Brendan Duddy deserved a Nobel Peace Prize too

Coming soon after  so much painful reappraisal that accompanied the death and burial of Martin McGuinness, a tribute from Peter Taylor to a man who was unambiguously a peacemaker, as reported in the Irish Times.  

Broadcaster Peter Taylor – who revealed Mr Duddy’s role as an intermediary between the IRA and the British government in a 2008 documentary – also said he believed the Derry businessman deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.

Brendan took many personal risks for peace,” Mr Taylor told mourners at St Eugene’s Cathedral in Derry, “and actually did put his life on the line”.

In 1974 “he was summoned to explain himself before the IRA’s army council and he was given a really hard time because they weren’t sure whether they could trust him or not. I remember him saying to me that, afterwards, he overheard them asking whether they should kill him as a suspected agent.”

In his eulogy, Mr Taylor told mourners that one of Mr Duddy’s greatest regrets was that he had been unable to end the 1981 hunger strikes, which led to the deaths of 10 men.

“I remember Brendan reading to me the communications he had received from Bobby Sands just before he died after 66 days on hunger strike.

It said, ‘to you and yours, may I be permitted to say a last goodbye, and if my passion is to mean anything may it mean peace and freedom for you and yours, and may I be permitted to say how much I appreciate all the efforts you’ve made on our behalf’. I remember Brendan choking and breaking down as he read that from Bobby Sands.”

Brendan’s legacy, and the legacy of Martin McGuinness too, is that the part that both of them – and many others – played in helping them bring about the peace we all enjoy today.

“It’s ironic that both Martin and Brendan passed away within weeks of each other, marking the end of an era in the eventual transition from war to peace. Brendan’s contribution to that evolution is incalculable, and it is only just being belatedly recognised, and rightly so. John Hume and David Trimble deserved the Nobel Peace Prize but Brendan Duddy deserved it too.”

The State and government were represented by aides to President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan.

The BBC reported:

A Northern Ireland Office spokesperson said no UK government representatives were at the funeral. But Michael Oatley, a former MI6 spy, who acted as Mr Duddy’s conduit to the British government, was among mourners.

Proof there that Irish politicians have longer memories than the British? They certainly have greater continuity.

First Derry Rev Presbyterian minister Rev David Latimer also paid public tribute to Mr Duddy’s peacemaking efforts for and urged people in Northern Ireland to work together before it is too late.

He said: “We have suffered together and felt pain together, we now need to move forward together – for we all belong to this place.

“There can be no going back because we have come too far. Work together before it is too late.

 

 

 

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  • SDLP supporter

    Clearly a great and a good man, ar dheis De go mbeidh a anam uasal.

    All that murder and death and brutishness from all perpetrators, local and otherwise, was so unnecessary.

  • aquifer

    The cool bravery of the unarmed committed and vulnerable blessed us all.

  • AntrimGael

    He clearly was a brave man who put his life in danger by associating with British Intelligence. Let’s not kid ourselves, there are those who would have shot him had they known.

  • babyface finlayson

    Seemingly a courageous man and his courage lay in putting himself at risk not others. .How many lives did he save?
    Even more deserving of the accolades than McGuinness I think.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Condolences to Mr Duddy’s family.

    This line from Peter Taylor made me stop in my tracks:
    “I remember Brendan reading to me the communications he had received from Bobby Sands just before he died after 66 days on hunger strike.
    It said, ‘to you and yours, may I be permitted to say a last goodbye, and if my passion is to mean anything may it mean peace and freedom for you and yours, and may I be permitted to say how much I appreciate all the efforts you’ve made on our behalf’.”

    Wow – did Sands really refer to his hunger strike for IRA rights as “my passion”?!

    Oh my Good God.

    I think Duddy deserves a medal for not throwing up when he read that.

  • Zig70

    In the same way Mandela didn’t understand why Deklerk got a Nobel prize, I’m not sure why Trimble did? For acceding to power sharing? Is not doing harm enough?

  • William Saunderson

    Maybe because he won over (most of) his party and its supporters to back the deal? A similar criticism is made of Martin McGuinness, i.e. there was a lot of harrumphing in the British rightwing press about how he was lauded as a peacemaker just because he stopped an armed campaign that had no justification anyway. But these criticisms missed the point: McGuinness’s achievement was to win over the movement he represented, at considerable political and personal risk.

  • Socaire

    Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal