involved in that discreditable organisation.
It is clear that Carmody is a theorist who always exaggerates. It was his idea to “go along” with the North in accepting partition, and I had to get Jack Bennett to burst the bubble [in an ideological dispute conducted in the “Irish Democrat” some years earlier]. Now he is in “dialogue” with Catholics and writes articles showing how little Catholicism differs from Communism [There was a dialogue between Catholics and “the Left” in Ireland and internationally in those years]. The Czech crisis was thus a blow to him, as he would have to abandon the high moral tone.
He went off on his bicycle but who should appear but O’Riordan. So we went off for more stout. He had looked into the bar where we were drinking, had seen O’Neill, decided he didn’t like Carmody’s company (Carmody was only passing them in fact) and went off. I told him of the conversation with Carmody, and he told me his story. He had found himself in a minority of one. There was much talk of his “removal” as secretary, Sam Nolan behind it. It came up twice. But Sean Nolan proposed the matter be deferred two months and no more was heard of it. The result was thus sensible enough, as the issues will be joined or replaced with others. He told me also that a demonstration was called by somebody “against the Vietnam war, for Civil Rights in the North and against the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia.” Some of the IWP were for participation and it was agreed to go. Then they got cold feet – except Deasy [ie. IWP member Joe Deasy], who appeared as sole representative of the IWP. So this was why Carmody agreed there was not much in the campaign.
In the evening of Sunday Kader Asmal came and invited us out tomorrow to eat curry [at his new house on Barton Road East, Dundrum]. I went to Smithfield and found the place where Fenelon had been, and to Tom Kerr’s out at the East Wall.
December 16 Monday: Today there was thick fog. Photography was impossible, so I had to leave the hoped-for picture of Smithfield. In the evening Uinseann MacEoin and the bearded Michael Lynch came in [Michael Lynch/Micheál O Loingsigh was managing director of Drogheda Printers and Uinseann MacEoin was a well-known architect and building conservationist. Both were leading members of the Dublin Wolfe Tone Society]. There was to have been some kind of Wolfe Tone Society caucus meeting which had not been properly arranged. The two of them were expecting to see Roy who was out. And this was the plot, revealed by O Loinsigh after complaints that the IRA took every major policy decision themselves without consulting the Wolfe Tone. MacEoin added to this that he did not think anything of Sinn Fein either. The decision in question related to mid-Ulster[where a by-election was pending]. There were rumours that Tom Mitchell would go up after resigning from Sinn Fein in order to take his seat. I told Roy it was ridiculous. But others said he would abstain. The Sinn Fein would not support Currie [Austin Currie,then an independent Nationalist], for reasons I was not told, but appreciated as I would not trust him. There was talk of Conor Cruise O’Brien, and after Cathal and I had poured cold water on the idea, the others left for Roy’s, who had returned, and we went out to Asmal’s.
At Asmal’s a highly sophisticated curry was produced using fresh chillies and various spices separately. Tony Coughlan was there. Then came Roy. Finally Micheál O Loingsigh, who announced to our surprise that he and Roy had “agreed” that it must be O’Brien! Again we all poured cold water on it, and at the end Cathal remarked that he thought the scheme was killed. O Loingsigh, by the way, is a Kerryman, a friend of Tony Meade, whom I met at Meade’s house in Skerries some time ago. He runs a printing business, some said with sixty employees, but that is big and I doubt it. “Typical radical bourgeois,” said Roy. And typical in the way he moves behind the scenes to get his policy adopted. He said that Meade, now more or less second in command on the Kerryman, has great financial prospects. It may well be that he will be editor in a couple of years’ time. I think I was right in suspecting all along that Meade, while a pleasant individual, was more interested in a career than in republicanism.
December 17 Tuesday: It started raining last night. It came down in torrents all day, and little could be done. In the evening Cathal and I walked into Rathmines for a drink, braving the elements. Cathal was speaking of Uinseann MacEoin. He is an architect in quite a substantial way, with distinctive opinions on planning, and a strong conservationist. It was in his parents’ house that Stephen Hayes was held years ago [an IRA leader in the 1940s who was kidnapped and interrogated by his comrades on suspicion that he was betraying them]. “But,” says Maire Comerford, “he was young and it wouldn’t be fair to blame him.” Cathal told me that his sister once went to Boland asking permission to see some prisoner – so the story goes – and Boland was complaining about what a terrible thing it was to keep a man locked up for months in a cellar. “Our house has no cellar” burst out the sister indignantly. All this for what it is worth.
December 18 Wednesday: Incredible but true. It rained again, all day long. I did some telephoning. And as I feel a cold coming on I decided not to go to Belfast as I had intended.
December 19 Thursday: Today was fairly dry and reasonably mild. It was possible to get about. But I did not get much done. I saw Michael O’Riordan in the evening. He told me that Betty Sinclair had urged him, by telephone, to go and see Tom Gill and try to persuade him to stop Mitchell from contesting mid-Ulster. He did not know the significance of the rumoured appearance of a “Republican Labour” candidate. I think the changes in the North have thrown them into confusion.
December 20 Friday: I met Tony Coughlan in Sean Nolan’s shop [This was at 16A Pearse Street at the time, a short distance from Coughlan’s office in the adjacent TCD] and we had a cup of coffee at Bewley’s. Apart from that nothing of any interest.
December 21 Sunday (Liverpool): I had a sore throat but decided to cross on the appalling car ferry which was nearly four hours late. I spent a good part of the time with a man aged about 45 named Connolly who is returning to Ireland in charge of Otis Lift developments. He was from Galway, in England for years, and convinced that there was an industrial boom coming in Ireland which would last “until wages catch up.Then the foreigners will pull out.” I reached 124 Mount Road at about 11 pm.
December 22 Sunday: The cold had developed and I did not go out. I did not get up till midday, and for the rest achieved little of profit.
December 23 Monday (London): I caught the 12.30 to Euston. At the office I learned that Sean Redmond is laid up with influenza, presumably not the Asiatic variety all the scare is about, and that the office had been burgled and £35 taken. Long long ago I told them to insure. But you might as well talk to a cabbage. Joe Deighan told me on the telephone that Mrs Jeger [ie. Lena Jeger MP] has written to Callaghan about Hyde Park [ie.the incident involving Joe Doyle], but that it will cost us £80 when all the costs are paid. The members are still coming in. Even South London is having up to twelve at its meetings. But I am uneasy at the situation in the North. The danger is that O’Neill’s “reforms” will split them [which is indeed what soon happened, with the division between the NICRA and “more moderate” elements who wanted to stick to civil rights demands on the one hand, and the leftist student-led People’s Democracy on the other, with its slogan of “one person one job” etc.]. Perhaps a period is required in which they learn what they amount to.
December 24 Tuesday: I did not sleep terribly well – something rare for me, happily – so I did the only thing. I got up, just before 7 am. I did some clearing up, then went to the office. Sean Redmond called in, unusually cheerful, indeed quite markedly so. This of course was no harm. Chris Sullivan came in, still unemployed, and not very anxious for a job, I fear. Sean said he was confident we could hold Manchester where he had a meeting last week. That is where he caught cold. Charlie Cunningham telephoned but did not come. He promised to “turn the office into a fortress”. Gerry Curran telephoned to invite me to Ealing for Christmas Day or St.Stephen’s Day. I did not refuse outright, but told him that Pat Bond also had invited me and I wanted to finish the paper. Indeed I worked on in the office till 11 pm. And had four pages finished by then, in the two days.
December 25 Wednesday: I went into the office at midday and had another good quiet day, finishing the paper by 8 pm. and then sending out letters asking for orders. The rain yesterday was of the familiar recent kind – a deep depression held up against an anticyclone. Today it was cold with an east wind. Last night John McClelland told me there was snow on the ground in Liverpool, the second this season. I will try and hurry back tomorrow before the pipes burst. I did not expect the mild weather to break so quickly. I returned about 10 pm. and regaled myself with roast pork and retsina. I did not buy a goose this year. There is no sense in this festival when people can get good food at any time.
On the radio a few days ago I heard a statement that burglary is on the increase. That I can believe. The steward on the train on Monday told me that the stocks of drink on board were being reduced because carriages are so often raided in the sidings. There is a clothes shop just round the corner on the way to King’s Cross. Its window was staved in yesterday. But being presumably well-insured the proprietors put out a witty notice designed to sell out quickly what was left of their stock. Incidentally, when our office was burgled the two offices on either side were treated similarly.
December 26 Thursday (Liverpool): I spent the morning in the office, sent out letters to those who sent me Christmas cards – Joe Whelan, Ben Owens, Frank Small and others. I did not hear from Alan Morton this year. That is surprising, or from Mabel or Hilda [Maternal aunts]. I hope there is nothing wrong. I must write.
After clearing up I took the 4.10 to Liverpool. We changed at Coventry on to the 3.45 via Birmingham, the existence of which the enquiry office had not mentioned to me. At Liverpool I found that the Underground had been closed yesterday, and today there was only a skeleton service to Birkenhead Park. These asses who sit in London offices and know nothing of local conditions! However, Birkenhead Corporation had put on a first-class bus service and I was at Mount Road by 8.30 pm. There was only a trace of snow – across England there was about 2” – but it was freezing hard, with the northerly wind that so often is following these delayed depressions.
December 27 Friday: The day continued bitterly cold, though with plenty of sunshine broken by occasionally very light hailstones. I still had a cold and did not get much done. There was a card from Tom Redmond and a short note from Muriel [ie. Mrs Muriel MacSwiney] who wants Gerald Griffin’s address but has been mixed up with Vincent Flynn! [it is not known who Vincent Flynn was].
December 28 Saturday: I did not sleep well all night, but by compensation slept till almost 12 noon. The cold had greatly improved. I had felt too lazy to cook anything more than bacon and eggs yesterday, and some paupiettes of plaice. But today I made aphelia and souvlakia, and rang John McClelland who is going to a party at Brian Stowell’s tonight, and then worked till late at night writing outstanding letters and filing and arranging materials on Mellows.
December 29 Sunday: I got busy on the review for Roger Woddis and had most of the work done by evening.
December 30 Monday: I managed to get some work done in the garden and wrote two reviews for Gerry Curran for the book page. The weather has improved. It is milder.
December 31 Tuesday (London): I wrote letters and generally cleared up till afternoon; then missing the 2.30 I caught the 4.30 to London. It was dry and cold in Liverpool, but on the way to Crewe we ran into country deep under snow, then into thick fog. But by the time we were near London we had run out of them again.
The New Year’s Eve party took place, Sean Redmond had not made a good job of it. He was of course on holiday all last week, and he seems to have left this social to quite inexperienced people. There was no music, but Charlie Cunningham came, Jane Tate brought in a gramophone. They seemed to enjoy it just the same – Sean Redmond and Susan, Pat Hensey, Joe O’ Connor, Jim Kelly, Elsie O’Dowling, about thirty people in all.
I am moving next Monday and Charlie Cunningham agreed to give a wee hand with one or two preliminaries over the weekend. It seems that Gilbert has gone. There is a notice on his door giving his new address. But Fitzgerald is still here and looks as if he is going to be the last inhabitant. I noticed he has now hoarded up the fanlight. Surely burglars have not been seeking ingress through that.
January 1 Wednesday: We heard that Betty Sinclair had fractured her wrist after slipping on ice at Christmas and will not be coming over next week. Joe Deighan wanted us to have Hughie Moore as a speaker instead [Moore was a full-time official of the CPNI in Belfast], but Sean Redmond and I felt it would not be wise. The platform would be too one-sided. We were in the office in the evening. Several came, thinking there was a branch meeting which was not properly called off. Chris Sullivan, Jane Tate and I went to the Pindar of Wakefield for a drink and Margot Parrish arrived [a CPGB activist]. She is as sentimental and romantic as ever. One minute she was bemoaning the fact that R.Palme Dutt insisted that in her article on Biafra she should stick to facts. Then she was euologising him in the most endearing terms. There is a streak, not perhaps of cynicism, though that goes with sentimentality, nor perhaps of vulgarity, though Jane Tate and I agreed there was a touch of it, probably assumed to show her “emancipation”, but perhaps more of lack of confidence. She wants the Scotch and Welsh to form their own Communist Parties and thought I should have put it into my article. Yet, as I said, it won’t be done in any foreseeable circumstances, and it is admittedly a dubious advantage anyway. There are so many people who can only advocate extremes. Of course if the issue of complete separation or even federation became practical politics, such things would have to be talked about. However we had long talk which we all enjoyed, and much laughter. I went to Ripley to do the paper.
January 2 Thursday: In the morning Betty Sinclair said on the phone that the Civil Rights marchers were held up at Randalstown and would we try to do something about it [The largely student-based march across the province from Belfast to Derry beginning on New Year’s Day and led by Michael Farrell and Kevin Boyle was organised by the leftist People’s Democracy against the advice and wishes of the NICRA, which had called for a moratorium on demonstrations to give time to assess what Prime Minister Terence O’Neill’s proposed reforms amounted to. The assault on the marchers by Loyalist elements at Burntollet significantly raised the sectarian political temperature in the area]. We got Brockway and people like that to send wires and phone calls. And in the evening we got 12 people on a poster parade along Oxford Street. Sean Redmond did well on this and Susan Redmond came, together with Jane Tate, Elsie O’Dowling, Chris Sullivan, Pat Hensey, Des Logan, Jim Kelly and Malachy McKenna. Des Logan, Jim Kelly, Malachy and myself had a drink in the Quebec, one of Bobby Heatley’s haunts. Malachy was telling us how attracted he was to Trotskyism and that we can expect plenty of trouble from him and another Belfast member who used to be a Paisleyite and was arrested for bringing guns or ammunition or something or other into the Six Counties for Paisley. Apparently he also suffers from the same defect. We spoke him fair. He was strangely silent. Usually he talks all the time.
January 3 Friday: I still had a cold but at last got some preparations made for the move next Monday. I have about 1000 books here. I decided to discard about 400 of them. I was in the office for a brief while. Chris Sullivan was there – still unemployed. I wonder will he ever work again? I don’t think he has the capacity to take a positive attitude to a job. So he always loses it. As there was an odd number of volunteers for selling tonight I remained in the Cockpit to clean up.
January 4 Saturday: I met Charlie Cunningham in the afternoon and he came to 6 Cockpit Chambers and began demolishing the bookshelves. I found papers I had forgotten all about, poems, notes, more things begun than could ever be finished. Then, after a meal, we both went to Hammersmith [ie. to sell the “Irish Democrat”].
January 5 Sunday: Again Charlie Cunningham came and the work proceeded apace. We took some things over to 145 Gray’s Inn Road. But though it was Sunday the traffic flow was very heavy and I began to have misgivings over the move, which was precipitated by the second burglary.
January 6 Monday: The first arrival was the electricity man. The light was off by daylight – this nonsensical Central European time with which Mr Wilson slaughtered little children on the way to school [as happened in Scotland at the time] was as bad for my packing. Then came the gas fitter. He would not take the meter. It was “not his job” and anyway he was on a bicycle and lived in a “bachelor flat” where the tenants shared a “communal” lavatory and water closet. I had to do plenty of telephoning before the removers arrived. Two tough men in their early and late thirties and an old man who “wasn’t supposed to do this class of work”. They had been sent to Gray’s Inn Road. And before they arrived Sean Redmond and Chris Sullivan came for a conference on developments arising from the Derry affair. It was lucky they had got back by the time the removers came. They were an hour late, and we did not arrive till 3 pm. I was coming down the steps when I met the caretaker, Mr Atkinson. He had the air of a non-commissioned officer and I wondered how to take him. When I put my bicycle in the basement I will want him to keep a friendly eye on it. He was tall, blond, middleaged, Scottish (which was a good point) and wore a duffle coat and dungarees. He was surprised I was moving in, though I had written to him. But he gave me the spare keys. I went out to telephone for the gas fitter. I found he had arrived when I got back and all four jets were burning merrily. But they had failed to change the slot for a credit meter. I learned they had called before and Atkinson had assured them that nobody was moving in today. I also learned that the second burglary had been a mistake by a Council official. But he had made no effort to repair the barricade he had knocked down. So I moved on a false alarm. Apart from a few children, Asiatic and English, very few I would say, most of the inhabitants are elderly people with grey hopeless faces. But there was one African obviously into his first abode, bringing in new chairs and busily sawing and drilling all day.
I went to the Irish Committee in the evening. Young Andy Barr was there (late), Chris Sullivan, Robbie Rossiter, Sean Redmond, Joe Deighan and Elsie O’Dowling. Joe gave a rambling impressionistic talk. He never bothers to prepare anything. He is like Dooley in ostentation [Pat Dooley, editor of the monthly paper in the 1940s] and like Clancy in never understanding anything [Paddy Clancy, former leading Connolly Association member]. He has not a clear concept in his head. Then Sean Redmond thinks he is much cleverer than he is, and insists not on the attainment but on the limitation of the level he has reached. The others are mostly silent, though young Barr has a head on him.
January 7 Tuesday: What a night! The roar of traffic did not cease till midnight and began again at 6.30 – deafening, thunderous, a continuity mingled with chaotic climaxes. Thanks to having had a drink I slept, but not long enough. I wondered what to do? Leave it a few days, I decided, and see.
I went to the office. But not much happened. Sean Redmond took all morning on two stencils. I think he is slow at composition, though quick on the mechanical side. This is often so with people of mediocre imagination. I got out a two-page supplement [ie. to the “Irish Democrat”].
January 8 Wednesday: The branch meeting was in the evening – a big crowd again, Pat Hensey, Joe Deighan, Sean Redmond, Jane Tate, Jim Kelly, but not Chris Sullivan or Bobby Heatley. Joe is the most impossible chairman in the world. I prepared a resolution. He then asked somebody to propose it and objected to my speaking to it. He insisted on reading it himself, then complained of my handwriting. Then he excused himself by saying it had been drafted by me at the request of the committee. I got tired of the man. Yet he has his positive points. The negative ones are more obvious when he is in the chair. They are part of what I would call the vanity of intellectual laziness. Malachy McKenna was in cahoots with the lad who was in arms for Paisley. They all agreed to Sunday’s parade, but Malachy swore he would only carry a poster which demanded “Civil Rights for North and South”. He is incredibly confused. I had a drink afterwards with Jim Kelly, Jane Tate and Frank Small.
January 9 Thursday: The noise of traffic made sleep impossible after 7 am., so I got up. I thought things over and decided the sensible thing was to cut my losses and retrace my steps. So I wrote to the Camden Council asking for a re-allocation. Failing this I will go for a private landlord and increase my drawings from capital to meet the higher rent. I also cancelled the installation of the telephone. I am not going to live in a place where you can only sleep if you are drunk. Well do I understand the pallid lifelessness of the other inhabitants. If you stayed there long you would not have the energy to move. So I will move while the energy is intact.
There was more trouble in store. I had forgotten to bring the tea-leaf filter and let leaves down the sink. It blocked at once. I had heard Council officials referring to it disparagingly but thought nothing of it. So I went to get a plunger. The nearest shop was out of them. It was Thursday. I had to hurry to Caledonian Road, but there for 7/6 I obtained a super-plunger able to clear the blockages in Joe Deighan’s head when he is at is most provoking. In two seconds the pipe was clear.
I spent the evening in the office making some arrangements for the next issue of the paper.
January 10 Friday: Another incredibly noisy night. I was tired and though I prepared some notes for tonight’s meeting found it difficult [a meeting of the CPGB’s International Affairs Committee, with visitors from Ireland to consider the escalating crisis precipitated by the Burntollet march, as evident below]. I never acquired the art of keeping my brain clear when my body was ill or fatigued. How people like R. Palme Dutt manage I do not know. The meeting was quite successful. Hughie Moore was by no means scintillating. But Michael O’Riordan spoke and so did I. Joe Deighan, who had annoyed me on Wednesday by his nonsense, must have been trying to make amends. He made reference to the Irish Democrat “written by the brilliant editor”. I knew there was no evil intent, but did not like this either. An editorial job is to get others to write. And it might be thought I had put him up to the other. But he personalises everything. We had a drink afterwards. I was with Hostettler[the lawyer John Hostettler] who said he had written his article on transport so as to dispel “anti-motorcar” prejudices. His solution? That cars should be used for recreation only, i.e. what he uses his for. How could he enforce it? What of the complete domination of the lives of non-owners by the car owners? I do not think his plan will improve on the present anarchy. Sean Redmond was talking with Michael O’Riordan and Michael Harmel. He commented to me afterwards that Harmel had degenerated. He has separated from his wife and was downing whiskies like a Glasgow fireman. Kay Beauchamp did not speak. The English were all critical of our demand that the British Government intervene – that is, except R.Palme Dutt and the chairman.
January 11 Saturday: I spent a good part of the day gathering things from Cockpit Chambers. Last night was quiet. So I expect will be tonight. So it is a matter of arranging to be in London over the weekend. Charlie Cunningham was helping me and in the evening we met Pat Hensey in Hammersmith. There was a much livelier attitude among the Irish than for a long time.
January 12 Sunday: This afternoon we held a march from Marble Arch to Downing Street. On Friday an Inspector with a Sergeant had called to ask if we anticipated “trouble” at Monday’s meeting. I said not. There were plenty of police today. They were extremely friendly however and severely reprimanded one or two motorists who tried to force their cars through the procession. There were about 150 there. I went to Lyons’s with Des Logan, Pat Cronin and Jim Kelly – others were separated from us, not by the barricades and lines of police around Rhodesia House which some leftist groups had decided to attack, but by a curious incident. Through the window we saw a girl of about 20 tackling a boy of, say, 18 whose coat was ripped down the back. Police came in and he emptied his pockets. Then another, about 19, came back in and swore they had stolen nothing. Then both went out again and we went in for tea. A crowd had been watching it all through the glass doors and plate glass windows “May we have a cup of tea now the show is over?” I asked the commissionaire, a big Irishman. “Jesus.That was no show! He’s after breaking the back window and stuffing his pockets from the counter.” Apparently what happened next was that the youngster, whose accomplice had presumably got away with the swag, came back to demand compensation for his torn coat. The entrance was obstructed while the police told them to leave it till tomorrow. But Charlie Cunningham and the others thought they would never get in, and crossed the road to the Corner House. Then in the evening I was with Frank Small in Holloway.
January 13 Monday: The noise was in full thunder last night. But I managed to get some sleep. I once more got some things from 6 Cockpit Chambers to 145 Grays Inn Road and was in the office. In the evening the meeting was a great success and we made a profit on it. A donation of £10 came from a building job. This had a marked effect on Sean Redmond’s spirits. It is almost certainly the constant battle to make ends meet in the Connolly Association which brings out his negative qualities. Many people were present, Elsie O’Dowling, Des Logan, Pat Hensey, Charlie Cunningham, Jim Kelly, Frank Small and quite a few more young people, even Peter Mulligan recently simulating inventive and artistically more bizarre styles in hair and moustache every week.
January 14 Tuesday (Liverpool): I got the final chattels from 6 Cockpit Chambers and took the key to the Council office. There I saw Edwards, who of course told me it was not Council policy to offer tenants fresh accommodation less than a year after they moved in. I insisted that in a sense I had not moved in as I had registered objection on hearing the noise – the loudest I had ever experienced apart from a visit to the RAF where I had heard a wind tunnel. Finally he grew quite sympathetic and, perhaps half-assured, said he would write to the housing manager and “do what he could”. So there is a chance.
Then I went to the office. Sean Redmond said he was taking a few days off in February when Susan has a week’s holiday. Perhaps this will be to look for a job. In the new circumstances of course his retirement will not be a welcome retrenchment but a fresh problem. I am not sure how it will be solved. Perhaps Dorothy Deighan would go into the office when I am not there. The great advantage of the Connolly Association over the other organisations is of course the central HQ and accessibility at all times by phone.
I met Michael O’Riordan at Euston and we came to Liverpool. The meeting room was packed to the door – about 45 present. But there was a sprinkling of Trotskies and Potskies, Maos and Bow Wows, all calling for militant action to be taken by other people. Joe McCrudden was there. Barney Morgan drove O’Riordan to the boat.
On the way Michael told me that at the Executive which he attended yesterday there were people who were gunning for R. Palme Dutt [ie. at the CPGB Executive]. They wanted an investigation into the affairs of the Labour Monthly. Others replied it was a non-party periodical. Gollan [CPGB General Secretary] answered the critics that such an investigation was ultra-vires, as the Labour Monthlywas founded before the party. I am not sure if he was right in this. Even so it seemed a curious argument. I recall that when Peter Kerrigan wanted to second Alec Digges to full-time work with the International Brigade Association when he was treasurer of the Connolly Association, he also argued that the IBA was “started before” the CA. Again I am not sure he was right. It must be an argument perculiarly convincing to the Sottish mind [Both Gollan and Kerrigan were Scotchmen]. However I was glad he carried the day, whatever the argument. Michael O’Riordan said he did not think Gollan was very happy in his job. I can understand that too.
January 15 Wednesday: The piano tuner and the gas-meter reader came today. In the evening I went to Manchester, half anticipating a meeting like last night’s. But there was only McCrudden and one other there at 8 pm. By 9 pm. there may have been seven. What has now happened is that the Dalton scoundrel has moved in and is in the thick of “revolutionary student” activity of the usual ultra-left brand. I was annoyed that Sean Redmond had not reported this, since they had been approached at the time of his last visit. Sean had, it is true, cautioned them and suggested getting in touch with Hathersage Road [ie. the Manchester CPGB office]. What does McCrudden do last month but invite them to a conference at Heathersage Road! Now they have booked a room next to McCrudden’s social next Friday and have announced a “civil rights week” to demand the end of capitalism! I returned to Liverpool none too pleased, but was somewhat comforted by catching the last underground train.
January 16 Thursday: I told Sean Redmond on the phone what had happened and that I had counselled them to invite Betty Sinclair to address them on the way to London, or on the way back. He was in great spirits. He had had a successful meeting in Birmingham yesterday and had started a branch. He had also persuaded the MCF to come under our banner for a meeting in Trafalgar Square, and had booked the Square before the day on which the regulations were supposed to make it available. So that seemed good enough.
January 17 Friday: I was busy on Chapter 12 all day and made progress with it. Will I go to the cottage this weekend or finish it?
January 18 Saturday: Another day on the book. Since I have been here the barometer has been below 29’. It is still raining but the glass is now creeping up. Sean Redmond is still in good form. He had a good meeting in Cambridge.
January 20 Sunday: It was fine. But I remained in Liverpool and managed to finish the chapter and celebrated with a bottle of claret.
January 20 Monday: I did not write much but I assembled notes for Chapter 13, which will bring the story up to the Treaty. Only two more then, or at most three.
January 21 Tuesday: I found that material I have for the Irish period is somewhat thin. But I do not want to work at Colindale as it means being amid the noise of London. So I am thinking of going to Dublin.
