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  • ROINN COSANTA. BUREAU OF MILITARY HISTORY, 1913-21. STATEMENT BY WITNESS DOCUMENT NO. W.S. 779 (Section1) Witness Robert Brennan, 42 Lower Dodder Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin. Identity. Acting Comd't. Wexford Brigade, Irish Vol's. 1916; 0/C. Sinn Fein Press Bureau, 1918-1921; Under Sec. Foreign Affairs, Dail Eireann, 1921-'22; Irish Minister at Washington, 1938-1947. Subject. Text of his book "Allegiance" with some additional notes. Conditions, if any, Stipulated by Witness. Nil. File No. S.537 Form B.S.M.2 STATEMENT OF MR. ROBERT BRENNAN 42 Lower Dodder Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin. Shortly after I arrived to take up the position of Director of Publicity for Sinn FŽin - at least, that was not my title; my title was Officer in Charge of the Sinn FŽin Press Bureau - in March, 1918, odd journalists began to call, all of whom wanted to interview Mr. de Valera. I remember an American who had a long interview with de Valera and I was amused to observe the methods used by the American reporters as contrasted with any of the others. This man was more interested in the personality of the man rather than in the politics of the day, such as, offering him a cigarette and getting a refusal - "You don't smoke?" "No". Of course, that was a point to be noted. "You don't drink?" "No". And so on, in order to get a picture of the personal tastes, background and outline of the man's character. Very few of the British journalists came to headquarters at that time but we had men from Portugal, Spain, Japan, France and Italy as well as from America. On one occasion there was a big group of journalists in the Shelbourne Hotel. They had come over from London where they had assembled for some big project. Many of these were Americans but there were also journalists from the Continent and one man was a Boer from South Africa. Harry Boland and myself saw them and gave them an outline of what Sinn FŽin stood f—r. They asked us a great many searching questions, the, main one being whether we would -2- be satisfied with Dominion Home Rule. We had, of course, pamphlets to give them, outlining the programme and policy of Sinn FŽin and arguments on which our case for complete independence was based. Sometimes in the later stages, when we had left No. 6 Harcourt Street, a journalist would call there and invariably some passer-by told him how to get in touch. On one occasion it was a boy who sold newspapers at the corner of Cuffe Street and Harcourt Street. This poor fellow was afterwards arrested and tried for an offence which he did not commit, the shooting of Detective Wharton. He was sentenced to fifteen years. I can't remember his name at the moment. He must have been released at the time of the Treaty because he was afterwards accidentally killed during an encounter between the rival forces in the Civil War. I have explained in my book, "Allegiance", how the journalists were able to get in touch rapidly with the Sinn FŽin organisation. My office continued handling publicity in No. 6 Harcourt Street after the setting up of D‡il ƒireann in January,, 1919. The D‡il, however, had set up a Publicity Department, of which Larry Ginnell was Chief with the title, Director of Publicity. When Ginnell was arrested, Desmond Fitzgerald took his place. He carried on in my office in Harcourt Street. until such time as we left it. On account of the number of raids, the continued occupation of No. 6 Harcourt Street became impossible and we went to Mount Street - Mrs. Nugent's house. We all worked together. After some time -3- we left Mrs. Nugent's house in Mount Street and, for a while, worked in another place she had in Baggot Street where her business was. Later again, we moved from there to offices in Molesworth Street. We had two rooms on the second floor of it. This continued until I left the Publicity Department to establish the Foreign Affairs Office. That was in January or February of 1921. I took offices then in Denzille Street in the house beside Oriel House. Before we left Harcourt Street, the staff consisted of Miche1 Nunan, Vera McDonnell, Kathleen McKenna and Frank Gallagher. I think that is all we had up to the election in 1918, the time of my arrest. Subsequently there were in the joint offices Larry Ginnell, later Desmond Fitzgerald, Anna Fitzsimons Kelly. Kathleen McGilligan, Sheila Murphy and her sister came later. There was also a messenger boy by the name of Jimmy Hynes. In my Foreign Affairs office in Denzille Lane (now Fenian Street) there were Mairin Cregan Ryan, Frank Kelly, Jim Bolger (my brother-in-law), James Carty (now in the National Library) and a Miss Marie Molony. Some time early in 1921 I had occasion to see de Valera. It was either in the house at Strand Road, Merrion, or else in the house he went to in Blackrock, off Merrion Avenue. While I was waiting in the hall, de Valera came out with a tall, loose-limbed man, whom I took to be an American, a journalist, and de Valera introduced us. The man went off at once. Evidently he had a cab waiting. A few days later I was travelling on top of an open-top tram proceeding towards Baggot Street -4- when I had an encounter with this man, whose name was Jim Connolly from Boston as I afterwards learned, the circumstances of which set out in an article which I wrote for 'Irish Writing' in 1952. This article was reprinted reprinted in the 'Irish Digest' for October, 1952. There Were a few of the British journalists who were more or 1ess friendly, one of them being Desmond McCarthy and the other, Hugh Martin, but in the main they were hostile. The American journalists as a rule were friendly. Some time during the Tan War the French novelist Monsieur Pierre Benoit - author of "La ChausŽe Des GŽants" was very friendly. Maurice Bourgeois was very unfriendly, mainly because he shared the view held by many people in France that