No. 63 NAI DFA Secretaries’ Files S2

Sean Lester to Desmond FitzGerald (Dublin)

DUBLIN, 17 April 1923



I have had a talk with Mr. Hooper, Editor of the 'Freeman'[,] regarding Monsignor Luzio. He is quite convinced that the Monsignor's action in inviting the local authorities to appeal to him to intervene between the Irish Government and the rebels is likely to prolong the trouble. He confirmed my information of yesterday evening regarding the attempts by Father Conry to 'inspire' the Press and get Press support for his intrigue (if I may use that term). How successful this has been may be noticed from the news columns of both the 'Irish Times' and 'Independent' this morning which contained about half a column relating to Monsignor Luzio's activities, and portion of which was directly dictated by the Monsignor's Secretary. The general feeling seems to be that if the Government is not to find itself in a predicament with the Irish people apparently appealing outside the authority of that Government, some action should be taken. One suggestion is that a representative should be sent at once to Rome to ask for Monsignor Luzio's recall, and another is that a statement should be made authoritatively announcing that Monsignor Luzio is apparently sent to Ireland to settle some ecclesiastical matter, and that he was received as an act of courtesy by the President but that Monsignor Luzio has no political mission to Ireland, otherwise he would have come armed with the proper credentials; or something to this effect. Regarding the first suggestion a courier could reach Rome in two days and see the Cardinal Secretary of State on the third day. If it were thought desirable that the mission should not be undertaken by an official of the Government but by a Cleric, the name of a very able Clergyman occurs to me. This is the Rev. Dr. Walsh, who is, I think, Assistant Vicar General of the Augustinians. Dr. Walsh knows Rome very well, and at one time acted as Secretary to Cardinal Sortolli during his time as Legate in the United States.

The 'Freeman' refused to publish the matter which reached them in much the same form as it appeared in the other two papers and it is possible that they may take some more definite action in the matter - but this cannot be counted on.

I do not know what information you have about Father Conry, but he was ordained in Rome and remained there living on his private means until 10 years ago or so when the Pope issued an order that no Priest was to remain in Rome unless he had some appointment. I am told that Fr. Conry then endowed a Canonry in Rome and himself became the first Canon. He was out there for some years and has lately been living in Bray looking after some property left to him by his father. Monsignor Luzio brought over with him an Italian Secretary but on his arrival Father Conry took up the position and the Italian Clergyman returned to Rome.

1Copy to W.T. Cosgrave for information.

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