January 22 Wednesday: The mild weather continued and again it reminded me of the olden days when all winters were like thus. I did some work in the garden.
January 23 Thursday: Mrs Phillips came today, so the house looks a little neater. I did some more in the garden.
January 24 Friday (London): I caught the 10.30 to London and got busy on the paper at once. Tony Coughlan’s copy has not arrived, which was a nuisance. Sean Redmond still seems in good form. The favourable turn of events has done him immense good.
January 25 Saturday: I hardly slept a wink last night on account of the noise, and wrote to the Corporation pressing for another flat. But I have begun toying with the idea of leaving London altogether, and perhaps running the paper from Liverpool for a while – all I need in London is a pied á terre. Out with Charlie Cunningham.
January 26 Sunday: There was a development with curious overtones this morning. I was at the office for the Standing Committee, which was to begin at 10.30 but that only Sean Redmond and I were there. Then Joe Deighan came and Pat Bond. Before Pat Bond arrived Sean Redmond brought me a photograph which Desmond Hensey had taken and indicated that it was not suitable for reproduction. I remarked that I had shown him the type of thing that was needed yesterday and perhaps we would have better in future.
“Was the one you showed him taken by yourself?” asked Joe Deighan who had been listening.
“It was not,” I assured him, “It was a professional job.”
“I was going to say”, said Joe, with studied insolence, “that if you had taken a good one it must have been by mistake.”
I was quite astonished by this piece of impudence, since there is not even the basis in my ever having shown Joe Deighan a photograph taken by myself. Sean Redmond laughed – Dublin laughter. But there was more to come.
Joe Deighan explained, now seeming very friendly and concerned, that at the Irish Club he had met Vincent McNally [a Birmingham CA member] who was running a campaign against myself in which Finlay was involved. I immediately thought of Lindsay Aiken who has since sent £1 for the paper. I suppose I was supposed to be displeased at this also.
Then Joe Deighan and Pat Bond went into the other room. Sean Redmond and I followed. We found the table set out and arranged so that Pat Bond took the chair. “You’re taking the chair, I suppose,” said Sean Redmond to me. Then Pat Bond declared, “ I am the President,” not in any unpleasant way, and not even insisting. Sean pointed out that I took the chair at Standing Committee meetings, which I have done since the committee was founded. However I let the matter go. For I saw exactly what had happened. When Michael O’Riordan came we had Sean Redmond in the chair. Joe Deighan was loudly protesting, saying that Pat Bond should do it, as he was the “President” [ie. of the Connolly Association]. Both Sean and I pointed out that it had never been the custom for “the President” automatically to take the chair at public meetings. But he persisted. This was because he had resigned the position in a huff because I had taken the chair when O’Riordan spoke once before. I was determined to do it, moreover, because the Furlong gang had been trying to pretend there were differences between myself and 0’Riordan and to play upon them. Joe Deighan is thus still sore at not being “the President” himself, and wants to justify himself by pushing Pat Bond forward. And these little acts of spitefulness were the means of steeling himself to go through with his little intrigue. The scandalous thing about it is that both Sean Redmond and I approached Pat Bond and asked if he was upset at not chairing the meeting, and he said he was not. Deighan can be an outrageous flatterer at times and if he is playing on Pat Bond it is a bad sign. I resolved not to fall into his trap, but to watch him with more than usual care. As Jane Tate said to me about the same gentleman, “Isn’t it a pity we always have these egotistical figures who are more interested in their own tantrums than anything else.” There is another thing too. When Pat Bond is in the chair he waffles – and gives Joe Deighan the excuse to do the same.
Now at night I was out with Frank Small on the papers. I mentioned the Standing Committee in passing. “Oh, I believe there were going to be ructions.” “Why?” At first he did not want to speak. Then he said that Joe Deighan told him that I had “upset” the people in Birmingham and he was going “to bring it up at the Committee.” So he is running a propaganda campaign, and the irresponsibility of it is illustrated by the fact that I have not been in Birmingham for a very long time. I will endeavour to arrange that he is hoist by his own petard.
January 27 Monday (Liverpool): I spent most of the day on the paper, but managed to catch the 6.30, which arrived nearly an hour late. I met one of the members who had just come from the meeting. He told me that there were about 30 present, so it is clear that things are booming in Liverpool. I brought up with me the material John McClelland is sending out in connection with a conference to be held on March 9th.
January 28 Tuesday: I am still tired after the sleepless nights and work on the paper but came round towards evening and did a little on the book. John McClelland told me that there were about 25 at the meeting.
January 29 Wednesday: I went for lunch with Mrs Stewart. She had got over the depression she was suffering from and seemed reasonably cheerful.
January 30 Thursday: I spent the day on the book.
January 31 Friday: Another day spent on the book.
February 1 Saturday: Another day spent on the book. I am coming up to the truce period, and just beginning to come within sight of finishing the job.
February 2 Sunday: I spent the day on the book. It is becoming a three- session operation now, morning, afternoon and evening.
Februay 3 Monday: I sent to Ripley to read the proofs. There were delays on the railway. The taxi man who drove me up told me he had until recently been in the Derby police as chief of the traffic division. He spoke of the impossibility of solving the problems and added, incidentally, that following the fusion of Derby City and County police (a move designed to eliminate popular control) the majority are envying him his retirement.
February 4 Tuesday: I spent all day on the book.
February 5 Wednesday: I spent another day on the book.
February 6 Thursday: I finished Chapter 12 and began Chapter 13.
February 7 Friday: I started on Chapter 13, but as usual found that the subject did not admit of being dealt with hastily.
February 8 Saturday: I spent the whole day working and postponed my proposed visit to Dublin.
February 9 Sunday: I spent the whole day working.
February 10 Monday: I spent the whole day on the book, apart from laying in stocks of provisions from shops across the road, so that I shall not need to go out much.
February 11 Tuesday: I finished the draft of Chapter 13, which will need some revision but at least is out of the way. This was achieved by literal morning to night work. John McClelland has caught Asiatic influenza.
February 12 Wednesday: I made a a few notes about Chapter 14, and then began clearing up arrears of correspondence. Again I rang Tony Coughlan and postponed my journey.
February 13 Thursday: A letter came from Roy Johnston inviting me to address a school run by the Republicans. The aim was to prepare the way for taking seats in the Dáil. He said Michael O’Riordan was in favour of my going. But I told him I thought it unwise to nibble in that particular garden, and anyway I was not free at the proposed time. I wrote to Sean Redmond, Pat Bond, Pat Devine and others. Later Mrs Phillips came and I wrote to Maire Sheehan, Jim Savage, Jack Rusca, Eddie Frow and Tom Durkin. Finally I had the idea of getting Bert Edwards to write an industrial column and wrote to him. We had been half keeping him at arms length since his presence keeps Fiona [Fiona Connolly-Edwards, one of James Connolly’s daughters, to whom Edwards was married, but they had separated] out of things. But since he is here and as long as he is she will not come, we might as well make the best of it. I stocked big quantities of food and drink ready for a ”war to the knife” in the next chapter.
February 14 Friday: I spent the whole day working through the immediate aftermath of the Treaty and the Dáil debates.
February 15 Saturday: Another day on the same thing. It looks as if this is going to make an extra chapter.
February 16 Sunday: Another day on the same thing. The snow that has been falling on and off is still on the ground. John McClelland asked me to speak at the CA tomorrow.
February 17 Monday: I worked all day on Chapter 15. How slow this work is. The way the sources contradict each other is woeful. In the evening I went to the CA meeting [ie. of the Liverpool branch] and addressed them on “Women in the Irish National Movement”. Apparently Cath MacLaughlin had undertaken to do this and had got cold feet at the last moment. Barney Morgan was there and, tactless as ever, annoyed J. Roose Williams by teasing him about Wales. John McClelland got it into his head that to show sociability we should go to a public house where some of our visitors used to go, and as a result we were deafened by a man with a banjo, near where the “Beatles” started.
On the way down to Rock Ferry, I did not see, but saw the reactions of those on the bus who did see an accident. Apparently a motorist drove wildly along the Wiend, failed to slow up and brought some unfortunate down. “That’s the ninth accident I’ve seen today,” said the conductress. Then she explained that while she had not seen all these accidents happen, she had seen the results soon afterwards. I returned with Brian Stowell. We accompanied John McClelland to Hamilton Square, then waited for the Rock Ferry train. At the end of the platform we saw an elderly man who seemed slightly lame climbing down on to the track. “I hope he isn’t electrocuted,” said Stowell. He ran towards him and persuaded him to come back. He was not drunk but he had plenty taken. He had dropped a parcel on to the line. Soon he was climbing back. So Brian Stowell jumped down on the line and picked the thing up for him while the signal was green. I thought this a trifle foolhardy. But he is only 30 and presumably quick enough to get out of the train’s way. We could hardly get rid of the man afterwards. If his blessings do Brian Stowell any good, he will be a very lucky man.
Of course there were no taxis, so I had to walk up over the freezing snow. Near the top of Bedford Drive a motorcyclist told me there was a man lying on the ground. We went over to look. He was a young Irishman on his back, his breathing perfect and sending up columns of vapour. I telephoned the police. By the time I got back the victim was explaining that he had a drop too much and didn’t want to be arrested. I told him not to risk another fall. I felt confident we could say that hitting his head had affected him more than the wee drop he had taken. When the policeman arrived he was a helpful young fellow who promised to run the man home. So if I didn’t see more accidents, I saw my share.
February 18 Tuesday: I had a letter from Sean Redmond giving news of plenty of activity and another from De Loughry in Kilkenny. For the rest I continued with Chapter 15.
February 19 Wednesday: I finished Chapter 15, in draft at any rate. But clearly I cannot finish the book by the end of March. It will have to be April. The period from January 11th 1922 to December 8th is the most complex and difficult of all.
February 20 Thursday: I spent the day on preparatory work for the next two and probably final chapters.
February 21 Friday (London): I got up reasonably early and caught the 10.30 to London. Sean Redmond had expected to be away but the meeting in Birmingham was cancelled owing to snow. There was no snow in London, and by all accounts, although there have been sharp cold snaps, it has been mostly mild.
February 22 Saturday: I worked on the paper as far as the constant stream of visitors allowed. I forgot to say that yesterday afternoon the girl Acheson of the Sunday Times, whom I had met in Derry, called in to ask if we had sent on a bunch of voting papers for East Tyrone. I found them on my desk where someone had put them. Later Chris Sullivan told me there was a scare in one of the papers about the postal votes sent to a “left-wing organisation”.
Later in the morning Sean Redmond arrived back from Cambridge. It is quite remarkable the way he is travelling about now. There was a time we couldn’t get him out of the office. Margot Parrish came in to pay the rent[for one of the sub-let rooms]. She had been with Gollan whom together with his colleagues she (and seemingly Idris Cox) thinks “obsessed” with the unity of Nigeria [which was threatened at the time by the civil war over breakaway Biafra]. Gloria Devine came in saying that Pat Devine has been laid up for six weeks with bronchitis (I am sure she told me it was cancer of the lung, but this seems to have gone out of her head.) He is returning on Monday because, says she, George Matthews wants to get him off the management committee because he takes too independent a line, and knows so much of the past history of everybody and everything [Matthews was editor of the “Morning Star” on which Pat Devine also worked. Devine wrote a monthly column on international affairs for the “Irish Democrat”]. He is afraid his illness would offer an excuse. She spoke of a widespread effort to discredit the “old men” and mentioned specifically Dutt. This is a highly transitional time and perhaps every generation has to go through a process of “recapitulation”. So, as Pirani used to say, the same thing happens again and again, everything is freshly learned again and again [Professor Marcello von Pirani had worked with Greaves in the chemical industry in the 1940s]. In the evening I was out with Charlie Cunningham. Brian [?Surname unclear], who they say is getting more sensible, was out with Pat Hensey.
February 23 Sunday (Liverpool): All morning I was busy on the paper. Then Desmond Hensey appeared, followed by Frank Small. With the proper deference of youth they asked if they could go to Hyde Park and hold a meeting on their own. Of course I encouraged them. But later they contrived to get Joe Deighan in tow. He enjoys speaking. There was a touch of spring in the air for the first time, but it soon disappeared and the evening was damp and cold. I caught the 6.30 to Liverpool. The Sunday Times had an inaccurate account of the interview we gave them yesterday, including statements we couldn’t have made.
February 24 Monday: I did one or two other articles for the paper and wrote to Tony Coughlan and Betty Sinclair about my trip to Ireland. The BBC news had another piece of nonsense about postal votes and a “left-wing Ulster-Irish Association” in London. The story gets wilder. I saw John McClelland in the evening.
February 25 Tuesday (Belfast): I had the action back in the piano, Atkinson having renewed all the springs. It is better now. One or two dampers had not been returning quickly enough. But this cost £20. It had to be done.
In the evening I took the Belfast car ferry. It was with some trepidation. The Dublin one is such a horror. However I was pleasantly surprised, for though they have introduced a ghastly modern “décor”, the old facilities are still there. I was talking with the businessmen in the bar. I was surprised at the support of Enoch Powell whom they regard as a second Churchill. But the contempt of Wilson is total and universal. I doubt if there ever was a man so discredited since Chamberlain. But there is also a certain real resentment, not purely individualistic, against the general trivialisation and degeneration of social life, though of course their interests completely blind them to its origin.
February 26 Wednesday (Dublin): I slept well, but was still tired. It was raining and cold. I called twice to Betty Sinclair. She was out. I went to see Hughie Moore. He was out. Finally I went up the Falls Road to McAnerney [John McAnerney was on the NICRA Executive. He was also a member of the Campaign for Justice in Dungannon, founded by Patricia and Dr Conn McCluskey]. He was in. He was telling me about the so-called People’s Democracy crowd who have ruined the most promising generation of students yet grown. The genuine student movement has been taken over by “manipulators” who are no longer students themselves. He mentioned a few names. One of them is Michael Farrell. I forget the others. It was decided not to go into politics. A second meeting was called and again a resolution to contest elections was defeated. Then a carefully packed meeting, poorly attended by the ordinary members, was called. And the candidates went up. [Similar methods had been used in the People’s Democracy to authorise the Burntollet march the previous January, when members of the Irish Workers Group/International Socialists held successive open meeting after open meeting, after which people left on each occasion until they were able to get their way with a gradually diminishing group whose members did not realise how they were being manipulated.]
The “manipulators” will not allow properly constituted committees of officers. The world and his wife can come in. I remember Dooley used to try to work this trick on me in the olden days. It is hard to contend with, as you may appear to be claiming special privileges of leadership. These “scuts”, as McAnerney calls them, are trying to oust Betty Sinclair from the chairmanship of the NICRA. The Derry pair, Hume and Cooper, disaffiliated from NICRA so as to be able to pursue their political ambitions. Hume was not even present on October 5th but he defeated Eddie McAteer [the Nationalist Party leader] who was and, Betty Sinclair assured me, behaved very creditably. Hume jumped on the bandwagon, got on television – and the publicity machine rolled him home to smash the Nationalist party. I knew of course from my visit to Derry that Gery Lawless, with his seemingly inexhaustible funds for travelling expenses, had been to see Cooper long ago. I asked where the young hopefuls get their money from. McAnerney said their parents helped them on a Civil Rights programme, but that they inserted Left socialism through the back door. Their vote was grown because ten of their demands were based on “civil rights”, the other two were “workers’ control” and confiscation of bank-loans. McAnerney is not a Republican. He is not even an anti-Partitionist. He wants to remain within the UK and continue to receive the British subsidies. But he is a level-headed rational small businessman, very solid, sensible and broad-minded. He has no objection to the students preaching “Trotskyist communism” but objects to its being done under his banner.
Then I saw Hughie Moore. He also was afraid Betty Sinclair was in for a tough time. McAnerney told me she was too frank in her opposition to these people. She lets them see her contempt for them. Hughie Moore was very pleased when I told him McAnerney’s position. He concurred with most of his opinions. I came to the conclusion that the next move is in Britain. I hope the “scuts” don’t transfer operations there.
I then caught the “Enterprise” to Dublin, and Tony Coughlan met me at Amiens Street. We went for a drink and a meal, and then to his house in Ballinteer [properly Dundrum].
February 27 Thursday: Cold again, but not damp. I never do much the day after I arrive and I didn’t today. But I sent off the last copy to Ripley and went to Cathal’s in the evening. Roy Johnston was there. Relations with Mairin are very bad indeed. She is on the Adminstrative Council of the Labour Party [with the backing of Labour TD Michael O’Leary by whom she later had a daughter]. So political differences combine with personal difficulties. Of course the root cause of the trouble is his shocking parsimony. This would be all very well in a member of his own social class, but she is a working class girl. What there is everybody shares, and then when there is nothing everybody goes without. Moreover, he is not above taking a slightly superior attitude, which she resents and gives the edge of the sharpest tongue in Dublin. So, as if to apologise for his matrimonial difficulties, Roy retails tittle-tattle about Tony’s amatory adventures, all suppositious, and poor absent Tony is the one who has to be smiled at, though since he is absent, it doesn’t hurt him, and the source of the tittle-tattle about Tony Coughlan is – Mairin!
Later Cathal drove me out to Ballinteer. All agree that Roy Johnston, though he means very well and is a very estimable character, lacks the sense of humour that gives balance to political judgement. He is intense, absorbed, and you can’t even mention an idea without his wanting to rush out of the room and get it into print, or worse still into action. But he says the Republicans agreed to back Betty Sinclair [on the NICRA committee]. They had, Hughie Moore told me, a meeting at their request with the two parties. And Michael O’Riordan approached them about the NICRA troubles.
February 28 Friday: In the afternoon I went into the National Library and read a month of the Freeman’s Journal which happened to be out. Crossing O’Connell Bridge I saw Arthur Reynolds [a journalist on the “Irish Times”] running and waving at me. He looked the picture of health but had not starved. I mentioned Frank Small and he gave me a shock. Apparently the boy has contracted tuberculosis and will not live with his family. And this just at the time he is discovering an ability to write and speak. I promised I would do what I could. But what? If only these fools in schools would teach them to cook! You have men who can’t boil an egg and women who can’t turn a screwdriver. I was wondering if I could engage Toni Curran.
On the way back to Ballinteer who should be on the bus but Roy Johnston. He was snivelling with a filthy cold and looked unwell. He was going out to see his parents. Joe is 76 and not too well [ie. Professor Joseph Johnston, economist and one of the three senators representing Trinity College in the Irish Senate]. Yesterday he had been telling us how he had sold his car and went to work on the bus in order to get in three hours reading a day. Now he explained, and one had suspected it, that he finds it considerably cheaper and in view of the traffic congestion the car is little advantage anyway. He might as well spend the time reading as holding a steering wheel. This rather amused me. But we sensed that in going straight out from work to Dundrum he was avoiding the necessity of going to his own house till late. And the silly man! If only he’d buy her a new hat. But it would give him a nervous breakdown.
March 1 Saturday: Less useful work was done today than I had hoped. I saw Cathal and collected the bicycle I had lent him for his nephew who was too long to ride it and spent all his time eating and snarled up Cathal’s car. In the evening Cathal, Kader Asmal and Noel Harris came out to 111 Meadow Grove [ie. Anthony Coughlan’s house in Dundrum. Noel Harris lived on the same street].There was talk of the “People’s Democracy” who have begun to organise in London. Everywhere I see a curious inability to offer any alternatives to the students. In the North the Trade Unionists pursue their way uninterested in any politics that do not directly impinge on them. Barr and Graham have abandoned NICRA to the PD people. I would like to get the book out of the way and get back into modern affairs.
March 2 Sunday: We got up late, after the party. Tony Coughlan suggested going for a walk, so we went to Ticknock and up Three Rock Mountain and on till the forestry road petered out. Later on we went into town for a meal and called out to Cathal’s. We met Ron Lindsey of the TCD Republican Club. This situation is Roy’s work, that all the potential Marxists have been swallowed by the Republicans, and become seated at his feet or work for the United Irishman. Well, he was talking of going to Belfast to “sound out” Bernadette Devlin, the student PD-er who polled a high vote in Tyrone. The Republicans want Kevin Agnew, and they will not have Currie. The latest is that if Currie will not stand down they will oppose with Agnew, but if he will stand down they will accept this wee girl as a compromise. So Westminster would get its first Trotskyite MP as a result of the rebound of Partition. I would not be too sure of Lindsay. He is a vessel that gives forth an uncertain sound. You do not know the contents of what you are shaking, though obviously the tank is not empty. Perhaps people will have to see the actual results of all this folly before they will learn better.
March 3 Monday: I went into the National Library soon after midday and remained till about 5 pm. Then I called to Cathal’s since I had asked Sean Redmond to wire me if all was not well with the paper. There was no message. I met May Hayes in Grafton Street on the way. She is well, but is beginning to show the years [May Hayes had helped type Desmond Greaves’s letters when he was running the Connolly Association’s “Exiles Advisory Bureau” in London during World War 2]. Cathal tells me she is very opposed to the cultural activities such as poetry readings that the Wolfe Tone Society occasionally sponsors. Little Conor was lying on the couch drinking lemonade. He had “flu”. Said Finula, in his absence of course, “He only got it because he wasn’t allowed to go swimming when we did.” I asked Egon had he got the “flu”. “Of course not,” he replied, as if such a thing was not possible. Bebhinn was stepping like a young goat and asking for chocolate. And Killian was crying because the teeth are just beginning to form. I was hoping to go to Maire Comerford’s, but the public transport declining here as everywhere was too bad. So I mended the bicycle for tomorrow.
Late at night I called to see Kader Asmal [who lived on Barton Road East, Dundrum, the street parallel to Meadow Grove where Anthony Coughlan and Noel Harris lived in the same housing estate]. I found Sean Edwards there [a member of the committee of the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement]and later Ronnie Lindsey came in. The last is, as I guessed, politically uncertain – it was Roy sent him over to us, not Tony Coughlan – and is carried away by petit bourgeois confusions. But being Protestant he can at least understand that when we advise the Catholics to avoid “confrontations” we argue that otherwise they will prejudice their case in every Protestant household in Ulster. I am becoming increasingly inclined to believe that the Connolly Association must put out a statement.
March 4 Tuesday: I went into the National Library again. One of the Librarians told me about the O’Brien papers he hopes to have catalogued by July. I went into the newspaper room and saw sitting there the man I have always found a miserable devil, though I have heard him hold long patient conversations with people he knew whom I judged fools. I long ceased saying good morning to him when I went in, and confined myself to business. Today, perhaps mellowed by the appearance of the second sunny day, I greeted him. He then opened up. A brother of Charlie Donnelly’s was trying to collect his poems and Peadar O’Donnell had asked him to contact me. Of course I told him what I knew and that Leslie Daiken had sent a full selection to Devin Adair [the publishers], but failed in the elementary precaution of keeping a copy and then could not get them back. “Some are in Irish Front,” said the Librarian [ie. a stencilled bulletin produced in London in the mid-1930s by some of those who went on to establish “Irish Freedom”, later the “Irish Democrat” and the Connolly Club in 1938-39], “but neither we nor the British Museum have got a file.”
“Well, it so happens,” said I, “that I have the only file in existence, but it was damaged in a flood.” I offered to give him a microfilm. But he insisted that the Library would make the microfilm and give me a copy gratis. He was so delighted that he told Alf MacLaughlin right off and telephoned Donnelly’s brother. And the Librarian brought me in a newspaper catalogue for use on my own table!
In the evening I cycled over to Maire Comerford’s [who lived in Sandyford]. It was laborious, going there up the hill, as the gears were inoperative. I found she was at home, very delighted with my review of her book. She is a penetrating prier into historical facts, entertaining all manner of suspicions of recorded “truth”. Thus she thinks the British had penetrated Collins’s counter-espionage in Ireland and were feeding false information. But when I asked her if this was true all the time, she quoted post-Truce examples. But obviously if the authorities knew their letters were being opened they may have made it their business to plant wrong information. But save their policemen? Apparently not. She says the Sinn Fein knew of every raid before it came off. But to the end she said, “Nobody knew what side Cope was on.” She seizes all manner of details and grasps their significance because of her detailed knowledge of the period. But as she says, “I’m not a historian. I just take the little snippets that interest me and string them together to suit my story and opinions.” She has turned again to autobiography. But will she ever finish it? She is only up to her schooldays in 1909!
When I got back I found Cathal Goulding, Sean Garland and another of the Republicans drinking with Tony. I was a wee bit regretful. It was midnight and I knew I’d be kept up till 3 am. and miss a morning’s work. However there was great argument. I find them personally very modest but politically very arrogant. I was trying to head them off this move that is being planned for creating a breakdown of law and order that will compel England to abolish Stormont. “But that would be no harm,” says Cathal Goulding, ”It would show it is Britain’s responsibility.” I had great difficulty persuading him that this was now admitted. We must move on to the next stage – working out a policy. I don’t know whether much was agreed, but Tony Coughlan says they will think over what has been said. And, what I forgot to say at the start, they had come up so as to find out my views on matters in general.
March 5 Wednesday: I met Joseph Donnelly at the Trocadero [a restaurant in St. Andrews Street, off Dame Street] . He is a small intense man of 46 who reminded me of Ina Connolly. He told me that Charlie Donnelly was born in 1914 and died in Spain around February 1937. He was not yet 23. By all accounts he had written much accomplished poetry and his brother is trying to collect all his writings and publish them together with an account of his life. How did he conceive the notion first? He was seriously ill soon after his father died a few years ago. He dwelt on old memories and began to go through papers and so gradually grew more interested. He was much younger than his brother but he was quite close to him. They used to sleep together and he recalls being told of his going to the university and his impressions. The story was very interesting. Only one thing would perturb me and that is that the uncritical presentation of the youthful hero might set the young people madder than every on ultra-leftism. However, we will see. Perhaps it might be possible to influence events. Peadar O’ Donnell and Brian O’Nell are both interested and will write contributions. But Peadar is suffering from cancer – how he keeps going is a marvel. Apparently McInerney is also interested [Founding editor of “Irish Freedom”, precursor of the “Irish Democrat”, and in the 1960s political editor of the “Irish Times”]. Apparently Montague Slater knew him well. I wonder if it was Donnelly’s influence that resulted in his play “Easter Week”. Anyway I promised to get him whatever I could and post an advertisement or appeal in the Democrat.
March 6 Thursday: I spent a good part of the day in the Library, though I saw Sean Nolan at midday. I had noticed in the Independent a reference to the CPI taking over Moran’s Hotel at the start of the civil war and firing shots at an armoured car from the premises in North George’s Street. I asked Nolan if he had heard of this. “Indeed,” he replied, ”I saw it.” As a boy he lived in North George Street. He would be about fourteen perhaps and they used to pop their heads out of the doors to see if it was safe to go out and buy something, and how far they’d get. He remembered the armoured car moving up in gingerly fashion to a large box-like object Liam O’Flaherty had put in the middle of the road. It was thought to be a mine. Roddy Connolly was in this. They also took over Hughes’s Hotel, he can’t think why, and some of them were in Findlater’s. A few minutes later I met Michael O’Riordan in Pearse Street.
