No. 470 NAI DFA Unregistered Papers

Letter from Michael McDunphy to Diarmuid O'Hegarty (London) with enclosure of draft letter to be sent by William T. Cosgrave to Lord Granard

Dublin, 7 November 1930

Dear O'Hegarty,

I got your message from Cremins this morning.

The original intention was that the President should indicate to Lord Granard the lines on which he (Lord Granard) should reply to Lord Sankey, but it was thought, on further consideration, that the better plan would be for the President to write to Lord Granard conveying his views.1

Just before your message came, we had prepared a letter for this purpose, copy of which I send herewith for consideration. The lines have been numbered so that any comments which suggest themselves to the Ministers or to you can be imparted over the telephone, or by code wire, without undue risk of publicity.

I am writing this letter, of course, without having received yours, which will not arrive until tomorrow morning, but the overlap does no harm and will possibly save a good deal of time and unnecessary explanation.

The President will take no further action until he has heard the delegates' views. He had already told Lord Granard in a preliminary letter today that he has instructed Mr. McGilligan that there can be no yielding on the Privy Council matter. He has also indicated to him that he will write him more fully during the weekend.

In the event of urgent personal contact with the delegation being necessary, I have arranged that an aeroplane will be at our disposal here. All the conventions would, of course, be observed in the event of its being found necessary to use this method. It is not intended to use it, however, except in case of special urgency.

It may assist in tracing the genesis of the proposal brought by Lord Granard to know that Lord Sankey met him at the opening of the British Parliament and asked him to come and discuss the Irish position with him. At the meeting which followed, he made the proposal referred to and asked him to convey it to the President. This I learned for the first time today in conversation with Lord Granard.

Sincerely yours,
(Signed) M. McDunphy


P.S. The draft was settled at a meeting today at which were present the President, General Mulcahy,2 Messrs. Hogan3and Fitzgerald-Kenny.4



In addition to informing the members of our delegation from the Imperial Conference who were in Ireland last Saturday and Sunday, I took the precaution of sending Mr McDunphy over to London to see my colleagues.

    I have been disappointed on hearing of the condition of affairs over there not only in respect of the Privy Council but of the whole business of the Conference.

    I do not know whether the British Government appreciates the situation, but to the public here and in consequence I think to the people of the other Dominions the whole time spent at the Imperial Conference will appear to have been lost so far as any useful work is concerned.

    It is unnecessary to comment on the Privy Council situation. Leave to appeal has been granted in a way never contemplated by the Treaty or by the Constitution. In those cases where it might be contended that leave to appeal should be given the decisions require elaborate explanations and the more elaborate they are the more they are inexplicable.

    The Government here took the only course which prudence and sound Government could suggest, but that policy entails cost on litigants. The whole business is an outrage on democracy and a contempt of law.

    You know the situation here and are conversant with the position beyond. The Privy Council is violently objected to by the vast majority of our people. As a Court there is no support whatever for it here outside of a small section of the minority which in the eight years of the State's existence has not used it, and has never had occasion to use it.

    I have written to Mr McGilligan that on this issue we cannot yield.

1 See No. 478.

2 General Richard Mulcahy, Minister for Local Government and Public Health.

3 Patrick Hogan.

4 James Fitzgerald-Kenny, Minister for Justice.

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