Major embarrassment for SDLP in Irish archives…

EXPENSES rows are not new. The Irish archives reveal that Dublin was prepared to hand out payments to the SDLP after the collapse of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing executive in 1974. Rather embarrassingly for John Hume and co, an official said details of the claims “do not tally” with records and advised further investigation to ensure “the SDLP aren’t claiming for something they aren’t entitled to”. Even more worryingly, one senior Irish government official believed Hume wanted internment brought back to tackle IRA violence. Now why would he think that?

  • Mark McGregor

    How strange that a man who previously felt strongly enough about internment to engage in a short hunger strike in protest then wants it reintroduced.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathy Collins

    Personally the ‘major’ embarrassment for the sdlp is nothing compaired to what is going on in sinn fein with gerry adams. John H. has long left the political scene…it shouldn’t cause the sdlp much bother.

  • John O’Connell


    I wanted it re-introduced regularly during the 1980s after several attrocities. I can see where his sentiment lies- with the decent people who were dying while the Shinners were living out their daddy’s bequest in terms of abuse. There was no basis for republican violence during the Troubles – even Gerry Adams accepted that eventually when he conceded to ending the campaign after its failure to achieve anything concrete.

  • Brian MacAodh

    One could also say that he realized Republican violence, justified or not, wasn’t accomplishing anything and wanted to end it on the best terms for his ‘soldiers’ as possible.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Not that embarrassing at all. The Irish official seems to have viewed it as a knee jerk comment and not fully thought through. Also whatever he said, it was going towards internment, not actually there. He would never have advocated it.

  • scruff

    I think the key word in that report is ” believed ” ( by the government official ). In any confidential , brainstorming session, a number of options would be mentioned. It is possible that the official misread the status of this one. In the absence of a statement by Hume , I wouldn’t read too much into this.

  • Alias

    Margaret Thatcher was considering reintroducing executive detention as part of a package of security measures at that time. If Thatcher wanted to feel out the Irish government on their possible support for a reintroduction of internment then Hume would be the best man to use for the purpose. This was before she began to improve relations with the Irish government. Initially, she demanded better cross-border security but would not concede any role – consultative or otherwise – for the Irish government in internal British security matters. The Irish government gave great weight to the opinions of John Hume, so if he could be used by the security services to promote internment then they would have done so. In the end, she decided against internment. But it’s interesting that Hume was seemingly a puppet of the British state as early as that.

  • John O’Connell


    Grow up. Try not spinning. Try the truth. Most Catholics were sympathetic to internment because they believed that the day of Irish unity was being postponed by IRA violence for no good reason other than to be seek revenge for the past.

  • joeCanuck

    You’ve finally lost it if you truly believe that most Catholics were in favour of internment. Some of my acquaintances were interned and they were no more involved with violence than I was; simply political activists.
    There might have been more support if the application had been even handed rather that directed at one section of the population.

  • Alias

    Where is the spin? Thatcher was considering reintroducing internment and would have needed to consider how the Irish government would respond to this and if they could be persuaded to support it. Since she could not have picked up the phone and discussed it with the Irish government – it being her position that internal British security matters were none of their concern – she would have to rely on her intelligence services to get her the information. It is hardly coincidence that Hume is ‘despatched’ to probe the Irish on this issue at that time, is it?

  • Dixie Elliott

    Try the truth. Most Catholics were sympathetic to internment….

    John away and read something about nutty numbers…

    Why were thousands of people on the streets of Derry on the 30th January 1972?

  • Brian MacAodh

    Weren’t the IRA trying to provoke internment in the late 80s (according to Maloney)? They htought it would rally support behind them.

  • joeCanuck

    Nutty numbers.

    Nice turn of phrase, Dixie.

  • John O’Connell

    Joe and Dixie

    By the late 70s most people were sickened by the violence which was going nowhere, had no purpose and was simply a vendetta against the unionists for Stormont misrule. It had no noble application.

    I’m pretty sure that when people closed their doors at night and watched the futility of it all on tv, there were voices raised about having to stop the IRA before the IRA destroyed any chance of Irish unity. How right they were!

    Today we see in Stormont the Sinn Feiners being abused by the DUP in return for their campaign of violence and the cycle goes on – an eye for an eye. But no united Ireland in sight.

  • joeCanuck

    Progress. You have retreated from an adamant statement to now being simply “pretty sure”.
    Keep trying.

  • joeCanuck

    By the late 70s most people were sickened by the violence which was going nowhere,

    That is a terrible back-handed insult to the vast majority of Catholics who deplored the IRA violence from the start.
    Look at the poll numbers for S.F. before they eschewed violence as the way to address grievances.

  • John O’Connell


    No retreat at all. Just a different way of saying the same thing.

    No insult intended to the vast majority of Catholics.

  • Framer

    I wonder if the SDLP and Hume in particular received
    any help, financial or diplomatic, from the DFA in the later years?

    It always struck me as strange that he was able to maintain such an extensive operation on his own.

  • Is it not more accurate to report that an Irish diplomat BELIEVED Hume was supportive of re-introducing internment? I have failed to find anything that states Hume WAS supportive of the measure. I, for example, believe that Gerry Adams was a member of pira army council and an accessory to paedophile activity. That would not, however, be enough to headline that Adams is/was a member of the army council and an accessory to paedophile activity.