Tony Coughlan was saying that he thinks Cathal Goulding no longer holds the key position, and that the younger men in their thirties, Sean Garland and Ryan [Mick Ryan], now full-time, are the boys. This, he says, explains a certain vehemence in Goulding’s manner the other night. The younger men are prepared to depart even further from traditional practices. Later I saw Kader Asmal and Ron Lindsey. A letter from Sean Redmond told me that Farrell [ie. Michael Farrell] went to London to start a branch of “People’s Democracy”. Lawless and his crew were there, and every Trotsky and Potsky in London. They fell to quarrelling and nothing came out of it. But they talk of a march from Liverpool to London at Whit – by dad. But I’ve a feeling they may not be too long for this political world. Micheál O Loingsigh called in late.
At Asmal’s young Lindsey was talking about the United Irishman, for which he does some writing. Apparently as a result of my remarking that it was nonsense to imagine that any advantage could be gained from a “breakdown in law and order” compelling British intervention in Northern Ireland, Tony Coughlan wrote a draft editorial including some such remarks, and O’Toole cut it. This is just what annoys me about this position where Tony Coughlan and Roy Johnston work for the United Irishmaninstead of the Irish Socialist, providing the Republicans with a socialist screen which they discard whenever it suits them. They should stand exactly on their own feet and be allowed to learn from their mistakes. One never gets thanks for helping people like this.
March 7 Friday: I heard from Tony Coughlan that last night’s story was not correct. He has written an editorial on some other matter which appeared substantially unchanged. The paper is late because a libellous cartoon was noticed after 18,000 copies had been printed. But he did not submit one that was rejected. I heard from Sean Redmond and wrote suggesting he might come to Liverpool to meet Betty Sinclair and that I would telephone him tomorrow. But when I got out to the barbarous ferry I found I could not get a berth. So I went back to Tony Coughlan’s. He had been with Noel Harris, who has agreed to do an article for me, as has Kader Asmal also. The earlier part of the day I had spent in the National Library and I also saw Sean Nolan and for a few minutes Michael O’Riordan. It was a damned nuisance to be missing the boat. I have to decide whether to go via Belfast or Dun Laoire.
March 8 Saturday: I went into town with Tony Coughlan who was trying to get the latest amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill from Michael O’Leary [who was A.Coughlan’s then friend and former UCC fellow student and later flatmate and who had been elected Labour TD for Dublin North Central in 1965]. I went in to the shop and saw Sean Nolan. “The development in Belfast is about as bad as could be,” he told me. Betty Sinclair had gone up for the chairmanship of NICRA and received only two votes [This occurred at the 1969 AGM of the NICRA, held the previous month, at which PD leaders Michael Farrell and Kevin Boyle were elected to the Executive ]. One of the “People’s Democracy crowd got it, and the Vice-Chairman is Vincent McDowell, who doesn’t even live in the Six Counties but in Dublin! The Republicans voted against Betty Sinclair. I was talking to Michael O’Riordan about this. Roy Johnston told me last week that Hughie Moore had telephoned Sean Nolan, who got O’Riordan to see them. It was conveyed at once that they must support Betty Sinclair. But though Roy Johnston was so confident, it didn’t happen. “Moreover,” said O’Riordan, “it was an order”, which they disobeyed. He thinks they are in confusion in Belfast. They have as good as abandoned their abstentionist policy, but what is their role? This is what they can’t see, that if they adopt socialism they must become part of the labour movement. Apparently their Kerry organisations have broken away and refuse to sell the paper. O’Riordan says there has been no change in Cathal Goulding’s position[ie. as IRA Chief of Staff].
I telephoned Sean Redmond and he said he would come to Liverpool. I then took the train to Belfast, rang Jack Bennett and tried to find him, without success, and so went on board with precious little accomplished.
An interesting thing occurred yesterday. As I was walking along Molesworth Street towards the National Library a young man passed me. I had only a glimpse but took him for a student. As he went by he hissed “Fascist!” and walked on. Naturally I did not give him the satisfaction of appearing to notice. I don’t know just what reaction he hoped to evoke. But mine was that I intend to have a bump off those Trotskyites, and I said the same to O’Riordan and Nolan, who agreed. I think it will not be long before they get into difficulties and the time of education is coming. Apparently the lunatic left enjoys its greatest expansion at Trinity College.
March 9 Thursday (Liverpool): At about 1 pm. John McClelland and Brian Stowell came and drove me to Lime Street, where Betty Sinclair appeared with John Gibson and we met Sean Redmond. Betty told me what had happened. Apparently there was not a full attendance at the meeting at which she lost the position, and she appears to think that she would have a majority still if there was. She says it was Dr McCluskey who diverted to the People’s Democracy crowd funds intended for NICRA. She calls him stupid. But I know this kind of stupidity well. She says he is captivated by “the young people”. But I know he is terrified of Communism.
Before the conference began I had a word with Pat MacLaughlin [Liverpool CA member who had been in the Spanish Civil War] and asked him about Charlie Donnelly. He started as I thought on a circumperambulation of the Civil War in Spain. “This McCrotty was a Galwayman, and so was Kelly. Kelly said one day, ‘I’m going to get McCrotty, by shooting him in the back,’ Well, a few nights later he says, ‘We got McCrotty all right, but it was a terrible pity about young Charlie Donnelly.’”
“What!” said I to Pat McLaughlin, “You’re not telling me he was killed by his own side.”
“He was,” said Pat, “but I tell you, a few nights later I got Kelly. I shot him in the back.” I would not swear the man who told him said “we”, or that it was not Kelly he alleged to say “I”. He said nothing of collusion. But this was the crazy atmosphere in which McLaughlin promised a friend who was expiring in his arms that he would marry Cath – with results we have all seen [Pat and Cath McLaughlin were CA members in Liverpool but had a difficult personal relationship]. Pat McLaughlin showed quite unusual emotion while touching on some points in his story – much longer than I have recorded it – and I suppose that well he might.
When the conference began it appeared that they had made Barney Morgan chairman, though I told them we would all go to sleep. I nearly did, from having been on board ship without proper sleep. I had to go out and walk up and down William Brown Street to wake myself up again. Morgan had not the faintest notion what the purpose of the meeting was. He had Betty Sinclair answering every question as if we were in a lecture. And she is by no means taciturn. Sean Redmond spoke, not badly and more briefly than sometimes. But I was not called until 4.50 – to make the statement on policy and allow Betty Sinclair to catch the train to Manchester at 5.30 pm. This in turn was due to McCrudden having appeared and refused to accept our arrangements for taking Betty to Manchester by road at 7 pm. The time was so short that I declined to speak at all and advised Joe McCrudden to organise a recall conference. Apparently he was unabe to exert his secretarial influence because he was investigating the theft of Brian Stowell’s car from outside the building. I was so wild at the waste of time – I could have stayed in Dublin four more days – that I gave Morgan a piece of my mind and refused to go to Manchester for the chance of a repetition. I was rather sorry later that I had penalized McCrudden for Morgan’s error, though McCrudden had altered the arrangements by which we were not to leave Liverpool till 7 pm. Another piece of bad news was that J.Roose Williams would not be present. His brother Glyn had dropped down dead two days ago. I suppose he would be about 65 years old.
March 10 Monday: I did a little on the book. But I had to spend the morning laying in provisions.
March 11 Tuesday: I got in a full day on the book, except for the afternoon when I chopped and burned timber cut from trees last year.
March 12 Wednesday: Most of the day again I spent on the book. It is desperately slow work because of the variety and contradictoriness of the sources from which material must be drawn. I spoke to Sean Redmond on the phone already on Monday. I had urged a combining of the civil rights with the anti-partition issue. He told me on Sunday of the duplicity of the CDU [Campaign for Democracy in Ulster] who are holding joint social events with the United Irish Association. The majority of UIA members wanted us to be invited to their annual conference. But McCabe the secretary sabotaged it. Now these members are thinking of leaving it. It was snowing and melting all day.
March 13 Thursday: I spoke again to Sean Redmond on the phone. He tells me that Lenihan [ie. Fianna Fail Government Minister Brian Lenihan] is coming to the Patrick’s Day parade. McCabe is chief marshal. But, bless us, O’Sullivan of Clann na hEireann is the assistant-marshal. This great Republican, dolled up with a beard to look like Roger Casement, scampering around to a snack from the hated Fianna Fail! I told Sean Redmond I thought we should have a few words to say.
I spent most of the day on Chapter 15 and managed (I think) to harmonise the recollections of Padraig O Fathaigh with the material in the National Museum and and the report in the Connaught Tribune.
March 14 Friday: I went to Central Station where young Ian Williams, the student, was waiting. It was quite clear to me from the start that no preparation had been made for the meeting. There was nobody worth bothering about present. There was a talkative slightly bearded youngster who is a post-graduate student in philosophy. He wanted to use illustrations from France I disallowed. “Well if I am not allowed to argue in the way I please …” “What should you be?” I asked. “There is a subject on the agenda.” Afterwards Williams, who is not a bad lad though harum-scarum, told me he spends all his time in activities in the City and has little left for student affairs. An old disease. Put everybody’s house in order but your own. Some friend of his, aged 21, a “creative” type who can’t hold down a job, married, with children and unemployed, suffered some kind of brainstorm in his presence. He pulled a knife, then held it to the fire and burned himself with it. Williams took it off him and got the police to take him to Rainhill [Psychiatric hospital] where he has been visiting him instead of getting on with his work. The doctors have filled him with dope. I imagine he will never face his problems. Tin-openers for the hefty hypodermic syringes of the mind.
March 15 Saturday: I got on with the book, working all day on it. According to Sean Redmond the conference is going well. But Betty Sinclair has resigned from the NICRA committee and we have a problem there. [Editorial Note: In 1977 the NICRA published a useful booklet, written by Dr Patrick Murphy, to mark the tenth anniversary of its establishment. Titled “We Shall Overcome: The History of the struggle for Civil Rights in Northern Ireland 1968-78”, this is a useful source for this important moment in the Northern Civil Rights movement. It states, on page 18: “On March 7th (1969) the ‘Irish News’ carried a report that Bernadette Devlin, speaking a meeting in Gulladuff, had announced details of a march from the centre of Belfast to Stormont for the end of the month, to be organised by NICRA in association with the PD. NICRA had no previous knowledge of the march and although Farrell and Boyle [both recently elected to the NICRA Executive] denied that they had been responsible for the statement they proposed that the march should go ahead, despite the fact that it would mean marching through the heart of Loyalist East Belfast. At an Executive meeting to discuss the proposed march three separate pro-PD proposals were put forward by either Farrell or Boyle and on each occasion the vote was divided exactly seven each. On each occasion the Chairman, Frank Gogarty, used his casting vote in favour of the march. Four members of the Executive, Fred Heatley, Raymond Shearer, Betty Sinclair and John McAnerney resigned. . . Eight of the Omagh CRA leadership followed soon afterwards. The first open split in the NICRA ranks had appeared, and although an emergency general meeting on March 23 ended in some confusion, the majority attending were in favour of abandoning the proposed march to Stormont. That march never did take place but its proposed implementation within the organisation had caused severe damage.” In due course Edwina Stewart of the CPNI replaced Betty Sinclair on the NICRA committee with the support of the Republican members of the Executive].
March 16 Sunday: Another day spent entirely on the book. It looks as if I can finish this extra chapter and have perhaps two more to do.
March 17 Monday: Another day spent on the book.
March 18 Tuesday: Again on the book. Sean Redmond told me he had been approached by Roy Johnston to reserve two visitors’ tickets for Sinn Fein and two for Clann na hEireann. I advised him to say we would do this for Sinn Fein, but we must have applications from Clann na hEireann like everybody else. Otherwise the Sinn Fein people must vouch for them if we did not know them. And if they did not send for credentials they wouldn’t speak.
March 19 Wednesday (London): I worked on the book. In the afternoon Noel Harris rang. He was in Liverpool to negotiate with the Royal Insurance Company on behalf of the Irish members of his union. He called to 124 Mount Road. He has an offer of 4%. He told me that Cathal MacLiam had been standing outside the United Irishman office when a girl picked up a notebook and asked him had he dropped it. Glancing at it he saw it belonged to a Special Branch policeman, so he said it was his and there was great fun looking at it. He was in it himself with a note “wife named Helga”. And I was in it, “born 1917 wears an old tweed coat, carries duffle bag”. Needless to say Tony Coughlan and Roy were in it and all the IRA and Sinn Fein people, and O’Riordan and the IWP people! They are talking of publishing extracts in the United Irishman. I suppose they will make it appear that one of the policeman is handing things out or selling them! He told me the bad problem in Belfast is mainly due to the failure of Andy Barr and others [ie. in the CPNI] to back up Betty Sinclair. I think this is very likely.
March 20 Thursday: I went to London. I was in the office when Betty Sinclair telephoned that she could not come. There is a special conference of NICRA called to discuss the resignations. Apparently Fred Heatley went also. Betty Sinclair took up the attitude that the special conference was unconstitutional and sent letters to the press to that effect. But now she has decided to go. We learned that Roy Johnston is coming in person on Sunday. We will spend days dissuading people from carrying out all the bright ideas he has strewed around. I spoke at South London in the evening. There were not many there – about eight. After the meeting I stayed with Pat Bond as 145 Greys Inn Road is too noisy except on Fridays and Saturdays.
March 21 Friday: I worked on the paper all day. Sean Redmond seems to have worked well enough on the Conference. One has got to be philosophical about the limitations one sees. This kind of organising work, on a definite thing, he does very well. It is when imagination is required that he is lost.
March 22 Saturday: Again I was on the paper and in the evening met Pat O’Donohue of Tuam in Hammersmith. There were very few people about.
March 23 Sunday: The Conference took place today. The hall was full. Roy Johnston appeared and trailed with him the Casement-like bearded figure of Pat O Suilleabhan of Clann na hEireann, and one other. We did not press them to speak. Last week was the Patrick’s Day parade and Lenihan stood on a dais at Hyde Park taking the salute as Irish organisations filed past. The chief marshal was McCabe of the UIA [the United Irish Association, which had Irish embassy connections]. The Connolly Association was not invited. But O Suileabhain [of the Sinn Fein/lRA-linked Clann na hEireann] was the deputy marshal. This in front of the hated Leinster House traitor! [The UIA recognised the legitimacy of the Dáil in Leinster House, unlike Sinn Fein/IRA or their British affiliate, Clann na hEireann]. The Clann had their banner. But just before he drew level with the dais McEllistrim [of Clann na hEireann] was discerned gathering the banner up and decamping with it. A few moments later the Clann contingent booed Lenihan to a man! Then next night at the Embassy dinner O Suilleabhan apologised to Lenihan for the demonstration. So what kind of people are they?
I took the chair flanked by Paddy Byrne and Joan Hyman. Sean Redmond spoke for the Connolly Association, and quite ably. Joe Deighan played the elder statesman and sat at the back smiling. Eamon MacLaughlin made an excellent statement. Indeed for once there was not an irrelevant contribution. Dissident members of the UIA were present and Eugene Mallon was intriguing at full blast, trying to get further action under the control of the Movement for Colonial Freedom committee of which he is a member, while the UIA is not affiliated to the MCF. But I scotched that by proposing that the next step should be decided by the three executives in consultation. Bobby Heatley was there, and Gerry Curran, Pat Bond and Peter Mulligan with his tape-recorder, but not Frank Small. There were also Charlie Cunningham, Pat Haensey, Jim Kelly and others. A UIA man said to Sean Redmond when it was over, “You’ve taken the initiative now.”
We had a social in the evening. Sean Redmond had a cold and went home. But Charlie Cunningham was there, and Peter Mulligan, Tadhg Egan, Joe Deighan, Jim Kelly and a young fellow from Dublin called Stockwell that Finchley CP had put in touch with us. I rang up Hostettler to ask why he had not spoken. He told us that at lunch-time he had a phone call to the effect that his office had been burgled and two typewriters stolen. He had had to leave. He was, he said, impressed by the new legal approach I had made to the Government of Ireland Act [The Connolly Association was calling for an enquiry into the 1920 Government of Ireland Act which had established Northern Ireland, Section 75 of which provided for the supreme authority of the Westminster Parliament over “all matters, persons and things” in the area, despite the parliamentary convention that London should not interfere with the exercise of powers devolved to Stormont]. Forty odd delegates signified willingness to attend a recall conference to take action.
I was speaking to Joe Deighan. He told me that Gogarty [Frank Gogarty] who replaced Betty Sinclair in NICRA [as its chairman] is, in his opinion, “on amphetamines” – meaning methyl isopropylaniline pills. Betty Sinclair says his hands are forever shaking. He says that this woman the Republicans are trying to push instead of Currie is somewhat unstable, to put it mildly, and that Michael Farrell was for nine months under psychiatrical treatment for mental stability. Betty Sinclair has been under terrible strain with all this lunacy and has had two completely sleepless nights. But his own family are turning against the so-called “People’s Democracy” as the mistakes they made are becoming realised. Roy Johnston spent most of the evening talking to members of the UIA and Clann na hEireann he had brought – surprisingly enough O Suilleabhan in person. I doubt if I had ever had more than a word with him. Roy was trying to bamboozle me with talk that O Suilleabhan had brought him along! But I knew he had had to find him and fetch him, because he told this to somebody else. I was not gushing welcome. Rather I reproached him for tardiness. And then I took the midnight train.
March 24 Monday (Liverpool): I worked on the paper, and noted from The Times that some kind of compromise was reached at the NICRA meeting yesterday.
March 25 Tuesday: I finished the paper and posted it off. Sean Redmond told me on the phone that Betty Sinclair had withdrawn her resignation, but McAnerney had refused to be placated. Apparently Currie had helped to restore unity. This may help him. A letter from Cathal yesterday gave details of the “find” in Dublin. Helga and Conor are in bed with infective hepatitis. A fine pickle! The cold weather continues. Since the first week in February the wind has merely oscillated between southeast and northeast. But today the sun came out for a minute or two and it is dry. But I have a cold.
March 26 Wednesday: News came from Tony Coughlan about the same thing – how the MacLiam household is “tré na chéile”[ie. in a mess]. Which reminds me of the time we were taking Helga’s cousin to her lodgings in Mount Merrion. One of us remarked that the North was “in a puckle”. She looked puzzled. The word “puckle” came from a young Scot who called to Charlie Byrne’s and said things were in one. He also spoke of a “blue do” which was a “blue dove” and they both rocked with mirth at fooling Sean Redmond and me. So what was a “puckle”? Cathal explained it was Scots for a pickle. “Pickle?” says she. Inspiration struck me and I cried “Was ist verrucht.” So that is the way the household is!
March 27 Thursday: Every time I think of going to the cottage I catch cold or it pours rain. The weather was not too bad today, but I had a cold. However I got a certain amount done. I am still chugging through 1922 and have finished the banned convention – more or less.
March 28 Friday: The cold did not develop into much. But for the necessity of airing the sheets, etc. I would have gone. But I got in some revision on the last chapter. However, I am tired. The constant work without a break is telling.
March 29 Saturday: Sean Redmond rang in the morning. He had taken my advice to contact Austin Currie through Dr McCluskey. But he could not come. I advised him to try Garland [Sean Garland of the Sinn Fein/IRA] but he thought Cathal Goulding was more important. He said he would ring Roy Johnston. We have no objection to Clann na hEireann working with us if they behave themselves. But they are worried about getting their ticket to the Embassy on Patrick’s Night. Sean Redmond undertook to do Ripley for me. He said that McEllistrim was our opponent in Clann na hEireann. He would also contact Joe Deighan. The weather is better. Strange to see a west wind!
March 30 Sunday: I spent the day again on the book, though I could have gone to the Salop. I am wondering what I will find when I do get there. I did a little in the garden.
March 31 Monday: It was cooler again, with a strong northerly element in the wind, but bright. I continued revising chapter 15 and did not get on to 16 as I had hoped.
April 1 Tuesday: I continued on the book, this time preparing the chronology for the next chapter, which is to bring the story to the outbreak of civil war. I also got in some work on the garden as the weather was fine. I am slowly clearing up the part behind the house where the lilacs over-run the whole ground. Each year I drive them back, and now I see shoots which I may train to grow upright and thus provide more space. I moved raspberries back to where used to be a tangle of weeds.
April 2 Wednesday: I spent the day on the book and in the evening I saw John McClelland at the Half-Way House, where I used to meet the Coulthards during the war.
April 3 Thursday (London): I took the mid-day train to London. At 6 pm. Patsy Byrne arrived to represent the CDU at the tripartite meeting [ie. of the CA, the CDU and the MCF]. Barbara Haq was unable to attend. She has been warned that unless she takes a fortnight’s holiday she will have a “nervous breakdown”. Byrne will agree to anything, but that is handy. We are most anxious to get the framework of the movement reasonably well set before the so-called “People’s Democracy” invade the place and start wrecking. We learn that one of this crew, a female known as Bernadette Devlin, has secured the nomination for mid-Ulster and Heaven knows what wrecking we will have to contend with. Already the bunch of them have turned the Civil Rights movement into a one-religion organisation. When she gets to work with her pretty face and her Trotskies and Potskies we will have a hard time. We agreed to the re-call for May 11th.
April 4 Friday: I was in the office most of the time, and among other things took occasion to write to Camden Council who have not yet replied to my communication. Even on these days the noise is desperate. I understand from Sean Redmond that Seán Garland is willing to come on Sunday week. He has got Fitt and Stan Newens [Labour MP for Epping and active in the MCF], and Joe Deighan will go to Birmingham.
April 5 Saturday: I was in the office in the morning. Charlie Cunningham, Sean Redmond, Desmond Hensey, Pat Hensey and Peter Mulligan were there. Peter is along more now. He has shaved off his absurd moustache and seems to have passed through that phase of his youth. We all went on a poster parade in the afternoon at Hammersmith. I was with Pat O’Donohue in the evening. We learned at 8.30 pm. that Clann na hEireann have a Trafalgar Square meeting tomorrow.
April 6 Sunday (Liverpool): I as in the office in the morning, then I went to the Park and saw O’Sullivan. We told them they should have informed us about the parade. One of their members told Sean Redmond that there had been many resignations lately. The arrangement for the meeting had been muddled. O’Rian was coming next Saturday for a “policy meeting”[presumably Mick Ryan of Dublin Sinn Fein/IRA]. “What’s that?” I asked. “Oh, he’ll give them all a bollocking,” says Sean Redmond. “Or tell them all to join the CA,” said I. “We’ll have to have a line ready for that.” However, Garland has still not communicated and I suspect he may wait until after Saturday. Clann na hEireann did not seem deeply disappointed that we were not with them. They were quite happy to leave us behind. I went to the Square. It looked full from the balcony, but when I went down I could see the crowd was only three or four deep. People were saying how poor a show it was.
Then I went to 145 Gray’s Inn Road to collect some things, to the office to collect some more, and so to Euston. As I passed down Gray’s Inn Road I saw an elderly man in jeans and donkey jacket rescue a pigeon that had been struck by a motor-car and leave it on the pavement. He was quite sorry, and stroked the bird as it lay there. He must have felt some similarity with that pigeon. On the train a woman in her seventies told me a man had gone an extra station to get her luggage to Euston for her. She was the widow of a solicitor, a fundamentalist in religion, and never read the newspapers as they contained nothing but stories of wickedness, such as the slaughter in Biafra and the making of a hydrogen bomb. She said she was a very worried woman coming to Liverpool about family problems. Strange it was that when I got to Central Station who should pass me but John McClelland on the way to a sale. From what I gather the “People’s Democracy” reached Dundalk [on a civil rights march directed at opinion in the Republic, calling for “civil rights North and South”]. At that point Bernadette Devlin, Farrell and some others returned for a “confrontation” in Antrim. The rest sat on the roadside. They hadn’t the price of the bus ticket to Drogheda.
April 7 Monday: I worked in the garden most of the day, which was warm and dry. I heard on the radio that the Galway students had refused to join the People’s Democracy, angry because they had raised the question of contraceptives in the Republic. So now having split Catholics and Protestants in the North they want to split the North from the Republic – all with ample cooperation from the television teachers?
April 8 Tuesday: I spent the day on the book and bothered with little else, except a discussion with Sean Redmond on the phone.
April 9 Wednesday: Again I was busy on the book.
[A gap of one week occurs in the Journal record here, when presumably Greaves continued working on his Mellows biograhy at his home in Birkenhead.]
April 17 Thursday; I was working on the book all day but met John McClelland in the Half-Way House in the evening for a drink.
April 18 Friday (London); I went to London on the 10.30 train and went to 145 Gray’s Inn Road. There I found a letter from the Corporation offering me a small cheap flat in Argyle Square. I went to look at the outside and immediately resolved upon accepting it. However, I was too late to get the key.
I went to the office and found Sean Redmond in the thick of operations. I set to work on the paper. Pat Bond is in hospital being cured of varicose veins. He must be well into his forties now! He drives everywhere in his car and has done for years. I had a few words with him on the telephone. Sean Redmond and I discussed my bold Bernadette. According to Joe Deighan she is a very doubtful entity. He was told on good authority that after the ructions in Newry[where some police tenders had been vandalised during a demonstration organised by the People’s Democracy, while the police looked on without interfering] she made a great song about “paying for the damage” and took up collections. “Did you pay tor the damage?” somebody asked. She roared laughing. This of course may be just peasant foxiness. Or it may be shameless arrogance. Bobby Heatley rang urging that she be invited on Sunday. I had discussed this with Sean Redmond and we decided to see the colour of her money first. So I told Bobby Heatley No. Apparently Joan Hyman had been at Heatley.
April 19 Saturday: I was in the ofice in the morning. There was a poster parade and loud-speaker van. Sean Redmond tells me members are joining every day. He seems in good enough form and has worked hard on this demonstration. I think he sees more for his work. In the evening I was out with Pat O’Donohue and Charlie Cunningham.
April 20 Sunday We had the Standing Committee in the morning – only Sean Redmond, Joe Deighan and myself. Joe was at first in a despondent mood. He feared that Bernadette Devlin would revivify the Trotskies. “You’ll have sit-downs every day now,” he declared. I concentrated on plugging every policy gap and trying to leave no vacuum anywhere that they could fill. Deighan got more optimistic. He went off to a meeting in Birmingham. Sean Redmond talks now of continuing, so wants more money.
I say Bobby Heatley who had been at the meeting to found “People’s Democracy” in London, yesterday. He told me about thirty were present. Polyphemus [a one-eyed creature in Greek mythology] was in the chair. Mostly it was nonense. We were all glad Lawless was in it as this is a recognisable label .
