No. 3 NAI DT S4743

Kevin O’Shiel to William T. Cosgrave (Dublin)

DUBLIN, 21 October 1922

To /
The President and Minister of Finance.1
A Chara,
I have much pleasure in reporting to you now that organization in connection with the above matter has been largely completed and that work in the Research and North Eastern (Local Organization) Divisions is now well under way.

In my report to you of the 14th instant2 I outlined the plan of work and the personnel, in so far as that could be ascertained at the time. I am now able to supply much, though not all, of the details that I was unable to do then.

This is the position of affairs in connection with the North Eastern Boundary Bureau at the moment.



This Division is now established in the offices formerly occupied by the Constitution Committee. It is in charge of Mr. E. M. Stephens, B.L. and the staff etc. is as follows:


Research Division and Central Offices

Secretary - E.M. Stephens, B.L. (To be remunerated at the rate of £700 per annum as from Wednesday the 11th instant).

Staff - Messrs. Meara and Seamus Redmond (on loan from the Department of Agriculture).
 Miss Saunders and Miss Kane (on loan from the Insurance Commission).
 Mr. Ruth - expert on vital statistics (on loan from the office of the Registrar General).

With the exception of Mr. Ruth these are all former members of the staff of the Constitution Committee, which we have merely taken over.

Running in connection with this Research Division will be a small Board or Committee of experts to advise and collect material about the various subjects on which they are authorities. By the time this Committee is fully organised it will consist of about 6 or 7 persons. So far, only two have definitely promised to assist in this capacity. These are, Mr. Joseph Johnston, F.T.C.D.,3 a Northerner himself from Tyrone, who has undertaken to furnish a report on transport and regional economics, and to collect and arrange all material bearing on this important subject; and Mr. Smith-Gordon, Manager, National Land Bank, who has undertaken to do likewise with regard to finance, banking, rate of exchange, currency, etc., showing how all these matters will be very greatly affected by a) Partition of any kind and b) an uneconomic Partition.

No rate of remuneration for this work was suggested as yet. It was thought best that as Mr. Johnston was in a position to devote most time to the work, he should undertake his branch first, and that the financial questions arising from the treatment of the economic situation should be passed on to Mr. Smith Gordon. I may say that Mr. Johnston commenced work on his subject some time ago.

I also communicated with Dr. George O'Brien and Professor Mitchell Henry of the Queen's University, Belfast.

I heard from Dr. George O'Brien who said that he would be willing to give us any voluntary assistance in his power, but that he was not in a position to make himself responsible for any particular branch of the work.

I have not yet heard from Professor Mitchell Henry (whom you may recall as the well known writer on Sinn Féin from an Ulster angle), but I expect he will be agreeable to do work for us, as this is his pet subject. I have yet to get a few good historians to trace the work of Plantation and Partition from A.D. 1500 upwards.

A number of experts are already engaged on work in connection with the Silesian and the Schleswig-Holstein Plebiscites.

You may take it now that with regard to this Division work is in full swing on the following aspects: economic, statistical, Silesian and Schleswig-Holstein Plebiscites, and that within the next week work will have commenced on both the historical and financial sides.



I have made great headway with this Division and have definitely appointed the following Legal Agents to the following districts:

(1) Tyrone County -  
 North and Mid District - Mr. Alec Donnelly, Solr., Omagh.
 East and South District - Mr. T.J.S. Harbison, M.P., Solicitor,
(2)Newry District  
 (Embracing South and
East Down and South
- Mr. John H. Collins, Solr., Newry.
(3)South County Derry - Mr. P.J. Agnew, Solicitor, Magherafelt.

There yet remains to be filled corresponding positions for Fermanagh County, Derry City and Belfast District (including all Antrim County, Rathlin Island and parts of Down and Armagh).



Every one of these Legal Agents have been (and will be) appointed on the following definite and unmistakable terms:

(1) That they furnish the Bureau, before the 6th December next, with at least one clear copy of their brief containing the whole case stated for their district.

(2) That they send to the Central Office short but frequent reports as to how the work for the Commission is progressing in their district.

(3) That they supply any information bearing on the matter which the Central Office may from time to time request, and in general, work in close co-operation with the Central Office.

These Agents appointed have already been supplied with full and definite instructions elaborating these terms. If you desire it, I will send you on a copy of the instructions sent. It is rather a lengthy document, containing five pages of foolscap, and I forbear to trouble you with it.

There is no doubt that these Legal Agents have their work 'cut out' for them in real earnest. It will take them all their time to provide us with their respective 'cases stated' for their respective districts between this and the 6th December, next. They have represented to me that they will have to give up all other work until this work is completed. Now October and November are the harvest months of the country Solicitor. The Autumn Quarter Sessions, which are the largest Quarter Sessions in the year, take place during these months, and they generally reap the major part of their incomes at this period.

Those of them who have agreed to accept the position of Legal Agent will, of course, have largely to forego their legal Court work in order to accomplish our work. For this reason they will have to receive adequate remuneration, and after consultation with them and other less interested parties it was suggested that they should be paid each a fee of Sixty Guineas, when the work which they have severally contracted to deliver up completed to us on the 6th December has been so furnished to us. This is by no means an exorbitant fee under the circumstances. It works out at about £10.10. per week, which is certainly not high professional pay for temporary and most arduous work.

Beyond this fee they will have to be paid reasonable expenses, where such expenses are incurred in the prosecution of our work. There are a sufficient number of us who are conversant with those parts of the North to be able to check and keep a strict account of such expenses.

Mr. O'Hanrahan, the Supervisor, is at the moment engaged on a tour round the various districts, instructing the Agents and giving them their bearings. Unfortunately the Minister of Home Affairs, whom I have to thank for the loan of this gentleman, will be requiring his services at the end of a week. However, by that time the Agents will all be hard at their several tasks, and the Government will not be put to further expense in this connection as in future I will undertake the direct supervising myself.



I have not yet got this Division into working order, but it will certainly be functioning before this day week. I have asked Mr. Milroy to undertake this most important end of the work, but he has not yet replied definitely.

Propaganda in this direction has become even more important than ever in view of the political crisis and the likelihood of a General Election and the return of a 'Die-hard' Government in Great Britain. If a 'Die-hard' Government comes into power in Great Britain we will have to organise and exert every ounce of world opinion that we have in order to influence the Boundary Commission Chairman against Craig's conception of Article 12 of the Treaty.

In conclusion I would like respectfully to suggest to you that should you see your way to sanction the above mentioned amounts - as Minister of Finance3 - you will do so as soon as possibly convenient, as the matter is most urgent.

The work is taking shape rapidly, and is, I think, as far advanced as possible in the time. I trust that by the end of November we will be in a position to provide the principal information on all branches and to have the greater part of the General Case Stated drafted and ready for the printers.

Assistant Legal Adviser

1Cosgrave held both posts from 22 August to 6 December 1922.

2Above No. 2.

3Cosgrave was holding the Finance portfolio as well as that of President of the Executive Council.

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