No. 285 NAI DFA ES London 1922

Art O'Brien to George Gavan Duffy (Dublin)


London, 17 May 1922

A Chara,
I duly received yours of May 9th.1 You will permit me to say at once that, both in tone and wording, it is unworthy of you or the position which you hold. With reference to the matter concerning other Ministers, contained in my letter of April 29th., this arose out of remarks in your own letter of April 22nd, as you will see by the context.2

As to my not keeping an appointment to meet the Ministry, the facts are as follows. I advised you not to make an appointment before the first or second week in April, as I should be absent from London. You apparently overlooked this and made an appointment for an earlier date. On account of my moving about from place to place, your notification of the appointment only reached me two or three days before the date suggested. I immediately cabled that I could not return in time to keep the appointment, and gave reference to previous correspondence in which I said I could not be available until the first or second week in April. I do not know what further explanation can be necessary in the circumstances, and actually I was waiting to hear from you re a further appointment.

You evidently do not grasp my reason for wanting an appointment with the Ministry. It was to ensure that attacks would not be made on me in the press by responsible ministers, and further that any complaints against me should be dealt with in an orderly and regular manner. Nothing that transpired at such an interview could relieve the Minister of Finance from his obvious duty of correcting the false statements he had made against me, nor you of your duty to see that these statements (which also concerned yourself) were corrected.

I thought you had already realised that there were two very distinct points to be dealt with in reference to the matter of the 'CATHOLIC HERALD'.

With regard to the remainder of your letter I will repeat again that there is absolutely no justification for your decision. I have defended, and will continue to defend, either with you or others, my own action to which you have taken exception, and there is no unbiased mind that would not uphold me in the stand I have taken. Your mention of a 'Super Dail' seems to me quite improper and irrelevant. I have not, in any event, challenged any action of, or even referred to, AN DAIL. Even were I at fault in the action to which you have taken exception, your decision would be outrageous, even on its merits, but more so in regard to our respective positions. It is made the more outrageous when you persistently refuse to see me. And I may add that the outrage is very greatly enhanced from a consideration of our former personal relations.

I do not consider that, even given due cause, you have any right or authority to take such drastic action as that which you contemplated, with one in my position. In a former letter you informed me you were submitting the matter to the Ministry, but, so far, you have not informed me of the result. I hold my credentials from the President of the Republican Government, and a matter such as that which forms the subject of our correspondence, should be made known to him.

I do not think that I can add anything further to this correspondence. I have made all the facts and my position quite clear. I renew my suggestion to you for a meeting to get this matter cleared up.

I would point out that, so far, you have not made clear to me how my letter to the 'INDEPENDENT' could, in any circumstances, be construed as an attack, and not a reply to a direct personal attack upon me; nor why I should be presumably required to allow every public personal attack upon me to go unanswered; nor, again, how, in any event, such drastic and extreme action as you contemplate could be justified on any grounds. If, even now, you accept my suggestion for a meeting, these points could perhaps be made clear to me.

Is mise,
Art O'Briain

1 No. 283.

2 Not printed.

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