At the Park there was a group in anarchists in patched beraggled jeans, long hair and an assortment of unusual habiliments. They had black flags. Among them was a character McGurk [Tom McGurk, later a prominent Irish journalist] who was a Queen’s student, and a PD. He wanted to speak in the Square. We wouldn’t allow him. Then it was clear that Gerry Fitt was not going to turn up; he failed again twice. Finally a Cambridge student who a few weeks’ ago was a “Young Liberal” told Sean Redmond, “Right, he won’t speak? Then it’s war!” I made some play with this later.
Stan Newens was worried about Bernadette Devlin. Shinwell [Minister in the post-war Attlee Labour Government] had drawn rings round her in a radio interview. She seemed very confused. I advised him to bring her into contact with the CDU. But among them Rose [Paul Rose MP] has been pontificating on the Irish question in the Irish Times and wants Ireland back in the Commonwealth. Tom Mitchell was there. But he is a poor speaker. It was the first time a Sinn Fein had been on our platform. Newens spoke for the MCF, Ken Graham for the CDU. Robby Rossiter raised a collection of £138. In the evening we all went to the King’s Head, Charlie Cunnngham, Pat Hensey, Joe O’Connor, Desmond Hensey, Jim Kelly, Jane Tate, Elsie O’Dowelling – and many more.
April 21 Monday: I braved the uproar – with a bottle of Piesporter – and had a look at the flat today. It is smaller and cheaper than 6 Cockpit Chambers. But I wrote and told them I would be back in London on May 9th and would take it. Argyle Square is not silent, but it is not noisy. It was, I think, the place where Gerry Curran was living when I first met him around 1947. He was then 24! I spent the day at the office, apart from this, and in the evening invited Joe Deighan to have a drink with me at the Pindar of Wakefield. He seems not quite so gloomy. He is a desperate creature of moods. But I thought a few squirts of the old oil can would do no harm. He was complaining about Sean Redmond. “All organisation.” But it is small wonder. He has the easy organisational work to do. The interesting thing is that yesterday Sean Redmond said he had no new job in mind and wanted a wage-increase. I said “of course”.
April 22 Tuesday (Liverpool): I came to Liverpool on the 11 am. The crew has changed and I did not get a very satisfactory lunch. I brought part of the paper with me.
April 23 Wednesday: I worked on the paper. Sean Redmond telephoned. He had been at the MCF thing at the House of Commons with Bobby Heatley, Charlie Cunningham and Joe Deighan. Stan Newens and John Ryan [both Labour MPs. Both had been on the 5 October 1968 civil rights march in Derry] were there, and of course Gerry Fitt, but not Bernadette Devlin. Bing [Geoffrey Bing QC] gave a good talk and said my plan of an amended Government of Ireland Act was legally sound. Fitt was upset because Bernadette Devlin has stolen all his limelight! Newens remarked that her speech that all the paper are in raptures over had not constructive proposals in it. “And big-headed too”, said Sean Redmond. Apparently Ryan had approached her and offered to get her into Tribune. “I’m sure Michael Foot would be pleased”. She dismissed him quite in the grand manner, “See my publicity agent”. It looks as if she is slightly unbalanced.
April 24 Thursday: I was on the phone with Sean Redmond quite a deal. Idris Cox asked him to discuss what he and Woddis could do to help. I made some suggestions. I see Bernadette Devlin is now playing the “I’m not staying long in politics” trick she used to get the nomination in mid-Ulster. “As soon as there’s anybody can do a better job, I’ll resign,”she says. So she is confident there is nobody to touch her. Sean Redmond says there were thirty-five at the last branch meeting, a record, all new. Members come in every day.
In the evening John McClelland phoned, and we met at the Half-Way House. I had a letter from Sean Murray’s wife, Margaret Murray, saying that she was pleased with the idea mooted that I should write Sean’s biography. My plan had been Frank Ryan next, but Michael O’Riordan says he is going to do something.
April 25 Friday: I heard from Sean Redmond that Idris Cox suggested a CP pamphlet and I agreed that I would do them a draft.
April 26 Saturday: I had a letter from Mrs Stewart saying that she had been in Sheffield. I telephoned her and she said her health was better. The depression had lifted but she had fits of trembling that prevented her writing. I noticed her script was extremely irregular. She is taking tablets. I wondered if this was the cause. She said if she stopped she feared she would have dreadful dreams. I wonder about the wisdom of all this. For years gone by I have worked on the principle that dreams are friends. Even unpleasant ones discharge tensions, and can be useful if analysed – not of course in the absurd Freudian way. Pehaps she needs a few dreams. But on the other hand there might be an illness that the doctor has not told her about. Possible Parkinsonism? I hope not. I invited her to pay a call on Tuesday week. Most of the day I spent on the book. But what confused sources one must draw from! There is no attempt, not even in Dorothy McArdle, leave aside entirely Calton Younger’s recent lucubration or Florence O’Donoghue’s, to estimate the situation as a whole. The result is that one must break all their work up into its component parts, put the facts on card-index cards in chronological order, and then reconsider every single conclusion that they offer. A time-consuming job. I think I will go to the cottage tomorrow.
April 27 Sunday: I spent the whole day writing again. It has taken nearly as long for me to write of these events as it took them to happen.
April 27 Monday: I spoke to Sean Redmond on the telephone. His meeting in Hyde Park seems to have been a success. The Times had a reference to it. I mentioned to him the announcement that NICRA was to start “civil disobedience” in England. He met a character who was formerly in Clann na hEireann and apparently he is proposing to do it. Betty Sinclair was at the NCCL thing yesterday and also there was one of the conceited youths from “People’s Democracy” who however hadn’t a political idea in his head, sized up the support for our resolution on a Bill of Rights and voted for it, not only there but at the CDU conference he went to next! Eamon MacLaughlin did well and they passed our resolution too. But according to Tony Coughlan that twisty individual Ivan Cooper has come out for British suspension of Stormont, and return to 1919. I wrote an editorial in view of all these changes.
April 29 Tuesday: Now I see the Devlin woman has followed Cooper. The Telegraph and BBC were preparing this some time ago as a second line of defence. I told Sean Redmond to insert a mention of her name, as he goes to Ripley tomorrow. Just for the record! It is to be hoped that Cathal Goulding will come off that, if he has not already done so. I suggested to Sean Redmond to try to give Bernadette Devlin a bit of a polite lecture.
April 30 Wednesday: A letter was sent on from Betty Grant who has come out of the past full of pleasure at developments on the Irish front. Also Joseph Donnelly asking me about Irish Front, which I have here. After my writing them a very strong letter about having attempted to over-charge me, I actually got an acknowledgement from the Gas Board.
May 1 Thursday (Salop); At long last I got away. I cycled to Capenhurst, then took the train to Shrewsbury and cycled out to the cottage. It was somewhat the worse for wear. The gable-end is badly damaged by the frost and snow, which I judged had broken the branches from the ash that littered the field. I gathered them and broke them up for fuel. There was a general dampness inside, which however quickly yielded to a strong fire. The weather was fine.
May 2 Friday: Today it began with black mist and slowly developed into rain which continued all day, only diminishing a little by nightfall.
May 3 Saturday: A fine day today, cool on the mountain but warm in the woody valley through which I cycled to Bishop’s Castle. It is an interesting little town. In the centre is a little plaque commemoration the “Struggle for Independence” finally destroyed by the Labour rats in 1967. There was a butcher who advertised that meat was killed on the premises. He was all smiles to everybody. When I passed for the last time before leaving the town he was still smiling and almost curtseying to customers. Then there was a baker. When he has not the loaf to advertise in the window he sent a girl to the bakery and she brought out a hot one. There was no chain store of any kind, though Mace had bought one grocer, and several had the wretched customized “self service” system of making people pick the pegs they lay on a poll. The street was not crowded though it was a Saturday. There were farmers in plus-fours, one old farm labourer was buying biscuits, jam and slab-cake. I wondered why. Was this his idea of a treat? Could he afford nothing else? Did his work demand carbohydrates and give him a taste for them? Everywhere there were signs of agricultural interests. Many people were buying the roots of flowering plants – all the kinds that embellish cottage gardens. There were no saddlers of course, but two large hardware shops next door to each other. I wanted a padlock. In one of these a young man of about 21, red headed, quick and responsive, showed me a vast selection hanging on a wheel with a debonair gesture. I selected one. I wanted an auger. He showed me some huge drills. I explained what I had in mind. “Oh, you mean a gimlet.” So he flew upstairs – three at a time without a sound – and was back in a moment to say he had none. The price of the things I had? “Oh, six shillings and four. Oh? ten – ach? Call it ten shillings for cash.” So that was that.
Next door I went to the counter. There was a taller lad about the same age, dark haired, much more one of the original inhabitants. A gimlet? What’s a gimlet, a small auger. He moved sharply over to the owner whom I took to be his father. He found a box of gimlets and I selected a small one. Never was there such a contrast between two youngsters!
There is a “civic society” with premises. There is a competition for cottage products, hanging baskets and such like. Then there are traditionally Welsh things. It was odd to see the names of Welsh townlands listed in the areas covered by the society. But there are eisteddfodau here and the whole tone of the place belongs to Radnor or Montgomery. The shops are unimpressive at the front, but have surprisingly spacious premises behind – just as happens in Irish country towns. I spent several interesting hours. Some time I would like to spend longer. It seems a place with a fascinating history, and is a borough as long as Liverpool! Or very near.
I returned to Pennerley bog and went into a churchyard at [Placename in the original unclear]. Most of the interments dated from 1780 to 1850. Apart from some substantial Medlicotts, most of the names are Welsh. One family, buried in the early 19th century, had lived continuously at “The Beeches” for four centuries. Here was more fascinating history. I was quite pleased with the trip. In the evening there was a violent thunderstorm out of the south-east and it turned cold.
May 4 Sunday: Another wet day, though it cleared in the afternoon. I built a stone wall to protect the coal and started another to try to build up a container for cultivable ground. It will be hard to contend with weeds. But I may be able to grow flowers anyway. I called to the Corbetts. They had influenza but are now well. The winter was desperate. They showed me many trees whose branches had been cracked in two and had split and fallen. They spoke of Phyllis’s last visit. She was there with a friend who had an aged mother and was taking her home. As she left she said, “I’ll be here next week before school starts.” They remarked to each other that she did not look well. Phyllis took Corbett to the doctor in her car and was always ready to bring them out anything they wanted from Liverpool. They told me that Pugh had lost five lambs in a sudden frost that “froze them to the ground”, that he is “fed up” and is leaving this hard country.
May 5 Monday (Liverpool): It was fine after the mountain mist cleared. I hastened to get to Shrewsbury, caught a train at 12.8, and left it at Hooton to cycle to 124 Mount Road and arrive by 3 o’clock. I had a word with Sean Redmond on the phone. All goes well. He met Bernadette Devlin on Thursday. She has very little idea. On Thursday she was to have spoken at a May Day rally at Tower Hill. But Sean Palmer[ie. John Palmer, later European correspondent of “The Guardian”, runner of a think-tank in Brussels and prominent advocate of EU integration] brought her to a Trotsky platform where she spoke with Brian Behan, that contemptible cur that Kay Beauchamp and Tom Durkin were so enamoured of. The result was that when she went to the genuine meeting they would not allow her on the platform. Of course she has Trotsky connections all the time. She is also in trouble at home as there are whisperings regarding the financing of her election campaign. I imagine she will be a fine companion for that other wee scut, Eamonn McCann.
May 6 Tuesday: Sean Redmond rang me about having the press at the conference next Sunday. I thought not. We had about sixty on the walk on May Day Sunday and he spoke from the platform. Mrs Stewart came to lunch. She says she is better but still the fingers are liable to tremble. The doctor tells her this will stop. She fell and hurt herself in the garden yesterday but seems to have got over it. She misses Phyllis [ie. his recently deceased sister] very much, the community of interest which is irreplaceable, the holidays and the little things Phyllis was always doing for her, for example giving her the wallpaper that is in her kitchen.
May 7 Wednesday: The weather is dark and cold and miserable. All I did was to write the pamphlet that Woddis wants. It is so gloomy that it would give you a pain in the backside! Sean Redmond is wondering what is happening in the shades of the Clann na hEireann.
May 8 Thursday: The weather was not quite so wet. I finished the story up to the decision to attack the Four Courts. It is surprising how little is made of the event. It is the counter-revolution corresponding to Easter 1916, the decisive reversal. A letter from Sean Redmond enquired about plans for July. He is getting well ahead. I have a feeling that I shall have to concentrate on writing from now on. If he continues to show this improvement I could hand the paper over to him. He told me that Brendan McGill and a character called Sean MacDermott whom Joe O’Connor knows, have started a branch of NICRA in London with McEllistrim, as secretary. He judges that they consist of the anti-CA faction in Clann na hEireann. There was loud talk last Sunday week of Connolly Association “domination” of the movement it pioneered. Apparently MacDermott went to Dungannon “to get permission” to start in London. Sean Redmond asked if we should invite them on Sunday. I thought so, though I was not sanguine of the result. Coventry and Birmingham want a central clearing house for information in London. I said we should do that. Apparently the meeting to form NICRA was held at the Irish Club, with the Embassy-controlled United Ireland Association very much in evidence. Pat Bond’s remark was that the Republicans are completely untrustworthy and cannot keep out of intrigue. Their connection with the embassy crowd is quite noticeable over a period.
May 9 Friday (London): I caught the 10.30 to Euston. I had a talk with an engineer from the firm who electrified the railway. He told me that he thought the decision had gone against the extension to Glasgow. He told me about the fools in Manchester who, being satisfied that the “mono-rail” would not be suitable for transport to the airport, are talking of installing a “duo-rail” – in other words an ordinary railway, but they call it a “duo-rail” so that they can avoid linking it to the general railway system!
When I got into the office I found Sean Redmond and Chris Sullivan – the latter having more or less given up the intention of working. He will end up a bum if he is not careful. There was a letter from Lindsay Aiken’s sister saying he died suddenly a week or two ago. He had sent me another of his crazy letters. Joe McNally also wrote saying it was a heart attack and that he’d been “going queer” for some time.
I went to the International Affairs Committee and gave Woddis the manuscript of the pamphlet. He wants to put the author’s name on it. I can see difficulties. Sean Redmond can see many more, including the possibility that it might have “curiosity sales value” if my signature were not to be there. It is of course a case of aquila non capit muscas [the eagle does not catch flies]. R. Palme Dutt was present. He seems well but looks old. And I have the impression that the younger people do not understand what he says (which they never did), but now they take little notice.
From Sean Redmond I learned of a discussion he had yesterday. Idris Cox had been in Belfast where he must have had some discussions. I gather that they were not pleased at my describing the right to carry out secession if a majority demands it as a democratic right! Also the party has “disciplined” Betty Sinclair, removing her from all her positions, and apparently if must be they who decided she must not be on the NICRA any more. The division of opinion had some connection with the Republicans. No doubt we will learn. Edwina Stewart is replacing Betty on the NICRA [ie. the NICRA Executive Committee].
May 10 Saturday: I was in the office most of the day. In the evening I was in Kilburn with Chris Sullivan. I returned to a complex situation.
May 11 Sunday: At the Standing Committee in the morning Sean Redmond reported that the Connolly Association was almost solvent. Malachy McKenna had sold hundreds of badges in Belfast. There were many more members than in the past. We had a long discussion on this afternoon’s affair. Edwina Stewart and Rebecca McGlade [members of the NICRA Executive in Belfast] intimated their intention to be present this afternoon. We wondered what they were coming for. And a new organisation called NICRA (London) has pronounced itself the official representatives of the Six County outfit here. Its leaders are Brendan McGill and McEllistrim. Charlie Cunningham says there is a split in Clann na hEireann and McEllistrim is now at this. A man called McDermott is also in it. We wondered why NICRA should set this up and whether the two women were coming to foist it on us. However, we worked out a rough plan.
I brought up the question of my name on the pamphlet. I said I did not wish them to take responsibility for a decision, since this was not Connolly Association business, but I would be glad of their advice. So Joe Deighan said publish and be damned. Sean Redmond was doubtful. John McCelland seemed to have no strong views. However, the general sense was to go ahead.
After lunch the meeting began. I got reports from everybody but had Barbara Haq and Melly with me on the platform. They and Sean Redmond spoke first. It became clear that there was as many conceptions of aims, tactics and policy as people present. I spoke to Edwina Stewart before it started.
“How many pickets are there?” she asked enthusiastically.
She then said a man called Sean Murray (Sean Redmond thinks it Sean McDermott) visited their meeting in Dungannon. He told them that a large number of people were not prepared to work with the Connolly Association and asked permission to start a branch of NICRA in London. This was coupled with promises of hundreds of pickets. He also appears to have said that the Connolly Association was cooperating. So the incredible lunatics (presumably prejudiced against the CA) made no enquiries, made no approach to those who had been doing the work for years, did not ask Fitt, or the CDU, or take any step. They took the unknown man who had never been on record doing a solitary thing, at his word. I did not tackle Edwina Stewart on all this, but I gently intimated that she had bought a pup.
This McDermott spoke. McEllistrim was there. McDermott said they were the one and only one hundred percent organisation “working under the instructions” of the NICRA – a bunch of school children! The Oxford man also wanted their instructions. The Birmingham people take theirs from Dungannon [ie. from Dr Conn and Patricia McCluskey of the Campaign for Social Justice there]. When I tried to sum-up Daly, a UIA man masquerading as CDU, spoke of the “Committee for Irish Unity and Civil Rights in Northern Ireland” set up (by the embassy) a few week’s ago at a conference attended by twenty-six organisation, but not the CA. I was inclined to adopt Joe O’Connor’s proposal for a coordinating council, providing it did no more than coordinate, but I rapidly concluded that the people there were uncoordinable and spent the evening puzzling over how to square the circle.
May 12 Monday: I spent most of the day preparing to move to 33 Argyle Square. We learned that Tony MacNally, the incredible conceited youngster, is to become National Organiser of the YCL. I expect much fuss and little achievement. Sean Redmond and I discussed the absurd position. Barbara Haq commented that many of those present on Sunday were only interested in getting on the bandwagon and bringing their own brands of small-minded opportunism revealed in everything they to. My mind was working on an idea of sending out a questionnaire. If there were no replies the CDU, MCF, and ourselves would draft proposals. If there were good replies we would hold private discussions and try to build a caucus. If there were only bad replies we would call a meeting after deciding on what we would break on.
May 13 Tuesday: Today I left 145 Gray’s Inn Road. As I was waiting for the removers I was talking with Atkinson. He did not admit to having heard of other complaints about the noise. But he told other things. When Charlie Cunningham and I first went up the stairs I had a rucksack. A young man in purple corduroy trousers and with fluttering hair passed us and Charlie Cunningham remarked that he looked curiously at the rucksack. I saw him again and concluded that he was a criminal type and probably thought we had been “on a job”. Atkinson told me that he is married, has a child, never works, is constantly getting subventions from the “social wefare” but spends £2 at a time in the betting shop. The life of these people consists of getting money from their betters and dealing with the hordes of official involved in handing it out. Gray’s Inn Road seemed to be the apotheosis of boredom, the microcosm of modern life.
Was the other going to be more civilized? The people on the ground floor are an Irishman and his south European wife. “They are very nice people here,”she told me. “Very quiet.” I said I liked quietness too!
May 14 Wednesday: Sean Redmond and I went to Barbara Haq and she agreed with our plan. Of course what is clear is that the petty-bourgeoisie, always plentiful in Irish circles in London, are moving in to make the “Civil Rights” issue their own. We decided we would make the “Bill of Rights” case. Miss Devlin is squatting with gypsies in Middesex now. It seems likely to me that NICRA will end as a fiasco. The Trafalgar Square rally they have planned for June 22 (selecting the date Clann na hEireann are at Bodenstown, and the date we usually have the Square) has got the Devlin woman, Hume and Cooper speaking. They are all left-wing opportunists. It will be a mad meeting. But after a time there may be no bandwagon to jump on. Eamon McCann says that in order to win the Protestants the Civil Rights movement must be “split horizontally”. He thinks if they kick out the middle-class Catholics they will win the working-class Protestants. So all that may be left are the three Labour movement organisations, Connolly Association, Campaign for Democracy in Ulster and Movement for Colonial Freedom. What is useful is that there is a certain measure of agreement.
I spoke at the branch. Joe Deighan said I did a wonderful job on Sunday. This was genuine praise and only shows he did not follow the issues at all. Because when pandemonium broke out between the contending factions, I only got the meeting to order by promising everybody what they wanted provided they handed everything over to the three sponsoring organisations! It was the best I could think of at the time! Certainly it was a fairly astute job. But scarcely a good one. We safeguarded our power to attempt a solution. We did not get one. There was a fair attendance at the meeting, Sean Redmond, Susan, Pat Hensey, Desmond Hensey, Charlie Cunningham, Des Logan, Peter Mulligan, Jim Kelly, Jane Tate and many new faces. I add that last night it was reasonably quiet.
May 15 Thursday (Liverpool): I left on the 12.50 in a sleeper for Liverpool. I wrote articles and letters. John McClelland is talking of returning to Belfast. Obviously I will have to take charge in the North myself as soon as I have the book finished. But I have so much other work waiting. I spoke to Brian Stowell, whom McClelland thinks will be the secretary, about a meeting in Douglas at the time of the TGWU conference. He sees difficulties, though he has got us accommodation. The conference begins on July 14th and the place will be full of Belfast Orangemen.
May 16 Friday: I was busy on the book for most of the day. The weather is cold and nothing is growing – not even the grass, which is no harm. But my plans to have coriander and fennel leaves for curries have not matured.
May 17 Saturday: I spent another day on the defence of the Four Courts. But Oh! The contradictory stories! People don’t seem to bother to check the simplest things.
May 18 Sunday: Another cold day, though not so wet. I drew up comparisons of accounts of the Civil War and made an index.
May 19 Monday: I spoke to Tony Coughlan on the phone, and Sean Redmond rang. He says Roy Johnston is in London and staying with him. Steps have been taken to get Trade Union representation onto NICRA, and this may possibly derive from my article that Idris Cox didn’t like. Sean Redmond says the pamphlet is going ahead. They have agreed to the “Bill of Rights” which was my little invention to solve the problem of a conflict between immediate and ultimate aims [The Bill of Rights was envisaged as a Westminster enactment that would introduce civil liberties and electoral reforms in Northern Ireland, while encouraging the Stormont Government and Parliament to develop closer relations with the Republic. It provided a middle way between leaving Stormont unreformed and abolishing it altogether and was envisaged as a counter to the call for the abolition of the Stormont Parliament and ”direct rule” from London. The call for direct rule was first made by the leftist People’s Democracy; it was taken up by the Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein following their formation in 1970, was widely supported in the Parliamentary Labour Party and was eventually implemented by Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath in 1972. A Bill of Rights that had been personally drafted by Desmond Greaves and published by HMSO was proposed as a Private Member’s Bill in the Houses of Commons and Lords on the same day, 12 May 1971, by Arthur Latham MP in the former House and by Lord Fenner Brockway in the latter; but it was rejected. In September 1971, as a result of the Connolly Association’s lobbying, the call for a Bill of Rights became the policy of the Trades Union Congress].
May 20 Tuesday (Salop): I decided to go to the cottage. I have to see about water. And just before I left I had a vision of wells built up where the piles of stones now are, and soil moved from the bogs to make a garden. Also the place must be polished and painted. And I can’t do much more on the Four Courts till I get to Dublin and the weather is a little warmer.
I omitted to note last night that J. Roose Williams rang up to thank me for sending condolences. He is still very upset and feels hurt at having had no message from Cardiff [ie. from the CP people there]. I am not surprised. These people live in a world of political activity which is not the same thing as the real world in which the activity is carried out. I remember being in Manchester when Palme Dutt’s wife died and I sent him a wire. Vic Eddisford was in the office. He was very dubious when I told him he should do the same. I imagined he put it on the agenda of the next meeting! Roose Williams is in the mood that so often occurs after a bereavement. He complains that Bert Pearce is setting up branches all over North Wales so as to combat nationalism. I ventured to doubt this. Perhaps it is the “senile depression” Angus MacPherson warned me would beset me at 55 years of age, but I discern much more loyalty to principle than discovery of policy. And the principle I see here is “get as many branches as possible.” Roose’s complaint is that their members are English people who like the Welsh scenery but have contempt for Welsh nationality, language and culture. That also may be true – is almost certainly true – but the damage was done when they got here. They might even be educated now if they do not devote too much time to educating the natives.
I cycled to Hooton, took the train to Salop, and then cycled in light rain to the cottage. The only matches I could find were damp but I got some from Mrs Corbett. There I heard the local news. Mr Pugh had complained to the agent that the stairs were rickety. Collins came to see him and when he asked him to repair them laughed at him. Pugh told him he would leave. “Any time you like, Mr Pugh, and without notice. I’ll let this to holiday-makers and somebody else will take the grazing.” So Pugh is looking for a house and may join his brother in the building trade. Thus the landlords depopulate the countryside. If these small people were owners it might be a little better, how much one hesitates to guess.
Corbett was in the British Army, a sergeant instructor. He told of being at Aden and in India, where he “caught cold” from the smell of eucalyptus trees in the Nilghiri Hills. I think he was in South Wales. He spoke of best coal at 2/- a hundredweight and of how every child had a cart on wheels and used to go to buy the coal for the family. A friendly old man had scales and a scoop and would tip in the hundredweight with a grand crash, all the children lining up with their carts and pretending to be a coal train. Mrs Corbett spoke of people walking from the bog to Snailbeach mines for 18/- a week. This must have been after the local mines closed. Snailbeach now is an array of bungalows in every degree of execrable taste.
May 21 Thursday: I went to Roundhill to see if I could find Joe Lewis. I found an old woman who lives next door. She used to live at Rock Cottage near where Phyllis’s friend Miss Massey had the cottage – and may still have it. That was when her children were small. Now she has a daughter in New Zealand and complains of being alone. She told me Lewis was away for the day.
So I went on down to Snailbeach and found Derek Rawson. To find his place you have to go through a farmyard. Then you find houses. I asked about him. “Oh – in one of those Council houses”, said a very English lady with deep scorn in her voice. I waited a few minutes till he returned from work in Minsterley creamery. Both he and his wife remembered Phyllis well. He says she never saw the west gable end which he renewed. He recalls that two letters came asking for his bill which was paid by return post. This must have been in the earlier part of Phyllis’s illness. He says she was thinking of erecting a glass conservatory in front of the door so that she could sit outside. I imagine it would be a large glass porch. One day he went up there and found her sitting on the grass at a small table having her tea. Speaking of the frequency and severity of snow he said that they had often walked over the tops of the hedges.
