IRA man and British minister: generations apart

So Clare Short is not the only woman member of the British cabinet with a family with strong Republican background.According to the Times, Ruth Kelly’s grandfather was an IRA quartermaster and hunger striker, no less!

An Internment Order signed by Richard Dawson Bates, the hardline Northern Ireland Home Affairs Minister, states that Mr Murphy was arrested “on the recommendation of the Inspector-General RUC.” The document continues: “It is expedient that Phil (sic) Murphy of Castlecoole, Enniskillen, in the County Fermanagh, who is suspected of being about to act in a manner prejudicial to the preservation of the peace and the maintenance of order in Northern Ireland, should be interned.”

And spent time on a leaky old barge at the mouth of the Belfast Lough:

He was taken to Londonderry and from there to the workhouse in Larne, Co Antrim, before being transferred to the notorious prison ship SS Argenta, a leaky barge moored at the mouth of Belfast Lough where untried prisoners were kept in horrendous conditions below decks in cages. He was released unconditionally in June 1924 after a fellow prisoner, Cahir Healy, was elected to the House of Commons as MP for Fermanagh and Tyrone. His election was such an embarrassment to Stanley Baldwin, the Prime Minister, that pressure was brought to bear on the Stormont Government to end internment.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty