No. 477 NAI DT S4285

Letter from Michael McDunphy to Diarmuid O'Hegarty (London)

Dublin, 8 November 1930

Dear O'Hegarty,

I received your letter1 this morning and am pleased to find that it confirms what I had already conveyed to the President and Ministers here.

I am afraid that my use of the word 'formula' in my conversation with Fahy on Thursday night created a wrong impression. There was no intention, whatever, of devising a formula on the Privy Council question for the purpose of negotiation from here. Delegates had been appointed for that purpose and the matter was in their hands.

We were concerned solely with drafting for Lord Granard a letter to be sent by him to Lord Sankey, which would not convey a wrong impression of our attitude here. Since then, as you are aware from my letter of yesterday, the procedure has altered.

This is simply by way of explanation, in case there has been a misunderstanding.

With regard to the 'phone message conveyed through Fahy today, I have informed the President of the views of the delegation that the suggested letter to Lord Granard is not strong enough and that an alternative draft will be sent so as to reach us here on Monday morning.

On the question of the Archbishops' letter the President is strongly of opinion that a letter from him is necessary and he would like to have some assistance from you on this matter. He is not taken by the proposal that he should see Lord Glenavy, even though Campbell has kindly consented to speak to his father. Frankly, he does not think an approach to him would produce any useful result. He fears, on the contrary, that if it were to result in the writing of a letter, that letter would be of such a nature as to aggravate the mischief which has already been created. Obviously, in such circumstances, there is little hope of a useful letter either from Lord Glenavy himself or in co-operation with Senators Browne and Jameson as suggested. You are, no doubt, aware that Senator Sam Browne is not a member of the Church of Ireland (he is a Methodist), and for this reason his position in a matter of this nature would be rather delicate. In fact when the deputation which the President received on the 10th December last was being arranged for, the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin thought it necessary to advert to this difference in religion and, by implication, to apologise for the Senator's presence on the deputation. Such is the present position with regard to the suggested letter, but we are arranging for contact with Lord Glenavy and if there are any developments, I will let you know.

As to what actually occurred at the deputation there is unfortunately no record. The President, however, has jotted down from memory his recollection of what took place, of which the following is a resumé:-

(1) The deputation were apparently convinced that the Privy Council as part of the machinery of the Constitution was inevitably bound to go.
(2) This being the case they urged that an alternative safeguard should be provided and suggested an increase in the personnel of the Supreme Court as a solution.
(3) If the Privy Council had to go, as appeared to be likely, they were anxious that its demise should be a peaceful one. They were very perturbed at certain statements which had been made by Mr. Blythe which foreshadowed an ignominious abolition of the Privy Council and they were anxious to avoid any repetition of pronouncements of this nature.

Mr. McGilligan was not present at this meeting but the President thinks that the following day he gave a summary of the discussions to a number of Ministers including Mr. McGilligan, and this may be what Mr. McGilligan has in mind.

With regard to President Griffith's pledge to Lord Midleton, we can find no trace of any direct letter between them on this subject.

I send you herewith, however:

(a) copy of a letter addressed by Arthur Griffith from London to the President at home on the 16th November, 1921, which you will observe, is the date on which he saw Midleton with Dr. Bernard and Andrew Jameson.2
(b) copy of a letter addressed by Arthur Griffith to Lloyd George on the 6th December, 1921.3

From documents submitted by Lord Midleton in the course of a Conference held on Ireland in Downing Street on 27th December, 1922, it appears that the pledge given by Mr. Griffith 'personally and in writing' was that he (Mr. Griffith)

  'would consult with representatives of the minority in the South of Ireland and make ample provision for their representation and security under the new Constitution'.

On the 10th June, 1922, an agreement was entered into between President Griffith on the one hand and the following people representing Southern Unionists on the other:-

  Most Rev. Dr. Bernard, Provost of Trinity,
  Lord Donoughmore,
  Lord Midleton, and
  Mr. Andrew Jameson.

The heads of the agreement will be found in Dáil Debates, Volume I, 18th September, 1922, Cols. 354-357. A reference to the date of the agreement and of the parties thereto will be found in Columns 1023-4 in the same Volume.

Yours sincerely,
[initialled] MMcD

1 See No. 471.

2 See DIFP Volume I, No. 196, Griffith to de Valera, 15 November 1921, which also refers to the meeting.

3 Not printed.

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