May 22 Thursday: Again I went to Roundhill. There I saw Mrs Lewis, the mother. She mentioned that the old woman next door was “mental” and only constant consumption of tablets kept her out of the asylum. The daughter in New Zealand had come home for nine months in the snow of 1963. She stayed three. All that one thought about was her money, for she had plenty. And her sister was well off too – mind – they’d skin a gnat for its eye. If they found a dead rabbit they’d skin it and take it to the market. I mentioned that I’d seen a small rabbit through the window sitting up nibbling grass. “There used to be thousands on that hill. Indeed they were our principal food.” I said I’d also seen a hare. “They replaced the rabbits after the myxomatosis,” but she thought the flesh tasted too strong. She is a relation to Mrs Corbett. Everybody is related to everybody else. I learned that this trenching machine was acquired for snow-cutting. Apparently Lewis gets several weeks of this work in any normal year.
Lewis himself came up in the evening. He would be in his late thirties. Very energetic. I would imagine able to make a penny quickly. He offered to cut a 120 yard trench in a day for about £11 – I think he charges me about twice what he charged Pugh. But that is countryman’s privilege. His brother works for the Water Board. He will willingly make the correction for a consideration. “He does an occasional “foreigner”, Mr Lewis explained. His explanation of the high charges of the Water Board was that there is never less than a lorry and three men for a whole day on any job. I have now to think of how to bring the water in without spoiling the cowslips and narcissus which Phyllis planted. I may move them when they die down.
May 23 Friday (Liverpool): I could see rain was coming. It was spitting at 2.45 when I left, intending to get some food stuffs and arrive in Salop in good time for the 6 o’clock train. But there was such a strong wind that i just missed the 4.10 and had to hang about Shrewsbury (local people call it “Shoosby”) till 6.05. It was raining heavily then so I came back to 124 Mount Road. There were letters from Nora Jeffrey about the pamphlet, and from Margaret Murray and John Warren about the possibility of a life of Sean Murray [a project Greaves considered undertaking fior a while, but then abandoned].
May 24 Saturday: I wrote asking Nora Jeffrey to send me my MS and I would look at it to see if I could alter it to suit her requirements. I don’t know what she wants.
May 25 Sunday: I was busy on the book all day. I had in mind going over to Belfast and Dublin, then decided to remain and try to get on with it.
May 26 Monday: Again all day on the book.
May 27 Tuesday: Another day the same – morning till late at night. I think I might finish the draft over the next weekend.
May 28 Wednesday: The MS came from Nora Jeffrey. She thinks the average English reader will never have heard of the Reformation. She had replaced “Republic of Ireland” with “Republic of Eire” (how these people are unconsciously imperialist!). So I rang her up and she said she had changed it back. Some of my points that were sharp she had converted into meaningless generalities. But she had left untouched the demand for a “Bill of Rights” changing the Constitution. So I restored what I could and sent it back.
In the evening I had a drink with John McClelland. He was a very worried man. He had a swelling around the breast and was sure it was cancer. The doctor had agreed to making an appointment for him at a hospital. I don’t blame him for being worried, but my feeling, and of course my hope, was that it was groundless. Perhaps a cyst – or even the result of some muscular strain. I told him not to worry – as it is little use doing so anyway. He told me that his namesake the Liverpool McClelland had been to the Painters’ Conference. There the good Belfast Trade Unionists had successfully resisted a resolution demanding civil rights in Northern Ireland, and the party member Gardiner had voted with them. I asked whether perhaps he was mandated, but John McClelland did not know.
May 29 Thursday: I went on with the book, and am entering the final stages. What a bloody job it is! I spoke to Sean Redmond on the phone. He told me that Lawless is in London and the Trotskies are holding huge indoor meetings addressed by Bernadette Devlin and himself. I don’t know what heady stuff he put out. Surely Mr Gardiner’s action will be no antidote to it. Apart from that the newly established NICRA is in dread of what she will say on their platform on 22 June!
May 30 Friday: I went on with the book. Sean Redmond rang in the morning and asked what I would advise in view of the fact that Austin Curry can’t speak for us on July 13. He wondered about Edwina Menzies [ie. Edwina Stewart of the NICRA; her maiden name was Menzies]. I advised Andy Barr. This should strengthen the trade union content. He remarked that Nora Jeffrey was periodically ringing him up about the pamphlet. “What surprises me,” he said “is that it takes four of them to produce a 3,000 word pamphlet. Jack Woddis has been at it and Idris has had a go at it!” I don’t know if he had me in mind as the fourth of “them”! But of course that is the way they do things. Everyone wants a finger in the pie. Nobody wants to be responsible for any mistakes. So everything is delayed and when it does come out it is dull.
May 31 Saturday: I was busy on the book from early morning to midnight, and have now finished the draft of chapter 19. Perhaps one, possibly two chapters more.
June 1 Sunday: I did not do much on the book today. Though not very warm it was the first day free of rain for a longish time. I did a little in the garden, and then a little of the last or penultimate chapter. Perhaps I will get it finished and then go to Ireland on Tuesday.
June 2 Monday: I spent another full day on the book and am beginning to see the end in sight.
June 3 Tuesday: Another day from early morning to midnight.
June 4 Wednesday: At last I reached December 8. This means that I can start the checking. So I took the evening boat for Belfast.
June 5 Thursday (Dublin): After a very calm pleasant crossing in which I saw the southern coast of the Isle of Man in daylight for the first time – apart of course from seeing at a great distance – I reached Belfast. I met Betty Sinclair in Royal Avenue and we spent all morning and all afternoon talking. It is hard to sort out the impressions. She says she was near a nervous breakdown. She feels naturally displeased with Moore and Barr who showed no interest in her work, and then listened to Mrs McGlade’s chatter passed through Cathal Goulding and Michael O’Riordan back to Belfast [Rebecca McGlade was a Republican nominee on the NICRA Executive, elected at the recent AGM]. She was supposed to have annoyed some of the Republicans. “You know how sharp Betty can be,” says Moore. She was also upset that Michael O’Riordan did not come to her first, and rightly so. She says she has kept a full diary of all the events of the past few months and it should be an interesting record [It was deposited years later in the CPI arcive in the Pearse Street Public Library, Dublin]. She criticises Hughie Moore and Stewart [ie. leading CPNI member Jimmy Stewart, Edwina Stewart’s busband]. They cut out of one of her articles a derogatory reference to Chinese policy because it might offend the young people who are pro-Chinese. They are boosting People’s Democracy in their paper because it has certain support – I imagine this is where Nora Jeffrey got it from and inserted it in my pamphlet. However, I left for Dublin and found Tony Coughlan at the station. We called up to Cathal’s [ie. Cathal MacLiam’s house at 24 Belgrave Road, Rathmines] and came to Dundrum.
June 6 Friday: I cycled into Cathal’s and then went into town. At the National Library I found MacLoughlin cataloguing the papers of the late Bill O’Brien. He showed me a “Proclamation” without date signed by William O’Brien, Cathal O’Shannon and Farren, and also Tom Johnson (spelled Johnston) declaring a Soviet Republic. I said it seemed like a caricature. He thought it was genuine. But I can think of no time when it could have happened.
Later I called back to 24 Belgrave Road. Helga told me that young Conor is developing all manner of unsuspected aptitudes. Egon is very bright but will not learn things because he is too grand to ask. Bebhinn is causing a little concern as she has developed a strong spirit of contrariety since she went to school. But these are tiny things.
I went up to Peadar O’Donnell and we had a talk. He sees eye to eye with us in everything, including the “People’s Democracy” humbug. Then at Cathal’s again later Micheal O Loingsigh appeared on the scene. How much I’ll get done is hard to say as the invitations are coming in already in this very sociable city. Peadar was arguing the point with Lilly [his wife], somewhat testily at times – Czechoslovakia. “If they pleaded military necessity!” he conceded to her, “with the Americans face up against them. But they maybe didn’t want to be saying that.” “Well,” says Lilly “I don’t agree with any country occuping another.” I think they have discussed this plenty. Peadar is as clear as ever but has lost energy.
June 7 Saturday: I got little done today. I was with Cathal. Then Kader invited us all for dinner. They were telling me about Justin Keating. The Labour attacked Fianna Fail over Haughey’s land transactions. “What about Justin Keating’s land transactions?” He bought a house and 35 acres of land for £2,000 some years ago and recently sold it for £80,000. I laughed a little. I remember his explaining to me that a man of his strong radical political opinions might easily find himself penniless – in spite of his wife’s vast fortune – and that 35 acres would be enough to live on if he was victimized! Kader thinks he has now made his pile and would like to be Taoiseach. He asked Kader to help him in his election campaign. He refused. He is “old-fashioned”, he said. He does not like apostates. Justin Keating retained nominal membership of the Irish Workers League for five years and all that time failed to pay a penny in subscriptions. His is a “success story” and he has pursued personal gain and social climbing with a single-minded pertinacity that deserved success. They think that Conor Cruise O’Brien is more genuine, has more brains too, but less cleverness. Also Kader Asmal gives David Thornley a better name. He is slowly learning. But Keating has learned the mealy-mouthed expressions which cover opportunism. Asked if he still supported the EEC he said, “we should keep our options open”. So sane, so sensible in general, but weakening the Labour Party on a fundamental immediate issue. Those present were apart from Kader and Louise Asmal, Cathal, Helga and Tony Coughlan.
I had been with Michael O’Riordan in the afternoon. He told me that Betty Sinclair had got drunk at a CPNI party and insulted the Republicans who blew in. “You never had any more politics than Lawless,” she told them. This led to a great furore in the CPNI. “It was very bad, and she should be punished,” said O’Riordan. I told him I thought it was time we all grew up. If she committed a wrong let her rectify and then all would be well. Seemingly the party dismissed her from the Executive, or suspended her, took off her all her official positions, and banned her from the pages of Unity [ie. the regular CPNI printed bulletin]. He disagreed with this. I told him she should have been invited to apologise herself to those she had affronted, and then the whole thing should have been forgotten about. And if for some reason she didn’t wish to apologise, then they should have accepted any alternative course for making things up that she might suggest. They make mountains out of mole-hills.
Noel Harris called in. He also had been with Betty Sinclair and thought the same. I told him about the Painters’ Union. He was shocked but not surprised. [ie. the Painters Union conference at which the CP member Gardiner had voted with the Belfast delegates against a civil rights resolution; see the entry for 28 May].
June 8 Sunday: I went into Rathmines and as Cathal wanted to go for a cycle ride we went out into the Dublin mountains, the weather being fine and dry. There were many motorists sitting sweltering in their cars wherever you could look over the hedge, hardly any walkers, or cyclists – just one I think, apart from odd youngsters on bicycles going round in circles at corners of cul-de-sacs. Later I went to see Maire Comerford and stayed till late. She is preparing an attack on the forty-six historians who have been commissioned to produce the brainwashers’ History of Ireland, including Desmond Williams, the drunkard who completely bowdlerized Sean Moylan’s speech in the Second Dail. She told me that Aileen McGrane has been enquiring into Charteris, a gentleman I view with great suspicion, and I hope we will have something interesting. It is clear that Griffith brought him into to balance Childers.
June 9 Monday: I went to the National Library and in the evening went to see Walter Carpenter. I thought I had met him before, but I had not. I asked did he ever live in Cabra. His brother did and I saw him around 1946. Apparently the brother, Frank, now lives in London and the son is active in Labour circles in England. I had a useful talk. He is very much a supporter of Labour, but is also strongly Republican and no enemy of the Communists. He told me Seamus McGowan was Protestant, something I think I heard but had forgotten. They were both thrown out of the Church Boys’ Brigade for refusing to sing “God Save the King”, but the drill they had learned in it was used in the Labour Scouts and Irish Citizen Army at Liberty Hall.
June 10 Tuesday: I was in the National Library for part of the day and later made another call to Walter Carpenter. The Wolfe Tone Society was meeting at Cathal’s. I did not stay.
June 11 Wednesday: A letter came from Sean Redmond. It contained the passage “The committee people of the ‘Campaign for Social Justice’ has one or two ‘International Socialists’ upon it. The committee wrote twice to Bernadette Devlin about the meeting and got no reply. One of the International Socialist characters then enquired and reported last Thursday (I was there) that she was planning some meetings but the conditions were: she would not in any case speak with the Campaign for Social Justice; she would not speak with any other MP, only “International Socialists” and “Irish militants”, and IS would be responsible for drafting all leaflets and advertising material.”
Another passage says: “I have not had much details of the rally of the London NICRA on June 22nd – except that Bernadette Devlin is reported to have said she will not speak unless Farrell is also invited [ie. Michael Farrell of the People’s Democracy, who was now also on the NICRA Executive]. And Gogarty [ie. Frank Gogarty, the NICRA chairman] is annoyed because Hume and Cooper have been invited. He claims that they are opposed to resuming the marches and want to keep the activity in Stormont.”
I went out cycling into the mountains with Cathal in the evening.
June 12 Thursday: Yesterday I omitted to say I was in the Library and also saw Ernie Nunan who gave me a somewhat different account from that of Carpenter, of whom however he spoke highly.
I went into town in the morning, the usual way, cycling to Cathal’s and leaving the machine there. Then I called on Tom O’Reilly and made an appointment to see him at night. The old woman with the harp was in Wicklow Street. Three Dublin girls, well-dressed in “mini-skirts” stood interfering with her, plucking the strings and giggling. They were about seventeen years old. When she remonstrated they started kicking at her handbag. I went over and stood near. Making some comment on my arrival they cleared off. I would have brought the Guards.
When I finally saw Tom O’Reilly I had many pieces of interesting information and it becomes very clear that Dorothy Macardle was quite wrong in her assessment of Lynch’s part.
June 13 Friday: the hot weather continues. I saw three important people today, Michael Walker, his cell-mate Ned Kelleher at Arbour Hill, and Leo Henderson. The last was by far the most impressive. He had been secretary to the Dáil Committee on Industrial Resources. For this reason he was asked to take charge of the resumed Belfast boycott. This Ferguson said was nothing to do with an attack on the North. Again Dorothy Macardle had it wrong. I saw from the paper that McEllistrim must have given in to Bernadette Devlin.
June 14 Saturday: I went into Cathal’s and indeed spent most of the day there. I saw Roy Johnston through the window and went in to see him. He was cutting down trees and pruning roses dressed in odd-blotched deep-dyed khaki shorts. But there was not the same aura of health. Appearances were deceptive. It was a very worried man, mainly I imagine on account of marital differences, that I saw. He spoke also of the “impossible position”. He was in disagreement with Cathal Goulding’s policy of burning down foreign landlords’ houses. I think he was not told about it – just what his relations are with the Republicans I did not ask. But he was going to a meeting at the United Irishman office. I am sure that the results of his activities have not been what he expected. He says that Sinn Fein will determine electoral policy at a convention in July and that three-fourths will want to enter the Dáil. What about the fourth. He says the entire leadership is for the change. Will Sinn Fein survive not offering candidates in this election? He thinks so. But then I doubt if he appreciates how the “socialist” work of Sinn Fein brings grist to the mill of the Labour Party. At Cathal’s later Vincent MacEoin [ie. the architect and Wolfe Tone Society member Uinseann MacEoin]came inveighing against the folly of the burnings. I told him it did not worry me in the sense that it made it more difficult for landlords to establish themselves, but of course it was scarcely a stroke against the main enemy.
June 15 Sunday: I cycled to Kingsbridge only to find the train to Tipperary left from Amiens Street on Sunday so I returned to Dundrum [where he was staying at Anthony Coughlan’s house] and later went to Cathal’s.
June 16 Monday: I cycled to Kingsbridge and caught the morning train to Limerick Junction, after which I went to Tipperary, Emly, Knocklong, Kilmallock and Charleville. There was scarcely a young person about, two lanky English cyclists in a species of gaudy knickerbocker excepted. I found it hard to reconstruct in my mind the picture of this area when it was highly populous and seething with revolt. There were a few memorials – one to Fenians, erected in 1968. A fine tumulus was untouched, which is good. A mile or two east of Emly was a cooperative creamery from which an old man emerged. Of course he was inquisitive. So was I. He gave a roguish smile when I mentioned the taking over of the creameries in 1922. Only those of Cleeves were taken. They would be the larger ones. Of modern things he expressed indignation at the boozing and hooliganism at the “Fleadh” at Thurles. Of the Emly Hotel which LS Gogan told me Mellows stopped at, it is now renamed the “Gold Thatch” and managed by Higgins’s nephew. I went there. It is merely a grocer’s shop and bar. But as the old man said, they hold “ballad sessions” there. The commercial rubbish penetrates everywhere.
I had lunch at an excellent hotel at Knocklong, frequented equally by priests and tradesmen. I then found Balgaden [near Kilmallock] where the great rural workers’ strike was. There is a church and one house, and fields, and fields. Finally I reached Charleville and was warmly welcomed by Ned Connolly. We spent some time talking about Nottingham and the olden days. Apparently his brother Tomasheen has not proved a success, though he is “as fat as a fool”. After occupying house owned by Ned (bought for him) in Bruree for a year and paying no rates or rent, he moved to the family house in Longford. He wife had a legacy – nothing large – but since then he has done no work but tours the neighbourhood on a motorcycle. But while he was here he found out a deal about the Soviet, visited some lake-dwellings and revealed himself an intelligent “savant-vivant” who did not overdo the work.
We decided to visit an address Roy Johnston had got me from Tom Gill, Dan Gleeson from Ballymackey, just north of Nenagh. We had some difficulty in finding the place, but finally did so. He was in the field but soon came in with a load of turf and timber. He would be in his seventies, a fine old character. He advised us to call at once to the second name on Tom Gill’s list, Thomas Malone. But when we got there it was just after midnight. So we decided to leave it until tomorrow. I stayed with Ned Connolly’s wife’s father.
June 17 Tuesday: We set out early and reached Nenagh before lunch. Mr and Mrs Malone, those referred to in Mellows’s list as a “fine family” of Tyrrellspass, were both teachers. Tomás has joined Clann na Phoblachta when it was founded. He thought Hartnett [Noel Hartnett, leading figure in Sean MacBride’s Clann na Poblachta party in the late 1940s and early 1950s, a party that many national teachers had joined following a strike by the national teaching force] had been deliberately planted in it for the purpose of wrecking it. But I remember the argument well – May Keating and Justin at loggerheads over the impossible behaviour of Dr Browne. They were very much taken up with the Fianna Fail split in Limerick, and spoke of the dissolution of the last traces of idealism in that party.
A lucky circumstance was that they directed us to a man called John Raleigh, whose name I had found in the O’Malley papers, but whom I had no way of tracing. Malone pronounced it “Rawley” and at first I did not know whom he referred to. We had lunch and the air was filled with reminiscence. Malone said that his father was born in London but returned to Ireland and married a teacher in Tyrrellspass. He spoke of the Connaught Rangers and they were very interested to know that I knew Daly’s sister. Apparently Daly went to school to Malone’s mother. I had the impression of a man of great force and intelligence, perhaps in the O’Malley style but without his complexities. He is over 70 but mentally as clear as a bell, and writes in the local paper.
We went back towards Limerick and called on Raleigh. Malone had telephoned him but had warned us, “He’ll ask you to stay the night. But you must refuse. It is too much for his wife, though of course he’s a millionaire”. “How?” “He’s just turned down an offer of £110,000 for some land, so he must be.” It was the same story as that of Justin Keating – agricultural land wanted for housing. We found him a much older man then Malone. He is blind, rather sentimental over De Valera, and we were sorry for him. He put me on the track of the Albert Hall meeting the Nunan sister spoke of. It seems to have been in 1921 when they were both in London. His contempt for the present leadership of Fianna Fail was unlimited. He spoke of Eamon Dore but said, “I don’t like him.” He was a carpenter by trade and offered his life-savings of £400 to help O’Malley bring in potassium chlorate from London. He had spent all day going the rounds of Limerick pharmacists and had amassed half a pound. He suggested to O’Malley the trip to London. His statement struck me as honest and reliable. So indeed did those of Malone, for in each case when I pointed out the discrepancies of date they explained them. And indeed he offered us accommodation for the night, plus whiskey and salmon, all of which apart from the whiskey we refused. He said that Frank Pakenham spent a while with him discussing his life of De Valera. But apart from that the last writer he spoke to was O’Malley. He urged me to write O’Malley’s story from his papers. “There is the makings of five books there,” he declared. He also mentioned how in the early days of the Military Bureau, those collecting the reports travelled on bicycles. The visit was well worthwhile. We then went in to Limerick city and called on some Trade Unionists. These indicated that the Tipperary Creamery fire was definitely not started by the Republicans but that we would never find out who was responsible. It was remarkable how short and business-like the Trade Unionists were in contrast to the reminiscent Republicans.
We left Castletroy and went to Galbally. After some difficulties we found Mrs Kiely where we were told she would be, in the Galtee Bar. She was one of the few in the town who remained Republican and she was delighted to see us. We took away a few bottles of stout and gave Ned Connolly an old bottle-opener – strangely enough he was short of one at home. She directed us to a Captain Sampson. But what a chase! We found his son’s wife, whom we knocked up. We went to Ballylanders twice, halfway into the Glen of Aherlow, up and down boreens, and finally found the house just after midnight. So once more we decided it was too late to call and we returned to Charleville. There May Connolly said to Eamonn [ie. Ned Connolly], “I suppose you’ll keep that bottle-opener like your mother’s spoon.” “I will,” said Ned.
Ned Connolly was telling me about Sinn Fein whose Comhairle Ceanntair, of which he is a member, is discussing Roy Johnston’s long document on revolution without the working class. Their whole conception is that of “taking over” the Labour Movement! No doubt it is with that in mind that Cathal Goulding and others consulted the CPNI on how to “work in the Trade Unions”. In these days where masses of people fear the irrevocability of communism, there are strange phenomena of attraction and recoil.
June 18 Wednesday: I had intended to return to Dublin, but Ned Connolly suggested we spend another day on the job. So we went back to Galbally and found Captain Sampson. Everybody we met knew of our touring the district last night, whom we had called on and all but everything of our business. We found him at home and had a useful talk.
It was election day, and we had to give some lifts. This delayed us a little. But we visited a man called Tobin from whose house there is a most magnificent view of the Galtee mountains from the west end. Then we went to Tipperary and found Doherty, a Trade Unionist who was in the Bruree Soviet and assured us that the burning of the creamery was the work of “labour extremists”. He spoke of the period from May to the end of July 1922 as the “time of the red flag”. Like all the Trade Unionists he was to the point. Then we went on to Kilross to see a farmer who in his young days had worked in the creamery, and then to Bruree.
Ned Connolly says that he called upon Coll who has the house De Valera was reared in. He told him he is persecuted by American tourists who take the place over with thousand pound cameras and flash lights when he wants his tea. We got back quite late and Ned Connolly told me he had forgotten to vote. I thought he had done so in the morning.
June 19 Thursday: I caught the only train to Dublin and went first to Cathal’s, then rang Roy Johnston. I went to Dundrum afterwards, and saw Kader who had a huge television set where he listened to the claptrap and heard the results as they came out. There was expectation that Cruise O’Brien, Thornley and probably Justin Keating would be returned.
June 20 Friday: A letter from Sean Redmond indicated that he had been invited to sit on the platform but not to speak, also to “meet the platform party” at the Irish Club. He said also that the NICRA had decided not to parade from Hyde Park, but the “People’s Democracy” Trotskies had decided to do so themselves. Sean said we should not participate in the walk, but he would sit on the platform. I have grave misgivings but I wrote approving of this, but warning him not to go on the platform if Hume and Cooper are not there, and if the CDU and others are not there, and to leave it if any foolish attacks are made.
I called at Cathal’s. His house is nearing completion, and finishing some plastering is the young fellow who distinguished himself by digging six feet of earth from in front of it in a day. He is on £10,000 bail from Mountjoy. Apparently £28,000 was lifted from Collinstown and most of it was found in a field buried six feet deep. He was arrested with others. The high bail indicates the possibility of a political case.
I was lucky at the Public Records office and found what I wanted within a few minutes. But I missed Roddy Connolly at the Independent in the afternoon, and now he is off to Oslo to report a bridge tournament.
June 21 Saturday: I did not do much during the day. But in the evening I went to see Mrs Brideen O’Hegarty, daughter of Seamus Malone, in the famous PS O’Hegarty house. She is of course steeped in the Irish history of the past fifty years. She would be the niece of the Thomás Malone we met in Nenagh and who (incidentally) told us that the guns Cathal Goulding had with him when he was arrested had belonged to Saor Ualadh and had been left with him before that organisation collapsed. She made it clear to me that I must go and see Dr O’Shea in Abergavenny. We had a long talk. Her sister Eileen was there and young O’Hegarty who knew Brian Farrington at Edinburgh, an intelligent young man with flowing hair not of the fashionable pattern but as it grew, and the over-flowing energy and confidence that is on the surface of youth. And there was a very pretty sister.
Apparently Mrs O’Hegarty continues the publishing firm of Sarseal and Dill. And it only occurred to me now that PS O’Hegarty used the name “Sarsfield” in all his Irish writings in Irish Freedom. According to Mrs O’Hegarty Mellows had wanted to marry her mother, and used to go to Killeeneen courting. Julia Morrissesy was only a lesser attraction, adopted on the rebound. For her mother married Seamas Malone that August and Mellows was very upset indeed.
Of course the election was discussed. Mrs O’Hegarty said she had approached De Valera on many occasions to help the language but he had always put her off. She regarded him as a half-hearted revolutionary. But what she was herself she revealed in a magnificent sentence which was delivered without the slightest trace of of irony. “I’m as revolutionary as anybody myself, but I’m a bit suspicious of change”. What an unconscious self-revelation of the class that lives in the palm-tree belt! [Greaves, who had a degree in botany, had made enquiries as to why so many cordyline trees existed in some of the more affluent Dublin suburbs, especially on the north side of the city, which he used to refer to thus; he found that they had been introduced by a nineteeth century nurseryman]. We spoke of Muriel [ie. Mrs Muriel MacSwiney], and I remarked that she had great regard for old P.S.[PS O’Hegarty, historian, publisher and former IRB member]. “That,” said Mrs O’Hegarty “is because this was the only house she was not excluded from when she broke with the church.” The young fellow drove me to Cathal’s in a huge car.
June 22 Sunday: I cycled into Cathal’s in the morning, and out again. Micheál O Loingsigh drove us to Bodenstown – that is, Tony Coughlan and myself and his three very pretty children [for the annual Republican commemoration there each June]. Everybody was there – Sean Nolan, Margaret Murray, Jim O’Regan, Jim Savage, Peter O’Connor, Packie Early, Jimmy and Edwina Stewart, some Birmingham Clann na hEireanns including Vincent MacNally, but none of the London crowd, Tony Meade, Cathal with the three children, Egon and Conor marching with the Fianna, quite a few of the IWP, who had been allocated a place but forgot their banner, and many whose names I have forgotten. Tom Gill made the “oration”. It was full of socialism, but nowhere did the workers emancipate themselves. This is the capitulation of Roy Johnston – socialism through the petite-bourgeoisie and of course it is not socialism at all.
We saw on the Sunday newspapers the absurdities of Bernadette Devlin and her cronies in London. The Irish Times seems to have turned against her. Apparently they are boosting Hume. It should not be long before we must openly come out against these people.
In the evening Cathal and Kader came up to Tony Coughlan’s and there was long discussion, the future of the Labour Party being very much to the fore, and the position of Justin Keating and others. I wrote Justin a brief congratulatory note. But of course little is to be expected of him. “If ever he becomes Minister of Justice” a Fianna Fail men told Kader, “you’ll be put out of the country.”
I was talking to Tom Redmond and Aine at Bodenstown, and I mentioned the abrogation by the Republicans, under Roy Johnston’s influence, of the principle that the emancipation of the working class is the task of the workers themselves, and Ned Connolly’s talk of their “take-overs”. He told me that he is in the Bray branch of the IWP and that Costello is busily engaged trying to persuade them to issue a declaration that they “stand for physical force”. To do so would be to make the leaders of the IRA their rulers [because the IRA leaders regarded themselves as “the Government virtually established” and so the sole source of legitimate authority in the country]. So do class principles hide themselves in technical principles. Other people I spoke to at Bodenstown included Derry Kelleher and Con Lehane.
[Subsequent Comment by Roy Johnston, signed and dated 10 January 2002, pasted into the original Journal with the permission of the editor and reproduced following this entry:
“CDG’s idea that somehow the vision which we projected excluded the working class is difficult to explain unless he was going on indications from the Republican political culture seen in practice, in which case he undoubtedly had a point. The ‘Commission Report’ embodied the vision, but the implementation of the vision would have had to pass through the filter of the republican political culture, which I had set out to change, but had grossly underestimated the size of the problem.”]
June 23 Monday: I went into the National Library and saw MacLoughlin, from whom I got Tom Johnson’s draft of the Democratic Programme of Dail Eireann. He said Joe Donnelly had not been in to see him for a fortnight, whereas before that he was persecuting him. Later I went to see Mrs Beaumont who turns out to be an old Cumann na mBan woman. Sean Beaumont was Gaelic secretary of the Irish Press years ago and was a great Communist. He knew Captain White, Ben Farrington, Frank Ryan, Sean Murray, RM Henry and that circle. She was National Secretary of Cumann na mBan for a year, around 1921. Like all the Cumann na mBan women she is an excellent person, a delight to talk with. She knew of the Connolly Association and approved of it.
When I got back to Dundrum Tony Coughlan and Cathal were there. Tony Coughlan had been with Con Lehane. “I can’t say much for professional reasons,” he told him, “but tell Desmond there’s good news for him. An American has died and left some money to the Irish Democrat.”
June 24 Tuesday (Liverpool): I took the day boat to Liverpool. When I arrived at 124 Mount Road, Charlie Cunningham telephoned to say that there had been an attempt to break into the flat at 33 Argyle Street, and that it was now impossible to open the door. I rather think I would like to see the back of London.
June 25 Wednesday (London): I took the morning train to London and found Sean Redmond in the office. Later Charlie Cunningham came and we forced our way into No.33. I bought a strong padlock which may have some use. But, as is typical of all modern manufactures, the screw was too short to go through the door. Everything is incompetent skimping.
June 26 Thursday: I worked on the paper all day. In the evening I went to South London. Pat Bond was there. That lefist Gallivan had protested at Tony Coughlan’s piece on De Gaulle as “obsequious” and the branch had passed a resolution. Sean Redmond instead of referring the matter to me had sent an apologetic letter saying he was so busy doing his general work that he could do nothing but accept Tony Coughlan’s stuff when it came late. This is of course absurd as he cut out two articles by myself, one of them a book review that would have fitted the space. Much to my annoyance they brought it up again tonight. Some said there were only three present when the resolution was passed. Others said, “It was passed nonetheless.” I had already sent their letter to the printer, and said so. But I told one whipper-snapper that if I had anticipated the furore tonight I would have hesitated to do so. “What democracy!” said he Apparently democracy is my exercising my personal editorial function in a matter controversial enough to be referred to a committee because something is pushed through a branch meeting when hardly anybody is there! I suspect this individual of Trotsky leanings. Throughout the evening he was totally reserved and was in no way of the gathering. Worse still, his brother-in-law who is Irish was in the chair. And Pat Bond, having taken up the idea of seeking articles of “women’s interest’” has chased after Carmel Campbell [fashion designer and daughter of Walter Dwyer of Swinford, Co.Mayo; see Vol.10] and elicited an unpublishable treatise on her crazy political economy, which would be bad enough on an economist’s page. I had to promise to assuage her anger by writing to her myself. “And,” says Pat, “she’s just had twins, and one them is likely to die”. This information was intended to make matters easier! Apparently she does not want to write on the thing that makes her interesting and would interest other women, namely her all-Irish fashions. I finished the paper.
June 27 Friday (Liverpool): I went into the office in the morning. Pat Bond rang up and told Sean Redmond he had twisted his neck at 6 am. and had gone to hospital where they had bound it up. I wonder if they treat it the right way. I would be half-inclined to consult an osteopath. I remember when Elsie O’Dowling’s finger was out of joint and the young man in the hospital fixed it to a splint. Leppie Kennell held his sides when he looked at it. There was just time to set it in a best position.
I left for Liverpool in the afternoon and met John McClelland. In a month he leaves for Belfast. He was talking about a shop but he did not get one. Now he will stay with his parents while he looks for a job. But as Joe Deighan remarked, a Protestant will always get one.
June 28 Saturday: I had to work on the garden in the day. Its condition is wild. But in the evening I went to the Philharmonic concert: some pleasant enough but not very profound Bax, the Mozart Eb. Major piano concerto very well played, and Brahms No.1 Symphony which took a long time to get used to after the all-absorbing Mozart.
June 29 Sunday: Again I worked in the garden and after hearing from John McClelland and checking from the paper the event in Strabane yesterday, I wrote the editorial and posted it directly. John tells me that Tony Coughlan cannot come to his meeting on July 13, so he is asking Cathal.
June 30 Monday: I was able to start on the book again, and decided to expand the last part of the last chapter and make a new chapter of it. So having “finished” I began again! From all accounts it would seem that the PD crowd are losing some of their support. Betty Sinclear always says that it is the silly McCluskeys who are to blame for pushing them forward. McCluskey gets money from America and instead of giving it to NICRA for which it is intended, diverts it to “People’s Democracy” on the grounds that “the young people are doing a marvellous job”. But I see now that McCann, Farrell and my bold Bernadette are making fresh leftist propositions.
July 1 Tuesday (Belfast): I finished the short extra chapter and as I could not get a berth on the uncomfortable Dublin car ferry, went on the comfortable Belfast one. I had in mind the possibility of seeing Mulvenna.
July 2 Wednesday (Dublin): It was drizzling when I reached Belfast. I rang Hughie Moore several times. But he does not spend too much time in the office. Betty Sinclair was, as I knew, at Bundoran at the Irish TUC. I went up the Falls Road to the only likely Mulvennas I could see in the telephone book. But it turned out to be a small engineering works whose proprietors were always getting letters for Jack Mulvenna. So as usually happens when I go to Belfast I said to myself, “Let’s get to hell out of this to Dublin”, and proceeded thither by the morning train. As you can get a night’s sleep on the Belfast service I was quite fresh and went up to Cathal’s where Tony Coughlan had left his key.
July 3 Thursday: In the afternoon I cycled out to Ballyfermot looking for the butcher who, according to Tom O’Reilly, took the ultimatium to the Four Courts in 1922. I found him at last. His name is Petit de Mange, and of all things his father, says Tom O’Reilly, was chef in the Gresham Hotel. He confirmed that he had taken the note from Ennis to the Four Courts. But it was clear that this must have happened comparatively early in the evening of June 27th 1922. I called into Tom O’Reilly. I told him about this. “Nonense!” he said “It was late at night. But when I called to his house in the evening he said, “He’s right. I’ve just been recalling the scene. It was broad daylight.” He ran me down to see a man who was in the engineers. He was mobilised at 11.30 pm. It is clear that Traynor must have started the mobilisation no later than 10.30 pm. I surmised there were two meetings, one at about 9 pm. and an ultimatum at 3.40.
July 4 Friday: When I got back there was one of those half-the-night Dublin parties – pleasant indeed if you are not short of time. The result was a late morning and little accomplished. I did however call on Mrs Andy MacDonnell. She was friendly but not informative. I was in the National Library also.
July 5 Saturday: I saw Cathal and Sean Nolan. Roy Johnston had been to the Barnes and McCormack meeting in O’Connell Street. He says it was a big gathering and showed that Ireland unfree will never be at peace. This is the way he talks now, but it is mental short-hand, not a felt emotion, or it is one he has no words of his own to express.
July 6 Sunday: I cycled to Kingsbridge, took the train to Ballybrophy, then cycled to Borris-in-Ossory to kill time and have lunch. I choose Borris rather than Rathdowney for lunch because it is on the main Limerick road and more likely to have a hotel open. I was right. I had a very good lunch with old-fashioned roast beef, locally killed, such as one would get in the olden days. Then I went back and called on Mrs Conor (Madge Clifford) at Rathdowney.
“We’re a wicked people and we don’t deserve our freedom,” she was soon saying. It was clear that her mood resembled that of the Malones, but “I’m sorry,” she said, “I’ve got very bitter”. Like the Malones she joined Clan na Poblachta. But she had little time for Sean MacBride, even though it was clear that her main hatred was for Fianna Fail. She said she could get little services done by the Free State crowd but never by Fianna Fail. She was most indignant at Mrs Tom Clarke’s having to live in Liverpool because her son could not get work in Ireland. It was interesting too that while I was there the phone rang. A women had a heart attack. As soon as Dr Conor came back he had to see her. “He has three dispensary districts to look after today,” she remarked. “They can’t get doctors. They won’t pay so they go abroad.” Later Conor himself came in for a moment. He was a bluff open genial character, perhaps of the type of Dr McCluskey or Leo O’Higgins. He had been at the meeting at Ballinasloe when Mellows was given the motor bicycle at the end of 1915. He was then a student, so he must be over seventy now. He is hale and hearty but his florid complexion indicated that he is no stranger to whatever has become the usual drink in Rathdowney since its own factory closed down [which used to distil whiskey].
When I rose to leave, wishing to catch the 6 pm. train at Ballybrophy, the whiskey was brought out. “This will make you go like the wind,” says Madge Clifford, who had by now mellowed completely, though she spoke contemptuously of the “half-breeds” (MacBride and De Valera), pointed to picture of Mellows, Brugha, Stack, McKelvey and Rory O’Connor saying “these are my men”, adding, “But but I don’t trust any man,” and added by way of explanation, “I’m the daughter of a Fenian.” I did my best to cycle like the wind. As I was on the bridge I saw the train down the tracks, and I rode triumphantly on to the platform just as it drew up.
I went to Cathal’s. As I left there for Dundrum Roy Johnston in his father’s car and his two companions arrived from Mullingar.
July 7 Monday: I had lunch with Roddy Connolly and went with him to the Library. We were able to sort out the origin of the Mellows programme. He told me that Mrs Tom Johnson was dead. I didn’t know. Apparently she insisted on going to Jim Larkin’s funeral and walked part of the way. The result was bronchitis from which she never recovered. Fred, who had been living with her, is now reunited with his wife. I was rather amused by comparing Madge Clifford’s and Roddy’s account of O’Connell Street “There was the poor waitress,” says she, “determined she was going to have James Connolly’s son with her in the Hammam Hotel. He must have spent the most uncomfortable hour of his life while she was persuading him.” I knew Roddy Connolly was in one of the older buildings and mentioned Findlater’s. “Yes,” he said, “I was in Findlater’s,” and added as a kind of afterthought, “fighting for them.” The generosity and type of stress he gave fighting did not give the impression that he fired many shots, even if they had the means to fire them. On the other hand it is a queer soldier who is afraid of his own shots, and no doubt these were accompanied by others! We also talked of the difference of those days. “There was absolutely no antagonism to Communism,” he emphasised. “We were just left-wing Republicans, Republicans with a social conscience.” And Madge Clifford yesterday, “Today it is all money, money, money. The people are changed. They have lost all their lovely pride.”
I brought Roddy Connolly back for some coffee. Finula wanted to know who he was and I told her. When I had seen him off little Conor asked me, “who was that man with the grey hair?” I said, “James Connolly’s son.” He had been told by Finula and thought she was teasing him. Egon however was out, and little Bebhinn more interested in chocolate. All the children came first in their school exams.
In the evening I was to see Tom O’Reilly who was to take me to Mooney, Traynor’s second-in-command, in Clontarf. I could not get an answer and came back into town somewhat displeased. However I rang Mooney from the GPO, crowding in a little kiosk where all my luggage tumbled on the floor. He seemed if anything pleased that Reilly was not coming and I took a taxi out there. He gave me such a clear account of Traynor’s end of it that there could be no doubt about the timing. He attributed the explosion to “some of the Free Staters messing about with those explosives”. I went back into town. After leaving the house I realised I had lost my reading glasses, presumably in the taxi coming out.
I asked the driver where I would recover them and he told me. He was a Newry man of the name of Michael Quinn. “What d’ye think of the election result?”
“Unexpected,” I said, giving no gambit.
“Well I’ll tell you, I don’t vote Fianna Fail. I vote Labour. But who would have thought Kyne and the likes of him would fall down. This little rat Norton is out of it, and a good thing. I wonder what Keating and Cruise O’Brien will be like. There aren’t any more James Connollys today.” We fell to talking about Connolly and I volunteered that I had written a book about him.
“It wouldn’t be this book, here?”
He put a book into my hand – and indeed it was the very thing, bound in a solid brown library cover as if it had passed through many hands.
July 8 Tuesday: I went into town bus instead of cycling to Cathal’s. Kader Asmal was at the shop. He had lent his car to his wife. He had been talking with Tony Coughlan about the People’s Democracy gang, and Tony had thought they would soon be finished. Kader was warning against complacency.
“They would put thing back twenty years,” said I.
“They could. I believe it. I’ve seen it happen in South Africa. I have seen it in England. They can disillusion a generation.” It occurred to me that a book should be written about it, as soon as a definite position is reached.
I met Tom McMahon, Rory O’Connor’s assistant, now a director of the ESB [Electricity Supply Board]and had lunch with him at the Shelbourne. He was slow to thaw and his memory was not good. Later he did, and I traced it to some remark I made comparing De Valera to De Gaulle among European statesmen. So he must be a strong Fianna Fail man. He certainly eats well and his house whither I had gone to trace him, is a palace to which a conservatory of Kew Gardens magnitude is attached.
“I’m not a democrat,” he said, “I was with George Gilmore and Peadar O’Donnell a few weeks ago. Gilmore was going to Florence on his motor bicycle. ‘You shouldn’t go there,’ I told him, ‘You know perfectly well the first thing you’d do is to knock down all that classical architecture to build houses for the poor.’ I look at it this way. All through history people have died in wars and famine – a terrible thing, but an inevitable thing. But those works of art have given joy to generations. Now, is that heresy?”
I got him on to Georgian Dublin. “A city can’t be a museum,” he said. I mentioned Fitzwilliam Square. “Well now the ESB has been criticised for that building in Fitzwilliam Street. But it will tone well with its surroundings”.
“In a few years’ time, you’ll see”.
As for Fitzwilliam Square he described the state of the property – one has visions of thousands of worms swarming up from the subsoil and elbowing their way through the brickwork as if it was straw. Which of course I told him was not what I had seen in the residential property there. So I asked him why Florence was to be a museum but Dublin was not. Apparently Florence is there to give joy to Dubliners, Dublin is there to make money for the same.
He animaverted to the subject of students. He had no doubt they had grievances. On the whole he was a thorough-going old conservative but free, of course, from the snobbery of the English Conservative. He remarked that the significant thing about his generation was the complete and total dedication of the young people to their cause.
I was at Cathal’s when the Wolfe Tone committee met. So I left for Tony Coughlan’s. Those present were Derry Kelleher, Tony Coughlan, Cathal, Vincent MacEoin and Micheál O Loingsigh. Oliver Snoddy also appeared and told me old Padhraig Fahy was asking for me. I had suggested to Cathal and Tony Coughlan that they might consider a conference on Irish history-writing in view of the Government plan for a new brainwashing history.
I met Sean Nolan on Nassau Street. He was going to look at an empty shop in Stephen’s Green or near it. Though he had a seven years’ lease the Corporation proposes to knock his premises down and he cannot get a penny in compensation for disturbance. The high-handidness of the bureaucracy, who are hand in glove with big business, has become almost incredible.
July 9 Wednesday: In the morning before I left, Tony Coughlan told me the Wolfe Tone Society has decided on a symposium on the writing of Irish history and that Snoddy was very enthusiastic over it. He is writing on the subject of the Volunteers of 1782. We got the impression, incidentally, that the PD crowd have suffered a set-back. They are to have a convention in Dungannon next Sunday. Jack Bennett launched a big attack on them in the Sunday Press, and not before time. I called at 24 Belgrave Road to give Egon and Finula a wee birthday present. They are turning out fine youngsters – eleven today! Then I bought some food at McGills [a delicatessen in Dublin’s Clarendon Street] and went to the ferry for the 11.45 boat to Liverpool.
July 10 Thursday (Liverpool): I spoke to Sean Redmond on the telephone in the morning. He says Bernadette Devlin is in London and it cannot be guaranteed that she will not remain over the weekend. I remarked that she will hardly miss the Dungannon affair unless she is going to take Jack Bennett’s advice and break with Farrell and McCann. He told me that Peter Mulligan and Pat O’Donohue were arrested for sticking bills on a shop. He was at Court this morning where they were fined £2 and bound over for a year in recognisances of £25.
Were they defended?” I asked
“No. They were obviously guilty. The owner of the shop offered to give evidence.”
“A pity just the same.”
“Not at all,” he exclaimed testily, ”It is just throwing another £10 away.”
He is very short-sighted. A good lawyer would avoid the binding-over and get welcome publicity. Also there is need constantly to spotlight the inadequacy of the law on billposting. But I didn’t argue. People with big heads must be left to find out. The milk was spilt anyway.
I rang John McClelland in the evening. He leaves for Belfast on the 31st. Brian Stowell is prepared to take over the branch. Tony Coughlan is coming to Liverpool on Sunday. Then Sean Redmond goes to 111 Meadow Grove [Coughlan’s house in Dundrum, Dublin] and Tony Coughlan comes to London the day after. That same day Eamon MacLaughlin and Barbara go to Roy’s, where some French friends are already installed. Mrs Phillips called to clean the house. She is off to Kilgarvan next week. But she will put in another day in the house. The weather forecast on the radio is good, but the sky looks ugly.
July 11 Friday: I finished the revision of the first two chapters today, so though I will not meet the July 31 date, it will not be far off.
July 12 Saturday (London): I went to London and arrived in the evening. Frank Small and Joe Deighan came into the office. I thought Frank Small looked reasonably well. Possibly Aine Redmond’s talk of tuberculosis was a scare. Anyway he is going to do his studying on a full-time basis, so that will make things easier.
July 13 Sunday: We has a Standing Committee in the morning, which went off agreeably enough. Joe Deighan is in a better mood, I don’t know why. But he was very angry that Desmond Hensey and Pat O’Donohue had sold literature at Hyde Park and not turned in the money. He wanted them threatened with expulsion. But I suggested writing to the branch and this was adopted. Michael Crowe was present. He brought some people from Sunderland.
The heat was intense. We had a very impressive march, but the crowd quickly thinned at the Square. There was a social in the evening.
July 14 (Liverpool): We get the impression that the Trotsky element are beginning to be seen through. While Bernadette Devlin is still the Joan-of-Arc among the backward elements, others are noting her gimmicks and stunts and realising that she is the first of a new breed of “pop-politicians”. She will write a book about herself, and tour America at a thousand dollars a night and somebody will write a “pop song” about her and she will insist on a financial interest in the record!
The general impression is that Andy Barr’s speech yesterday was a reversion to the old line of retreating before Orangeism.
I went to Liverpool on the midday train. John McClelland told me that Tony Coughlan was pleased with Sunday’s meeting at the Pier Head. I spoke also to Brian Stowell on the ’phone He will be secretary when John leaves (without job or business and a sheer speculation). He has just returned from Douglas where there seems a good chance of getting a resolution passed if what Cassidy says is true. The Standing Committee wanted me to go there tomorrow to see if I could advise them in any way, and Stowell thinks this is desirable. So I will go and hope the weather remains as hot and dry as it is today.
July 15 Tuesday (Douglas): I caught the 10.30 boat to the Isle of Man. The weather was very hot but moist and the island not visible until we were a few miles off. I looked in again at the Peveril where I stayed just after Phyllis died. The Italian waiter had gone and I had the impression that the food was not so good. But the staff and management were extremely obliging. Indeed that seems the feature of the Isle of Man, and all who visit it, mostly simple enough working class people from Liverpool and southwest Lancashire, and a sprinkling from Scotland, Belfast and a few from further afield. They were intent on enjoying themselves and Southern English snobbery is just absent. It does not exist.
It was not hard to find the “Villa Marina” where the TGWU conference was being held. I had some difficulty finding though Cassidy. The steward was unwilling to interrupt (as he put it) the proceedings to get him for me. After some discussion he asked whom I represented. As soon as I mentioned the Democrat he broke all his rules, went in and brought Cassidy out. He knew him all the time. Somebody told me his name was O’Reilly! But I think he was from the North of England.
Actually my work on the island was done in the first ten seconds after Cassidy and I sat down in a bar. “We had a meeting this morning,” he told me as we were settling for our drinks. “Malachy Gray is chairman of the Standing Orders Committee. I told him, ‘Now Malachy, you’re not going to double-cross me this time, or if you do you’ll be in for trouble.’ Anyway they offered to support a composite. Here it is.”
I read it through. “That’s all right,” I said.
He was very relieved. “I was wondering whether to ring Sean or you in London,” he said, “For I accepted it, but afterwards I wondered if I was doing the right thing. It’s far too mild. But as was pointed out to me, it breaks the ice, and if nothing is done by next conference we can put up something more vigorous.”
He had arranged for two Londoners to propose and second it. One is Nicholson, the other Harris – thus both have Scottish names, unless Harris is Welsh. I saw Malachy Gray for a few moments, and Andy Holmes who was anxious to know if I had seen Cassidy before or after the Standing Orders Committee had met him. I assured him it was afterwards. He was told the truth, but not because he was trustworthy himself or was entitled to it, or would have got it had things been otherwise. I also saw Sean Morrissey who swore that the CPNI had acted with the greatest wisdom in “disciplining” Betty Sinclair. Why, he said, hadn’t they had three discussions with her asking her to change her attitude at the NICRA meetings. And hadn’t she herself agreed to the whole thing. I told him they’d send people to Siberia if they had a Siberia to send them to. He didn’t like it. He is mild and conscientious and it was a pity to say anything to him. But he should be putting some spunk into the Catholic workers instead of glorying in his acceptance by the Protestants [Sean Morrissey was a leading trade unionist and CPNI member of Catholic background].
They got me a ticket to the Mayor’s reception. There was dance and cabaret, very much of the Thirties as at the Scottish TUC, but as was remarked, provided by people who knew whom they were entertaining. And it was not noisy. I saw Malachy again. “There you are now,” he said, “You’re surely satisfied now! And to think that’s just what we have been working towards for six years. And you attacked me four years ago.”
I told him we need not research into political records as nobody would know where it might end. “I’m surprised,” he said, with the air of one fishing for a compliment, “that you’d even be seen talking to a rightwinger like myself.”
“Ah, well,” said I, “I was prepared to talk to Gordon Walker and Gaitskell, so I should be prepared to talk with you.”
He didn’t know quite how to take it. Did it bring him up or take him down, or let him in or let him out!
July 16 Wednesday (Douglas/Liverpool): I could have caught the 9 am. boat but decided to see if I could meet anybody else. I went to the Conference Hall. Malachy Gray told me the resolution was coming up on Thursday. So having eaten very delicious but very thirst-provoking Manx kippers in the morning, I went for something to drink, only to find that the debate was over. However it was unanimous. “Are you satisfied?” Gray and Holmes crowded round afterwards. I pronounced myself satisfied. “And moroever,” says Holmes, “it is in accordance with NILP [Northern Ireland Labour Party] policy.” So it must be good! I wired Tony Coughlan and Sean Redmond the news to Dublin, and returned on the 4.30 pm. boat. A very pleasant sail.
July 17 Thursday: I was busy all day in the house, the garden and the revision of the book for the typist. I learned Tony Coughlan was in London [assisting in the Connolly Association office during his vacation] and Sean Redmond at 111 Meadow Grove.
July 18 Friday: Again most of the day on the book. I was visited by John McClelland in the morning. He leaves at the end of the month.
July 19 Saturday: Again a day revising the book. The early chapters seem to need some work on them.
July 20 Sunday: Again a day on the book. I learned from Tony Coughlan that Donald MacLean (I think that is the name) had telephoned from Glasgow saying the “International Socialists” had “taken over” the Glasgow NICRA and that they wanted a meeting to be held with myself in attendance. By all accounts the same Lawless crowd in London did not have so much success, as the NICRA forestalled them to the “Ulster Office”. The London NICRA is of course Sinn Fein. I am indignant when I think of the bunch in Belfast [ie. Edwina Stewart and othersv on the NICRA Executive]handing over to these people and allowing a branch to be established without orientation or control – to self-styled leaders whose main plank was that they were not the Connolly Association. I told Tony Coughlan I would be in London on Tuesday.
July 21 Monday: I got up at 6.30 am. and but for brief intervals was at it on the revision till 10.30 at night. I have about eight chapters done, and will take them for typing. But unfortunately Fiona cannot manage it [Mrs Fiona Connolly Edwards, one of James Connolly’s daughters, had typed the MS of Greaves’s biography of James Connolly in 1960]. I wonder who will be able to.
July 22 Tuesday (London): I went to London on the morning train and saw Tony Coughlan in the office. Charlie Cunningham had done great work in the flat, but it is still filthy. Who can have had it heaven knows. Tony Coughlan told me the latest news. Donald MacLean rang again and told then I would attend a meeting if they arranged it. He said he would let me know. I rang Maurice Cornforth [of his publisher Lawrence and Wishart] who said he thought he could get me a typist and later in the day Nan Green wrote to say she had been successful. I worked on the paper.
July 23 Wednesday: Again most of the day was spent on the paper. An interesting little incident occurred just before the branch meeting. A letter was passed through the door. It was written on dirty crumpled House of Commons notepaper and enclosed in a House of Commons envelope. It was full of Trotskyite sneers against the Connolly Association and was congratulating the London NICRA crowd on their successful “sit in” at the Ulster Office, as if that achieved anything. Now where could the notepaper have come from? Obviously only from Bernadette Devlin. So she is likely to run into more trouble if she is distributing this among her admirers.
Joe Deighan told me that for weeks past a section in the branch has been urging this “sit-in” and that Desmond Hensey is very wobbly. I noticed at the very start a remark he made, which had in the meantime gone out of my mind. When he started doing good work I forgot I had intended to remember it. Joe Deighan is complaining that Hensey and Pat O’Donohue sold books in the Park and failed to to pay in the money. Sean Redmond was to have written but did not do so. I am sure he is anxious not to be unpopular. The same also applies to Joe Deighan. But Dorothy is pressing hard on their heels! [ie. as “Irish Democrat” treasurer at the time].
July 24 Thursday (Liverpool): I took in seven chapters to Nan Green. Len Elliott was there. I don’t remember I ever met him before, though Alec Digges used always to be speaking of him. “Another of the veterans,” said Nan Green. Then looking at me she said, “But you haven’t a single grey hair!” I assured her I had some – but age takes its toll when you are pleased at such comparisons! I found I could do little in the office with Chris Sullivan there – he has lost his new job, and so I came back to Liverpool. Donald MacLean rang saying he had fixed Wednesday August 6th.
July 25 Friday: I finished the paper, or at any rate the greater part of it, and arranged to go to Ripley on Tuesday. A letter from Dorothy Greaves asked if she could come to stay a few days in August, as she has nobody left up here now.
July 26 Saturday: I started work on the revision of the next batch of chapters. I want to get them to the typist by the time she has the others done. Tony Coughlan told me that a character in South London has sent up a resolution attacking Brockway for not introducing his “Bill of Rights”. I asked him to find out the position. But I see the splitting busy on all sides.
July 27 Sunday: i was busy on the revision all day. I re-wrote quite a number of paragraphs.
July 28 Monday: I spent the whole day – the first wet day for weeks – on the revision. John McClelland telephoned saying that he is seeing Brian Stowell tomorrow night and that he would pick me up and take me out to McClelland’s house. John returns to Belfast on Thursday. I wrote to Dorothy Greaves, to Cathal, Ned Connolly and Sean Redmond.
July 29 Tuesday: I spent all day on the revision. In the evening Brian Stowell arrived and we went to John McClelland’s, where Brian took over the Liverpool branch. I told them to arrange to get the Huyton petitions to the Labour Party conference.
July 30 Wednesday: I spent another day on the revision. A note came from Maurice Cornforth to the effect that the typist could not do the book. I wrote to Margot Parrish but I doubt if she will do it, since she is up to her neck in work for Biafra. I was by no means pleased at this development after all the rushing and hurry.
July 31 Thursday: Tony Coughlan rang to say that he is going to speak at Murlough [at the annual Roger Casement memorial meeting at Murlough, Co Antrim, organised by a local committee there]and will come through Liverpool on Saturday. He has arranged a poster parade and a march over the weekend. Today John McClelland’s furniture was collected and he left for Belfast in the evening.
August 1 Friday: In view of the Glasgow meeting next week I rang Charlie Byrne, and learned that both he and Maggie Byrne have been ill for several months. It seems she has had a return of the goitre. But they are better.
August 2 Saturday: In the afternoon Tony Coughlan called. I was wondering if there would be ructions at Murlough, but he thought not. He left in the evening.
August 3 Sunday: I spent the whole day working on the book. There are two chapters I decided to re-write.
August 4 Monday: I went on with the re-writing of the two chapters I had decided to give in a more ordered form than I now consider necessary.
August 5 Tuesday: MacLean telephoned and said the Glasgow meeting was cancelled, so I telephoned Charlie Byrne and said I was not coming. For the rest it was the book.
August 6 Wednesday: I was on the phone to Sean Redmond who is back. He says eveything was left by Tony Coughlan in good order.
August 7 Thursday: Another day spent on the book. I have one of the chapters re-written and may finish next week.
August 8 Friday: Another day on the book from early morning to late at night.
August 9 Saturday: Another day on the book. I had half hoped to go to the cottage, but there is too much to do.
August 10 Sunday: Another day spent on the book from morning to night. I’m beginning to be a little tired.
August 11 Monday: Another day on the book, 7 am. to 11 pm., and the two chapters re-written. I am now revising the later ones.
August 12 Tuesday: I spent the day on revision. Then in the evening I attended the meeting of the Liverpool branch with Barney Morgan, Brian Stowell and others. They are a much reduced group without John McClelland. I hope they can hold together. However, the meeting was useful.
August 13 Wednesday (London): I took the midday train to London. Sean Redmond was out. Only in the late afternoon did I learn that the meeting which I had come to address had been cancelled. This was Joe Deighan’s fault. He had “told” Sean Redmond to let me know. But Sean was at the picket outside the Ulster Office and had not much time. I took in a few more chapters to Maurice Cornforth and he told me how Stephen McGonagle [leading ITGWU trade unionist in Northern Ireland] was going to do a symposium on Civil Rights, but alas got no cooperation from anybody but Hughie Moore!
In the evening I went down to the picket. Desmond Hensey was there and dropped hints that there was going to be some “event”. There were four NICRA boys inside holding a “sit in”. The Lawless mob were there. I think Sean Redmond was slightly nettled – but not too bad considering his self-esteem – when we feared he had allowed too much control to pass to Brendan McGill. Anyway he reasserted himself and we prevented an absurd proposal to allow “every organisation” to speak from the steps. We then learned that Lawless was going to stage a riot and racked our brains on how to get them to a safe place. In the end they agreed to march to Shaftesbury Avenue. But not before Lawless had tried to rush the door, and indeed got a dozen more inside. I left with Gerry Curran and caught the night train back to Liverpool.
[Editorial Note: These were the days of the 1969 “Battle of the Bogside” in Derry, several days of violence between the local people and the RUC following the annual Apprentice Boys’ parade in that city. They were followed by loyalist attacks on Catholic areas off the Falls Road in Belfast, during which some 400 houses of Catholics were burned down. This in turn led to the British Government bringing in the British army to take over policing duties from the RUC. The events in London referred to in the Journal were reactions to these developments.]
August 14 Thursday (Liverpool): I spent a day revising, and found the last chapters, like the first, required not much revision.
August 15 Friday: I spent a good part of the day on the book. Sean Redmond rang to remind me of the EC meeting on Sunday.
August 16 Saturday: I spent most of the day on the book and finally finished the revision. I spoke to Jack Bennett on the phone. I asked what was it that was happening in Belfast. He expressed the view that the IRA was operating in such a way as to bring about a breakdown of ‘law and order” so that British troops would be brought in. “Why?” I asked. He said exactly what Cathal Goulding said –“to prove that the place was under British control.” “And what then?” “Oh. They haven’t thought of that.” “Will they then shoot the British troops?” “Oh. They’d not be mad enough.” “But you don’t mean to say that they’ve risked rousing this sectarian frenzy?” This irritated him a little. “Well – I suppose they have. But anyway it will break the deadlock.” I do not know whether there is anything in his theory, but I was so annoyed at this fatuous talk of accepting anything to “break the deadlock” by a man who won’t break his after-dinner nap, that I swore I wouldn’t go and see him when I was next in Belfast.
As for the troops, I was speaking to Sean Redmond. They have sent in about 600-1000. I made a rapid calculation and told him I thought they would need 6000 – but many more if Jack Bennett is right. It is hard to distinguish defence and offence. But all the evidence is that it is Paisley who makes the breakdown of order. Even if others avail of it. I went to London.
August 17 Sunday (London): The Executive opened a little late. Charlie Cunningham was there, Robbie Rossiter, Pat Bond, Sean Redmond, Joe Deighan, Gerry Curran, Jim Kelly and one or two young men including the young South London lad Gallivan. I learned that Desmond Hensey and Eddie MacManus with one other had gone to Ireland to help to defend the Bogside. Sean Redmond was telephoned by Brendan McGill, who seems to make himself the unofficial arbiter of these things. My guess is that McGill persuaded them to go and they were afraid to see Sean Redmond themselves and asked McGill to telephone. Then there was issued some general appeal to all Irishmen in Britain to go home.
All this had gone to Gallivan’s head. He was quite sure that a general uprising was imminent. It all reminded me of Sid French and Charlie Brown who came to see me in Wimbledon the day before war broke out and refused to discuss a planned YCL class. They were bubbling with impatience. “We’re going to get out on the streets!” What had the boys gone back for, I asked Gallivan. “What on earth do you think? What in God’s name would they go back for?” “Well, I’m only asking, and you have answered.” And there it was, a wild torrent of militancy. But the boy that was with him changed his mind.
We decided to turn our Hyde Park meeting into a demonstration. Sean Redmond rang the police. They were short of men. ”If they don’t demonstrate with us they’ll demonstrate anyway,” said Sean. So they gave in. Then Cathal [ie. Cathal MacLiam] appeared on his way back from Germany and agreed to speak. At the Park there was a gigantic crowd, and such attention as was never known before. I counted 960 on our march.
But the rat Callaghan led a breakaway. The NICRA (ie.McGill) asked if they could take a collection at our meeting. One of them, MacDermott, told me they were giving up political activity and concentrating on collecting money for relief. I said we would take a collection and split it. As we halted at Downing Street Callaghan came up, and tried to charge Downing Street. The police overpowered them, but a part of our procession stopped to watch. However we collected £106. Then Callaghan’s crowd appeared and held a rival meeting, after which a tatterdemalion crowd with red banners arrived – I presume Lawless, though somebody said Lawless was with Callaghan.
We went to the King’s Head afterwards and I learned Gallivan had been at the Ulster Office and was kicked in the testicles by a horse. There were ructions and arrests, but they seemed to be English people to some extent. I wondered if Gallivan would be so keen on fighting now.
August 18 Monday: I went into the office at 7 am. to get a little work done before the stream of telephone messages and callers started. The news continued to be grave. In the evening I had a phone call from Jack Bennett urging me to come over at once. He was obviously seriously moved by developments and seems to be still thinking in terms of some offensive action by the IRA. Tony Coughlan sent a batch of photographs, but apart from an article by Asmal, no copy. I was not pleased. I had intended to go to Belfast tonight. Now having to do the paper at the last minute, all my plans are upset. However they were upset a second time when news came that John Gollan had called a tripartite meeting of the Northern Ireland party, the Workers Party and ourselves at King Street tomorrow morning. So I had to stay anyway. Throughout the day there was uncertainty over whether this meeting was going to take place, as Michael O’Riordan could not be found. In the end he agreed to come.
August 19 Tuesday: Once again I went into the office early. Then Sean Redmond and I went to King Street. The others were not there. But then Michael O’Riordan came. While I was in Jack Woddis’s office John Gollan and Betty Reid came in, then Nora Jeffrey. Gollan was all for drafting a tripartite statement. George Matthews wanted it in time for the Morning Star first edition. But Chichester-Clarke [Northern Ireland Premier] was not arriving till 5 pm. Betty Reid was for “issue it first.”
“Not a bit of it,” says Gollan slightly didactically. ”We can’t make our political decisons dependent on the convenience of the press.”
Betty Reid became highly formal, though as friendly as ever. “Comrade, you do not have to tell me that. I understand the policy comes first, but you also have to take account of the facts of life.” I was amused at how she was a match for him. Nora Jeffrey on the other hand seemed fussy. I think Betty Reid has considerable powers of intellect, which Nora lacks.
Soon the Belfasts came and were sent up to the Political Committee room. Then Gollan remembered that it was being redecorated and we went into the hall. The tables were joined in the awkwardest possible shape, again showing the precedence of politics, and Gollan, George Matthews and Woddis sat so to speak cross-bench, and at right angles Hughie Moore and Jimmy Stewart sat on one side, and Sean Redmond, Michael O’Riordan and myself on the other; or it was roughly like this. I knew it was hard to get out when Hughie Moore broke his pencil and I had to go into the General Office to get it sharpened for him.
Gollan opened by displaying a teleprinter text of a Russian statement on the Irihs question. He said it was erroneous and should be replied to. He thought a tripartite statement would be useful, but he did not want to press for this if it would cause any embarrassment.
I was a little alarmed. Was the motive solidarity with the Irish or correcting the Russians? However my fears were speedily put at rest. Gollan opened with a serious and understanding statement which showed he is a man of considerable imagination. Naturally the Russian document was discussed.
Michael O’Riordan wanted time to read it. “That’s all right,” he declared, “It’s only the language it’s written in.”
“Is it all right?” asked Hughie Moore. “That wouldn’t do any good in Northern Ireland.”
“What about the statement that the workers are united?” asked Gollan.
“Well of course they’re supporting Lynch at the UNO,” [ie. Irish Taoiseach Jack Lynch at the United Nations Organisation meeting in New York] said O’Riordan.
“Listen,” says Moore, “You’re not going to get the reopening of relations between your country and the Soviet Union at the expense of ours.”
This brought loud protests from Sean Redmond and Michael O’Riordan, “It’s your country too!”
All this was good-natured and half-hectoring, but Gollan managed to convey the impression that Russian diplomacy was not above an occasional prevarication, which was not entirely a baseless assertion.
I remember the 24th April 1947. The Russians had opposed “Eire’s” entry into the UNO on the grounds that they “helped the Nazis.” The real reason was that it was an extra British vote. Jimmy Shields was always a great literal follower of the Russians. R.Palme Dutt said nothing. But Gollan said “Pooh! I don’t think we should take any notice of that.” So here it was again, but in reverse!
It was agreed that if the three parties thought alike a statement should be issued. Gollan mentioned the idea of conveying our views to the Russians privately, but it was not taken up.
The first report was from Hughie Moore, supplemented by Jimmy Stewart. It was quite clear that Moore could not envisage any position in Northern Ireland but Unionism. Michael O’Riordan said they supported Lynch and there was debate over whether we should follow the demand for UNO troops. Gollan did not like this. It was suggested that reform should not wait on UNO. Then the question of the border arose. Hughie Moore didn’t want anything said about it. Gollan was very good on it, and made no bones about British party policy being to withdraw from Ireland altogether. It was agreed to raise it as a permissive question. There was little difficulty about the Bill of Rights, though Moore still hesitated about Westminster action. Gollan explained it to him. “We’re in it,” he said, “our troops are there, and we must state the policy they should be supporting, or demand they should be withdrawn.”
Finally he got Hughie Moore to understand that legislation under Section 6 of the Government of Ireland Act did not amount to abolishing Stormont. I think Moore is not a very deep or clear thinker. Both Moore and O’Riordan deplored the IRA statement [This was a statement on behalf of the Cathal Goulding-led lRA to the effect that IRA units were ready in the North to take action in defence of Catholic areas]. I asked was it Roy’s. ”We went through it very carefully for internal evidence,” said O’Riordan, “but we think it is Goulding himself.”
So finally the lines were agreed and I was asked to prepare a draft. I said I would have lunch first, and they said they would do the same. I was starving, having been in the office since before 8 am., and not having had breakfast, as it is my habit to have an early lunch. I had lunch with Gollan while Sean Redmond and the others went for a drink. Gollan showed that he fully understood the broader implications of the Irish crisis and that it could wreck the Labour Party as it wrecked the Liberals. He expressed a high opinion of Sean Redmond. “That’s a very good lad,” he remarked when Sean came to us for a moment with a message from the others. He had gone to Cardiff with him a few weeks ago. I concurred. I did not consider it helpful to remark that i could suggest improvements! I then went to 283 Grays Inn Road [ie. the Connolly Association office] to draft the statement and brought it back to the second meeting at 4 pm. I met R.Palme Dutt. “Amazing how history comes full circle,” he remarked.
There was no real difficulty. There were a few drafting amendments. But the others simply sat and waited while Jack Woddis and I hammered out the result in his office. We got hold of Minnie Bowles and she started typing a stencil. Then down came Nora Jeffrey and her secretary, whose name I forget, like pigeons flapping after a gunshot. “Make sure she puts the date in. Did you agree on an embargo time?” – and away they went to tell Minnie what to do. As Sean Redmond and I often said, it’s great to have a big staff. We just have to get on with it and can’t afford the luxury of supervision. Gollan would not have any formal signing. “We’ve agreed,” he said, “That’s good enough.” In the discussion I found the didacticism reappearing from time to time. He is obviously an imaginative man who has constantly to be explaining to duller minds. He is also, I think, simple enough to be tired of the pompous formalities which state power has introduced into socialist relationships. I get the impression that the Czechoslovak policy was the result of not a few little irritations that had grown up over the years.
Then we all went for a drink. I had a quiet chat with Michael O’Riordan. He told me that the Northern party was paralysed by the turn of events. When by the week-end they had put out no statement, he and Sean Nolan went specially to Belfast. There they had quite a tussle, but finally persuaded them to issue a statement that was not too bad. Sean Redmond and I went off in taxis to deliver the tripartite statement to the press, radio and television. He went home, but I returned to the Round House. We all discussed Andy Barr. He was pleased that his speech was reproduced verbatim in the Democrat and commented that the leader was friendly. But there was not much enthusiasm for his line.
August 20 Wednesday (Liverpool): I omitted to note the events of Monday evening. Bobby Heatley was supposed to have gone to the Irish Committee of the MCF, but Sean Redmond was ringing him all day and could not get hold of him. Then Sean said he “might” go, but apparently decided not to. I was afraid that there might be some “back to Westminster” nonsense, so I rang the MCF at about 8 pm. Barbara Haq said neither Sean Redmond nor Bobby Heatley were there, and that it was not an Irish Committee at all but an Executive. I told her to ring me if nobody came out and I would come up. At about 8.30 pm. Billy Strachan came down with a car to take me there. Stan Newens was in the chair, and for a time seemed to be presenting simultaneously the thesis that Westminster should “take over” and should “use influence with Stormont” to have democratic rights introduced. Billy Strachan declared as a barrister that “the British Parliament can turn a man into a woman without so much as lifting a scalpel.” Jack Woddis was there and was useful. We got out a statement. It is very good that my idea of the “Bill of Rights”, which must have been formulated in June or even May 1968, is now widely accepted. But there is still some talk that Stormont should be “persuaded” and in the event of its not being so, Westminster should “do something” unspecified.
Well now, on Wednesday I worked on the paper. It was clear by midday that nothing would be done when people were coming in and out. I drafted a statement to be put out by the Connolly Association. Sean Redmond duplicated it. Then he went to the Civil Liberties where I understood Micheál O Loingsigh, Peadar O’Donnell and Noel Harris were meeting the officials. Smythe was away. When he came back he said the discussion was useful. It was Con Lehane who was there instead of Noel Harris. Peadar O’Donnell sent me his regards. I then left for Liverpool on the evening train, after taking Cornforth the rest of the manuscript.
August 21 Thursday: I was able to get in quite an amount on the paper. Gerry Curran rang asking me to speak in Ealing tomorrow week, and Egelnick (whom I recruited into the party in Golders Green 25 years ago) asked me to do one in London. A third was requested for Birmingham. I consented to all three and then set off for Belfast on the Ulster Prince.
I had never travelled on this before, and did not know the crew. However, I selected a good place in the restaurant and hoped the steward would be amenable to the blandishment of the threepenny bit. He turned out to be a young man of about 20, who had sailed four times around the world but did not like the sea. His ambition was to be a waiter in a West End club. He told me that while the number of travellers had decreased, the number of journalists has risen to compensate for the loss of holiday makers. “You want to be very careful in Belfast just now,” he said. He added, “Paisley was sitting at that table last week. He’s a big ignorant loud-mouthed customer. You could hear him all over the saloon. There was a Harley Street psychiatrist sitting next to him. He got fed up with him. He said, ‘Mr Paisley, if you were my patient you’d make my fortune for me. ‘How’s that?’ says Paisley. ‘Well you’d be in need of the most expensive treatment for the rest of your life.’
August 22 Friday (Belfast/Dublin): I got off the boat early and went for a walk in the city. There was little unusual except for the absence of policemen and the shortage of newspaper sellers. I had lost Jimmy Stewart’s phone number. So I rang Blease to ask for Barr’s. His wife told me he had gone to the office before 8.30 am. So I had to ring Jack Bennett. It was his free day, but he agreed to come into town. I think he had his bellyful of “breaking the deadlock” and “stirring things up”. He was very friendly and very helpful. So it shows you shouldn’t write people off. We took a taxi up to Barr’s after I had tried unsuccessfully to book a berth to return to Liverpool tonight. I decided to go via Dublin and see Cathal on the way. I told Jack Bennett how Tony Coughlan had let me down this month, and his journalistic feelings were suitably outraged. In the post office where I collected £20 I had sent ahead, he pointed out to me Sayers, the former editor of the Telegraph,who, he said, was one of the few people who could be shot without his feeling the slightest pity, a big bumptious nincompoop who thought he directed the policy of the Government from the desk where he wrote his leaders.
We found Andy Barr. He was quite shaken. He is an extremely pleasant person and was pleased when I told him we intended to pursue the encouragement of reconciliation between the two religions. He said that perhaps he had gone too far in trying to keep open relations of cooperation with Protestants. The trouble now was that men he had known all his life would no longer talk politics with him. The events of the past few weeks had converted the moderates into bigots. He was certainly far less sure of himself. I found the reason out later in the day.
As Gerry Fitt lives just across the road we rang him and he invited us to come in half an hour. During this time we had a drink. Outside Fitt’s house was a huge military crane. The occupant of the cab looked at us queerly. The soldiers were passing in tenders and looking completely bewildered. Fitt came to the door, full of bounce and vigour. His windows were boarded up, but merely as a precaution.
“They’re fucked!” he explained. “They are! They’re fucked!”. He explained how he had been up and down his constituency “like the hammers of hell”. He described vividly the desperation in the Falls Road when the pogrom began, the demand for arms. He rang Callaghan and was instantly answered by his secretary. Finally he got the man himself, and soon afterwards the troops came in. Presumably Callaghan consulted Wilson. After that he spoke to Callaghan several times. He solemnly promised to disarm the B-men [ie. the B-Special Constabulary, an overwhelmingly Protestant force] and assured Fitt that the reason he was not doing it at one blow was that the arms would then mysteriously disappear. I think they may do so anyway. But both he and Jack Bennett thought only Paisley realised that Callaghan had meant business.
“D’you remember how we worked all this out travelling in the car between Liverpool and Manchester?” asked Fitt. I told him I remembered the occasion well. He was quite convinced that what had happened was a direct result of the plan. “Not many politicians have had my experience,” he said with enthusiasm, “to get what he wanted in the course of one Parliament”. He was on top of the world. “What we want now,” he said, “is for the B-men or Paisleyites to fire on the British troops. But it’ll have to be absolutely clear that the Paisleyites start and nobody else. Between you and me that’s being fixed up now.” We asked no questions.
Then he turned to Jack Bennett “D’you know you’re being blackguarded all over the town. They’re saying you joined the Northern Ireland Labour Party.”
“Well,” said Jack, “I wonder why they say that. Now let me see”. His voice was even more baritone than usual. “I did join the Northern Ireland Labour Club”. “Oh, a club!” says Fitt, “That’s different. So you’re not a member of the NILP at all.”
“Well now,” replies Jack, “I wonder am I. I certainly didn’t pay them any money.”
That, incidentally, I am quite sure.
“Well you’d better make it clear. It’s being used against you. Everyone is saying Claud Gordon has joined the NILP” [Bennett wrote an influential political column in the Northern edition of the Republic’s “Sunday Press” in the years leading up to then under the pseudonym “Claud Gordon”, which were two of his christian names. His main job was on the “Belfast Telegraph”].
We asked Fitt to phone a taxi. The Daily Mail from Glasgow was being kept waiting on the line while we had our talk. Now he answered them, and Mrs Fitt brought in tea and biscuits – as proletarian as ever. When he came back he said, “I’ll phone my own man. D’you know, you’d have to be very careful what taxi you’d take in this city. I know it sounds cloak and dagger. But if you got on the wrong one you mightn’t get on another”.
The taxi came. We went to the Belfast boat to collect my rucksack. The windows of pubs and houses were all boarded over. Then we went to Divis Street flats and I saw the piles of stones, bottles for petrol bombs, and a huge drum of petrol half full. I saw the trace of the bullets that went right through Mrs Quinn’s flat, and was within an inch of where Jack Bennett’s wife would have been sleeping but for a sheer accident. Then we walked down to the Continental Hotel where Andy Barr had arranged for Jimmy Stewart to meet me at noon.
With Jimmy Stewart I went up the Falls Road, barricade after barricade at the ends of the streets. We went to Turf Lodge, called on Sean Morrissey who was at work and were taken round by young Michael who has, I am glad to say, not been Anglicised by his stay at Oxford. I think he was disillusioned by those highly “international” philistines who want an Irishman to become English as a sign of his emancipation. He took me to the refugee centre where we talked with Joe Campbell. Then we inspected the barricades and the ditch dug to keep out police and military. News had been published, I am convinced inaccurately, that military were cooperating with B-men in raiding isolated farms in Co. Derry. So the sentries were adding the words “troops” to their “keep out” notices. Michael thought that experienced troops could easily take the estate. The B-men had tried to infiltrate over the edge of the mountains, but had been driven back. The sentries were wearing the Connolly badge I designed, Pat Bond had manufactured and Malachy McKenna distributed all over Belfast.
We then went down to the Falls Road where Jimmy Stewart dropped me. He had a party meeting at Albert Bridge Road. We had not seen a policeman all day and he assured me there was no crime. But there were policemen over the bridge, and crime too. A brick had been put through the office window and they did not risk holding meetings there after dark. I went through several barricades to find Willie Joe McCorry who was listening to Belfast Free Radio on his transistor. He was a friend of a friend of Joe Deighan’s and asked after him. He knew immediately who I was, and took me round streets and streets of destruction.
It was gradually borne in on me that this was no spontaneous pogrom but a highly organised and well-prepared attempt to drive the Catholics out of the city and set up a Paisleyite dictatorship to forestall the introduction of democratic rights. It seems that there are 75,000 people behind the barricades. There are tricolours at nearly every street corner. There are stocks of empty bottles usable as petrol bombs, and an occasionally large empty drum. The Falls is far more impressive than Turf Lodge, as young Michael Morrissey, who appeared with some YCL papers, remarked. It was indeed one of the most interesting and remarkable scenes I have ever witnessed. We walked to the corner of a road where soldiers stood guard behind barbed wire. There was an argument in progress. An old man claimed to have recognised the man who burned his house and asked a soldier to arrest him. The soldier refused, saying he had no authority. There was much discussion, growing increasingly heated. Finally the soldiers inserted magazines in their rifles, with a little strut and stance. There was much adverse comment at this. But I think nothing came of it. I had hoped to see Betty Sinclair but had now to make haste for the train.
I had had nothing to eat all day but had a good meal on the train and after a short sleep got out at Amiens Street. I walked up O’Connell Street. There I saw a platform and a banner which said “Solidarity with the North” or some such words. The next moment I saw Cathal and Tony Coughlan, Roy Johnston, Derry Kelleher, John de Courcy Ireland, Micheál O Loingsigh, Con Lehane, Sean Edwards, Micheal O’Riordan and his wife, Noel Harris, indeed everybody. I saw Tony Coughlan. I told him I was not pleased that he had let me down. Then he asked am I staying with him, and I said No, with Cathal. This was not because I was annoyed with him but because I must catch the 7.45 boat. He went off abruptly, I thought in a huff, but the others said he had a meeting at the United Irishman. I listened to the meeting. The temperature was very low compared with that of the one last week. One or two Connolly Association members were there, young boys whose names I did not know.
Afterwards Noel Harris told me he was very worried about Tony Coughlan’s politics. He seems to be following the pattern of Roy Johnston. The reason he let me down was that he was asked to get out a special edition of the United Irishman. I have seen it and it has some nonsence in it. Noel Harris had been to Michael O’Riordan about him. O’Riordan agreed. “Tony thinks he’s following Desmond, but he’s not.”
We had a drink, that is Noel Harris, his wife [Mrs Rhona Harris], Con Lehane, Sean Edwards and his wife, Cathal and myself. Then Noel Harris left us home. Soon afterwards Roy Johnston came in, and I expostulated over Tony Coughlan’s decision, pointing that his letter came on the deadline day, and thus I was immobilized for a week very near. It would be elementary to telephone or wire the moment he knew there would be difficulties. Roy mumbled something about “perhaps he thought the situation was so urgent . . . .” and I pointed out that good generalship does not consist of leaving part of the front open without giving notice to those who can fill it. “You laid it on with a trowel,” said Cathal afterwards, very amused at Roy’s discomfiture.
He told me that Tony Coughlan had drawn up a document for the Wolfe Tone Society which they had had to throw out. Now exactly the same thing had happened in Belfast. Andy Barr drew up a document for Sunday’s meeting which they had to reject. Jimmy Stewart told him this. Andy Barr practically blames “the loss of Unity” (the paper) for the ructions. Cathal told me also that Roy’s marriage is all but broken. He has his mistress, she her man. A few week’s ago he knocked her down the stairs. To his great humiliation the children immediately set about him and he had to defend himself. Next morning he apologised, but Mairin told him to go to hell. They will separate. He proposes to leave her in the house above, but to evict his tenants from the basement and to live there himself and hold Sinn Fein meetings there. So there is a process of multiple degeneration all stemming from the false political move.
[Subsequent note by Roy Johnston, dated 10 January 2002, inserted in the original Journal with the permission of the editor:
“CDG then goes on to record Cathal’s version of the state of my marriage to Mairin, which was then somewhat acute, but what he recorded was Mairin’s version via Helga, which was subject to considerable embroidery. CDG’s knowledge of relationships between the sexes was limited and rarely insightful. Indeed, from here on it is evident that CDG’s assessment of the present writer’s character and situation is increasingly biased by embroidered and sensationalised hearsay via the feminine grapevine, in a marital breakdown situation. He never thought to check out my side of the story, or to explore the hypothesis that there might be rational explanations behind apparently odd behaviour.”]
Helga and the children are still in Germany. Helga’s mother will be eighty-six in a few weeks. Helga will remain for the birthday, and it will quite probably be the last time she will see her. She was in bed when Helga arrived but rallied when her daughter arrived.
August 23 Saturday (Liverpool): I left at about 7 am. and caught the 7.45 boat to Liverpool. It was rough and many people were sick, and the Liverpool-Dublin crossing had been worse. However we were not more than a half-hour late and I was at 124 Mount Road by about 4.30. I continued with the paper. I had telephoned Nora Jeffrey urging her to hold relief collections at CP meetings [ie. for relief in the Catholic areas of Belfast following the population explulsions and burnings]. I was glad to learn that this proposal was to be implemented.
August 24 Sunday: I had finished the paper but only just, when Dorothy Greaves arrived. I had lunch ready, and afterwards she told me the news. The main thing is that Harley Greaves has gone bankrupt. He only seems to have the vaguest notions of business. He is never in the shop, neglects his accounts and was proposing to attend his examination unrepresented and blame his accountant! She told me more of the story that Phyllis had sketched out. Apparently Elsie Greaves who went to Tranmere High School, where “ladies” were trained, quite early fell among a cocktail set and became highly addicted to the bottle. It was she who put Harley on the same path, so that he failed his examinations, was got in hand by Mary Greaves, but as soon as he escaped from her went from bad to worse. For many years Harry Greaves did his accounts for him. And the fallacy was that Harry was out every night earning extra money and gave the children no supervision.
August 25 Monday: I did a little more on the paper, replacing the editorial with a new one based on my trip to Belfast. Sean Redmond rang to say that Clann na hEireann invited the Connolly Association to take part in a parade. When they did so they made a unilateral appeal for members for Clann na hEireann.
August 26 Tuesday: I went to Ripley. The paper did not run smoothly but I finished it. Then I returned to Liverpool and attended the CA meeting. Edwin Brooks was there [Labour MP for Bebington, Wirral]. He had obviously made a study of the Irish question recently. He had telephoned Fitt for advice during the ructions. As a result of what Gerry Fitt said he had gone with two other MPs who happened to be in London on a delegation to Callaghan insisting that the B-men should be disarmed. Callaghan assured him that they would be.
But he noticed that there was no press publicity. Can there have been a D-notice? [ie. A Government order forbidding press coverage of an issue on security grounds]. He thought not. But at Labour headquarters he was advised not to press the matter. There were three possibilities, he was told. “First,” said his interlocutor, “Harold may sell out…” he did not wait for the rest. I thought him somewhat anti-Catholic, not exactly chauvinist, but showing an odd chauvinistic feather. He was all for a United Ireland, but like Mosley he linked Irish unity with European unity. So like Heffer he is an EEC man.
When the meeting was over Brian Stowell drove him and me back in his car. Brooks lives in Waterpark Road, Prenton. He told me he had met me before, but that obviously I did not recognise him. This was, he said, in 1947 when I addressed the students at Cambridge. He was then chairman of the Socialist Society. But I didn’t remember doing this. So perhaps it was somewhere else. Brian Stowell told me he is somewhat disillusioned with Wilson, as he had hoped to become a Junior Minister and he didn’t. He thinks Labour has not a chance next time. But he thought possibly the Six County thing might help Labour if the Tories plunged into the defence of Stormont. And apparently there is a great dispute in Birkenhead because the Education Committee will not give Catholic children places at Protestant secondary schools!
Now, while eating my supper did I not crack my dentures on a lamb cutlet bone.
August 27 Wednesday: Brooks must have had a tip-off. Today Enoch Powell made proposals for turning Irishmen from the Republic into aliens. Of course this is merely a red-herring to divert attention from Stormont. Dorothy Greaves went out in her car and on the advise of Jean Hack, found a “dental mechanic” who undertook to mend the afflicted denture. She collected it again in the evening, so all was well.
I think the real reason for her decision to come here, as well as Harley Greaves’s opposition to it, was the desire to talk to somebody about his antics. But by all accounts he is talking a great deal of nonsense, for example of letting the shop to Booth’s Chemists at a good rent, and “going on the road”. “Selling medicines?” I asked. ”Of course not, going on the bum.” “Go away with you. He’d never do that. It’s just talk.” “Don’t be so sure.” The whole story unfolded. Elsie Greaves acquired a taste for drink and high life at Tranmere High School. She led Harley Greaves into the same way. He would return home at 5.30. Harry Greaves would get up at 6 am. and see a light. “Is Harley studying?” Dorothy would say, “Yes!” Harry Greaves was working at evening classes in order to pay for the education the two did not avail themselves of. Then came the motorcycle accident which shattered his elbow, and soon afterwards he was packed off to Mary Greaves’s. She controlled him sufficiently to get him through his examinations, but only just. Soon he was as bad as ever. He married this empty-headed shop girl and since she could not boil an egg he lived out of tins for 30 years. He is out at Freemasons’ gatherings all the time, neglects his business and though popular is something of a local joke.
As for Elsie Greaves I received an impression of the house which is not favourable. Dorothy reminded me that Phyllis did not take to the husband. He is a stodgy religious Scot, a former policeman and RAF man, whose entertainment in the evening is singing hymns! And around the house are always those Elsie is cultivating in hopes that they will leave her money. Meanwhile her complexion grows yellower and Dorothy wonders who will leave whom what. Dorothy’s second husband, Brookes, is a retired insurance agent from Nottingham, a quiet intelligent man by all appearance, a hater of motorcars, outspoken if not particularly progressive in politics, a freemason, but no admirer of Harley. Elsie Greaves has joined a Cornish antiquarian society, and Dorothy with the scepticism of age thinks that it is the two-legged antiquarians she is interested in – away from the hymn-singing.
August 28 Thursday (London): We rose at 5.30 am. and Dorothy drove me to the cottage, taking a mirror which I could have got there no other way. I was pleased to see the lettuces and curly kale I had planted there far sturdier than those grown on the exhausted soil at home. Dorothy by the way says that 124 Mount Road is built on a filled-in marl-pit. We went on to Worcester where I took the train to London and she went to her relations near Ombersley. It is interesting to recall that the first time I ever went on a cycling holiday, in August 1929, it was she who found the Cheltenham restaurant where I used to stay. It was not there now. And indeed the city has been destroyed by the vandals of “progress”. There is nothing attractive about the place any more.
I arrived at Paddington mid-afternoon and called into the office. Sean Redmond was there. Then I went to the Conway Hall to address the meeting that was called. The other speaker was Jack Henry[building workers’ trade union leader] and Les Burt [CPGB activist] was in the chair. Max Egelnick (Joe O’Connor says he reminds him of a young IRA officer, all bluster for his “orders” and with no long view or imagination) was also there, and Kay Beauchamp. Joe Deighan and Dorothy, Pat Hensey, Elsie O’Dowell, Michael Brennan, were among our people there. Some were surprised that Sean Redmond had prevented the news of it spreading in the CA, out of fear of contamination possibly, or for some personal reason. The Trotiskies were there in force. They included a loud-mouthed left opportunist, Davoren, who seems to be an “ewiger student” [eternal student] at Des Logan’s college. Frank Small replied to some of their more childish mouthings. He has a very good head, a scarcity these days. O’Leary, who was thrown out of the CA with Andy O’Neill who is in with Tony Maguire in the “Exiles Association” Davoren’s “International Socialists” have taken over, called for “green power”, whatever that may be. I gave them all a piece of my mind. Young Andy Barr who was there came very near giving one of them a poke in the puss. They were isolated and we recorded a victory.
August 29 Friday: I was in the office a good part of the day. In the afternoon young Andy Barr called in to get material for Challenge [The YCL paper]. Sean Redmond told him he could do no better than to follow an article he had written himself, which incidentally was quite good, but Barr wanted a “youth slant”.
In the evening I went to another CP meeting in Ealing. Gerry Curran, Toni Curran and Pat Hensey were among those present. The District Secretary had been Eglenick and had heard of the schemozzle last night. There was no nonsense tonight at all. I was telling Gerry Curran about it in the pub afterwards, and how young Andy Barr met them in the “Enterprise” afterwards and was growing more and more annoyed as they continued their nonsense.
“I don’t know what you fellows want socialism for,” says Barr “You’d be far better off under capitalism”
“How’s that?” asked Davoren.
“Well,” he replied “When we get socialism we’ll shoot you bastards.”
For the moment fists were put up, but nothing happened.
Gerry Curran and Toni were very much, excessively I think, against Sean Redmond. Gerry says he is frozen out of the Central London Branch and not invited to speak at meetings. He also says that Sean is running a “pin-pricking” campaign against myself, dropping little hints and sly remarks, on what basis I did not ask. I pointed out to Gerry that within his limitations he is working very well indeed, and we had to take into account the problems and frustrations of the job.
August 30 Saturday: I went into the office. Sean Redmond was at Coventry speaking at a meeting of the Social Justice people in the Precinct. I felt unusually tired today, possibly from the effect of the long day on Thursday and the two meetings on consecutive nights. It became clear later that I had moreover caught a cold.
Among those who came in at midday were Pat Hensey, Jim Kelly and Bridget Sutton, the Derry woman who is getting out the South London circular while Pat Bond boats on the Shannon. She was telling me about an African who came in to her.
“You Irish,” he said, “You bad people. You cause trouble.You shoot.”
“Well,” says Bridget, “At least we don’t put them in the pot afterwards.”
Everybody in the office collapsed laughing. And were all trying to get work done.
In the evening Frank Small arrived and told me how Bobby Heatley had spoken to 35 people at the branch meeting and not even mentioned the “Bill of Rights”. Bobby is talking about returning to Belfast, but I wonder if he will do much. He mostly likes holding discussions with important people. Joe Deighan appeared to go selling with Jane Tate. He is now frightened at the demand for speeches at Communist meetings.
“We’re getting too identified with it,” he declared. “I never thought it would go so far.”
But what can he do? Tell them they shouldn’t be the only political party to break with the imperial tradition? The weakness is, of course, that they have not been following the Irish question and apart from those who have been in the Connolly Association, nobody is equipped to deal with it. All this is typical of Deighan, influenced by the last man he talks to – he had a bad sale last night.
August 31 Sunday (Liverpool): I went into the office in the morning and sent off some letters. Then I took the train to Birmingham and found Frank Wallace, who has replaced Dunne as City Secretary [ie. of the CPGB]. I met him years ago when in a filthy cold Winter weekend I stayed at his house in Shotts – as a result of some study by Bob McIlhone that there were great potentialities in the coalfield. At the least he has an Irish background and is interested.
Soon we were joined by Pat Powell, old Joe MacNally and Bill Goulding. It is quite clear that MacNally is the nicker in the woodpile. He is an old intriguer and yet an insufficient one. He will accept no discipline and is interested only in what brings him personal admiration. As Frank Wallace said to me afterwards, Bill Goulding is lazy but otherwise sound. Pat Powell is excellent, but a little afraid of getting too much on his plate.
I learned the old fox had a design on Manchester and a dozen of them went up there last week. I told them to keep their hands off Liverpool. I don’t know if he will. Nevertheless there was a useful exchange and I resolved to think about the problem further. There is no Connolly Association, no Democrats are sold. The MacNally family are knee deep in the “Social Justice” movement [ie. linked to the Campaign for Social Justice of Dr Conn and Mrs Patricia McCluskey in Dungannon], but Bill Goulding and Pat Powell are in it as well. It would not surprise me a bit if old MacNally was anxious to lay his hands on some of the funds that are being collected – or shall we say have his expenses paid out of them. Twelve of his committee went to Manchester last week. This is the penalty we pay for Tom Redmond’s incompetence.
The meeting was fairly well attended. I saw old Falconer – looking very pale and old. Crump was there – he had the secret of eternal youth. He never alters a lot. And Johnny Griffin with his wife – not too pleased to see me and doubtless afraid of further involvement, which of course I would not contemplate asking for.
Frank Wallace, Bill Goulding and others were on about Jones. Apparently he joined the CA, then left and gave all the names to the IRA. Then he left the IRA and joined the CP. Then he left that and joined the International Socialists who tried to take over the Social Justice organisation. The committee of that has just thrown him out. I met the secretary, O’Halloran, who seems better than some. Bill Goulding thinks there would be the basis for a Connolly Association if there were somebody to lead it. I was certainly impressed with the necessity of reconstituting my own contacts and being so longer dependent on Sean Redmond for estimations.
I caught the 10.20 to Crew and arrived at Lime Street after midnight. It was hard to get a taxi but finally I succeeded. I was working out tactics. The bright idea that occurred to me was to break my journey at Birmingham when I go from Liverpool to London and vice versa, and constitute myself the political supervisor of the Birmingham people. By constantly examining the position, making suggestions and awaiting opportunities I can bring them the right way now there is something to bring.
[END OF VOLUME 20] (c. 67,000 words)
DESMOND GREAVES JOURNAL, VOLUME 20, INDEX
1 July 1968 – 31 August 1969
Greaves, C. Desmond
– Aesthetics and cultural matters: 11.10, 6.28
– Assessments of others: 7.6, 8.9, 8.29, 9.15, 9.26, 11.12, 1.1,
– Britain, public attitudes and assessment of trends in: 7.1, 7.4, 9.15, 11.20
– Civil Rights Campaign on Northern Ireland: 7.1, 8.28, 9.5, 10.18, 10.20, 12.4,
1.2, 2.26, 3.8, 4.27, 4.29, 5.8-9, 5.11, 5.14, 5.19, 5.28
– European supranational integration/the EEC: 6.7, 8.26
– Family relations: 10.21, 10.23, 12.26, 8.24, 8.27
– Holidays/cycle tours: 7.20, 5.3, 5.20
– Ireland, public attitudes and assessment of trendas in: 7.7, 7.12
– Mellows research: 7.9, 6.9, 6.12-13,6.16-18, 6.21, 6.23, 6.30, 7.3
– National Question: 8.6, 8.9, 8.24, 1.1, 5.20
– Self-assessments: 8.9, 11.25, 1.25, 3.4, 5.8, 8.19-20
Organisation Names Index
Campaign for Democracy in Ulster (CDU): 3.12, 4.20
Campaign for Social Justice (Dungannon): 3.9, 6.11, 6.30, 8.30
Clann na hEireann: 10.20, 11.17, 3.13, 3.18, 3.23, 3.29, 4.6, 5.7-8, 5.11, 8.25
Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB):7.14, 8.21, 8.29, 9.1, 9.20,11.12,12.9-10,1.6,
1.10, 4.25, 5.11-12, 5.30, 8.18-19
Communist Party of Northern Ireland: 7.9, 7.28, 10.19, 3.19, 5.9, 6.17, 8.18
Connolly Association / Irish Democrat: 7.15, 7.22, 8.21-22, 8.28, 9.1, 9.6, 9.20, 10.18,
10.20, 11.1, 11.4, 11.9,11.23-24,12.4, 1.1-2, 1.14,1.26, 2.26, 3.3, 3.23, 4.3,
4.20, 4.23, 4.29, 5.11, 5.14, 5.19, 7.15, 8.17, 8.19-20
Irish Workers Party (formerly Irish Workers League): 9.11,12.14-15, 2.27, 8.18
Labour Party (British): 7.1, 7.26, 9.24
Labour Party (Irish): 6.19, 6.22
Movement for Colonial Freedom (MCF): 8.28, 10.16, 10.20-21,1.16, 8.20
Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA): 10.19, 2.26-27, 3.1, 3.8-9, 3.15,
3.19-20, 3.23-24, 4.27, 5.8-9, 5.11, 5.14, 5.19, 5.29, 7.15, 7.20, 8.13, 8.17
People’s Democracy: 2.2, 2.26, 3.2, 3.6, 3.9, 3.15, 3.23, 4.3, 4.6-7, 4.20, 6.5, 6.30,
Scottish National Party: 8.6-7
Sinn Fein/IRA: 7.6, 9.5, 10.19, 12.16, 12.19, 2.13, 2.27, 3.1-2, 3.4, 3.8, 5.8-9, 6.14,
6.17, 6.22, 8.18
Trotskyite and far-left organisations: 7.14, 9.10, 10.10, 1.14-15, 3.2, 3.6, 4.3, 6.11,
United Irish Association: 10.20, 3.12, 3.23, 5.8, 5.11
Wolfe Tone Society: 7.6, 12.16, 3.3, 7.8, 8.22
Personal Names Index
Asmal, Kader: 12.15-16, 3.1, 6.7, 6.22, 7.8
Barr, Andy: 10.19, 11.24, 3.1, 5.30, 8.22
Behan, Brian: 5.5
Bennett, Jack: 8.16, 8.18, 8.22
Bing, Geoffrey: 4.23
Brooks, Edwin MP: 8.26
Byrne, Paddy Cllr.: 10.20, 4.3
Campbell, Carmel: 6.26
Carpenter, Walter: 6.9
Callaghan James MP: 8.22, 8.26
Clarke, Joe: 7.6
Comerford, Maire: 7.11, 3.4, 6.8
Connolly-Edwards, Fiona: 2.13, 7.21
Connolly, Ned: 6.16-18
Connolly, Roddy: 7.7
Cooley, Mike: 7.9
Cooper, Ivan: 10.9, 2.26, 4.27
Costello, Seamus: 6.22
Coughlan, Anthony (Tony): 7.5-7, 7.15, 7.22, 8.20, 10.9, 10.12, 2.27, 3.6-7, 3.19, 6.5,
6.22-23, 6.26, 7.8-10, 7.14, 7.17, 7.31, 8.6, 8.18, 8.22
Cox, Idris: 2.22, 5.9
Crowe, Michael: 7.13, 7.16-17
Cunningham, Charlie: 9.15
Curran, Gerard (Gerry): 8.21, 8.28
Curran, Antoinette (Toni): 2.28
Dalton, Liam: 10.19, 1.15
Deighan, Dorothy: 7.2, 7.23
Deighan, Joseph: 7.2, 1.26, 5.14, 8.30
Devlin, Bernadette (McAliskey): 3.2, 3.23, 4.3, 4.18, 4.20, 4.23-24, 4.27,
4.29, 5.5, 5.14, 5.29, 6.10-11, 6.22, 6.30, 7.14, 7.23
Devine, Pat: 8.20, 11.22, 2.22
Donnelly, Charlie: 3.4, 3.9
Donnelly, Joseph: 3.4
Dutt, R. Palme: 11.12, 1.1, 1.10, 1.14, 2.22, 5.9, 5.12, 8.19
Farrell, Michael: 2.26, 3,6, 4.6, 6.11
Fitt, Gerry MP: 8.28, 10.20,11.30, 4.23, 8.22
Garland, Sean: 4.3
Gilmore, George: 7.8
Gogarty, Frank: 3.22, 6.11
Gollan, John: 1.14, 2.22, 8.19
Goulding, Cathal: 10.9, 3.4, 4.29, 6.5, 6.14, 6.17, 8.16, 8.19
Gray, Malachy: 7.15-16
Greaves, Phyllis: 5.4,5.6
Harmel, Michael: 1.10
Harris, Noel: 7.9, 8.22
Hayes, May: 3.3
Heatley, Bobby: 7.25, 8.18, 8.30
Heatley, Fred: 10.19 3.8, 3.20
Heffer, Eric MP: 8.26
Hewitt, John: 11.22
Hume, John: 2.26, 6.22
Jeffrey, Nora: 5.28, 8.19, 8.23
Johnston, Mairin: 7.10, 2.27
Johnston, Roy: 7.6, 7.10-11, 9.5,10.9, 11.9, 2.13, 2.27-28, 3.1, 3.8, 3.20,
3.23, 6.14, 6.17, 6.22, 7.5, 8.19, 8.22
Keating, Justin: 6.7, 6.17, 6.19, 6.22
Lakeman, Enid: 10.12
Lawless, Gery: 10.16, 10.20, 3.6, 8.13
Lindsey, Ronnie: 3.2-5
Logan, Desmond: 8.21
McAnerney, John: 2.26, 3.25
Macardle, Dorothy: 6.12-13
MacAteer, Eddie: 10.19, 2.26
McCann, Eamon: 10.9, 10.11, 10.16, 10.18, 5.5, 5.14
McCluskey, Conn and Patricia: 3.9, 6.30
McClelland, John: 5.15, 5.28, 6.27, 7.31
McDowell, Vincent: 3.8
McEllistrim: 5.8, 5.11
MacEoin, Uinseann: 12.16-17, 6.14
McGill, Brendan: 5.8, 5.11, 8.13, 8.17
McGlade, Rebecca: 5.11, 6.5
MacLean, John: 7.1
MacLiam, Cathal and Helga: 7.9-12, 2.27, 8.22
MacLoughlin, Pat: 3.9, 8.24
McMahon, Tom: 7.8
MacSwiney, Muriel: 7.2, 6.21
Malone, Thomas and Mrs: 6.17
Matthews, George: 8.19
Meade, Tony: 10.14, 12.16
Melaugh, Eamon: 10.11
Merrigan, Matt: 9.6
Moore, Hughie: 2.26, 3.8, 6.5, 8.19
Morgan, Bernard (Barney): 3.9
Morrissey, Sean: 5.23 7.15
Mulligan, Peter: 3.23, 4.5, 7.10
Newens, Stan MP: 8.28, 10.16, 4.20
Nolan, Sam: 12.14
Nolan, Seamus: 7.10
Nolan, Sean (Johnny): 7.8,10.9, 12.15, 3.6, 3.8, 8.19
Nunan, Ernie: 6.12, 7.9
Nunan, Sean: 7.30, 9.11
O’Brien, Conor Cruise: 6.19
O’Donnell, Peadar: 3.4, 6.6
O’Donohue, Pat: 11.29,12.6, 3.22
O’Hegarty, Mrs and PS: 6.21
O Loingsigh, Micheál S.: 12.16, 6.22
O’Malley, Ernie and Cormac: 6.17
O’Reilly, Gerald: 7.2
O’Riordan, Michael: 7.6, 9.5, 9.11, 12.15, 12.19, 1.14, 2.13, 2.27, 3.8, 6.7,
O Snodaigh, Padraig (Oliver Snoddy): 10.13
O’Sullivan, Chris: 11.25
O Tuathail, Seamus (O’Toole): 7.6,10.9, 10.15
Paisley, Ian Rev.MP: 8.16, 8.21-22
Powell, Enoch MP: 2.25, 8.27
Powell, Pat: 8.21
Reader, Seamus: 7.8
Redmond, Sean: 7.23-25, 9.6, 11.13, 1.13, 1.24, 3.21, 8.19
Redmond, Tom: 7.1, 7.13, 6.22
Reid, Betty: 8.19
Reid, Jimmy: 8.7
Reynolds, Arthur: 2.28
Shinwell, Emmanuel: 4.20
Sinclair, Elizabeth (Betty): 10.19,11.17, 1.2, 2.26-27, 3.8, 3.15, 3.19-20,
3.23, 3.25, 5.9, 6.5, 6.7, 7.15
Small, Frank: 2.28, 7.12, 8.28
Stewart, Edwina: 5.9, 5.11
Stewart, Jimmy: 8.22
Stowell, Brian: 7.14, 7.29
Strickland, Charlie: 7.5
Tate, Jane: 1.26
Thornley, David TD: 6.7
Williams, Roose J.: 7.8, 5.20
Wilson, Harold MP: 7.1, 7.28, 8.28, 9.20,11.1, 1.6, 2.25
Woddis, Jack (Hillel): 12.10, 5.9, 5.30, 8.19