the insurrection of 1916 was a stab in the back for the allies. In my book, "Allegiance", I have told the circumstances which compelled him to change his attitude. Concerning the book, "Allegiance', what happened was this. One night in Washington there were a few friends in - Americans mainly - and they asked me to tell them something about my experiences during the Tan War. Next day my secretary, who had been present, produced a typescript copy of what I had been saying. When I read this, I thought it was so much better than I could have done if I had written it, that we said whenever we would get a few minutes to spare, we would proceed on the same lines and I would talk as if I had an audience. In that way, when I came back to Ireland, I had three parts of the book written, so I had only to fill up a few blanks. I was married in 1909. It must have been two or three years before that that I was enrolled by Sean T. -5- O'Kelly in the I.R.B., as described in the book, with a group of others When I was about to get married, I felt uneasy because I wanted to tell my future wife that I belonged to this organi5ation and that I might be called out to fight, but I could not tell her because one of the very strict rules of the organisation was that you could not give any such information to anybody who was not a member: I said they would have to accept her as a member. I put it before my own people first and they said, "Why not go Dublin and tell them?" I went up to Dublin. Se‡n T. O'Kelly happened to be in Wexford some time later and swore òna in as a member of the organisation. About that time somebody told me that there was only one other lady a member. The first occasion on which I came to a Sinn FŽin Ard Fheis as a member of the Ard-Chomhairle for Leinster, the two Hegaity's - P.S. and Se‡n - attacked Griffith on the grounds that he was hobnobbing with William O'Brien, M.P. There was a bitter argument which went on for hours and finally Griffith said that on four occasions he had been approached to stand for a seat in Parliament, twice by the Redmondites and twice by O'Brien. On each occasion he had refused point-blank. The matter was not pursued then. Afterwards either Madame Markievicz, in whose house at Belcamp Park we stayed that night, or Helena Molony told me that Hobson, who had been silent during the discussion, was at the back of the whole thing. In March, I believe, of 1916 Pearse lectured in Enniscorthy. On that occasion he arranged to send cipher messages to the various Commandants, indicating the date of the Rising. The arrangement he made with Se‡n Sinnott, -6- the Commandant of the Wexford Battalion and Vice Commandant of the Brigade, was that a number of school-desks were to be delivered on a certain date and that he, Se‡n, was to add or deduct - I forget which - seven days from the day mentioned, which would indicate the date of the Rising. On the Thursday before Easter Sunday, a lady arrived in Wexford. I believe it was Miss Min Ryan, afterwards Mrs. Richard Mulcahy, who delivered a message to Se‡n Sinnott, which showed that the Rising was fixed for Easter Sunday. I know it was Min Ryan that my wife met on the Sunday. She - my wife - went to Enniscorthy to be there when I arrived. Our plans were that we were to march to Enniscorthy and I wanted her there when we got there. It must have been Sunday when she left, herself and Miss Hegarty. Miss Hegarty.Miss Hegarty was a teacher student at the Loreto Convent in Wexford. She was from Ballingeary and is now Mrs. î Tuama. I met her in Cork City years and years afterwards and I believe her husband was working in the city of Cork then. She accompanied my wife to Enniscorthy. Commentary on my Book, "Allegiance" Page 51 - re name of despatch rider - Tom Furlong. I think it was Lawlor who came to see me following a letter from Eamonn Comerford about my statement regarding the message from Kilkenny in Easter Week, 1916. Page 65 - M‡ire O'Neill was a writer. She was in the Unionist camp. -7- Page 68 - During the Black and Tan raids we used to keep any documents we had to keep, or some that had historic value, in bundles ready to be sent to a hiding place. On several occasions Miss Gaul, who was a governess - a Wexford girl - employed by Mrs. kirwood-Hackett who lived next door to us stored bundles for us. Another person who used to store bundles of this kind for us was Miss Cunningham, the Matron of Trinity Hall. After The Truce I tried to recover these documents and one bundle was missing. In this bundle was the letter from Colonel French. Miss Gaul was sure she had given back all the stuff she had secreted for us. Seven years elapsed, and one day I was in a tram and I heard two women talking. One of them said, "Another thing she is boasting about is that she has a lot of letters signed by Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith". The two ladies left the train at the next stop. Suddenly it dawned on me that they were talking about Mrs. Kirkwood - Hackett and that they were talking about my letters. I had never seen these two ladies before or since. It happened that about a week later Mrs. Hackett came to an office I had in Messrs. Kean & Company, Dame Street, when I was organising the 'Irish Press'. She wanted some data about the I.R.A. in connection with a play she was writing, of which I was to be the central figure. I said nothing about the papers but she invited me to her 1xouse in Dundrum to look at a draft of the play. It concerned the escape of an I.R.A. leader by getting through a skylight and down a ladder and being concealed by the woman of the house in a theatre.. basket. 8. Durihg the interview she asked me whether letters signed by Collins and Griffith would have any commercial value. I said I would like to see them, whereupon she produced a few letters signed by Collins and Griffith and some copies of The Irish Bulletin. There was no sign of my Colonel French letter. Then I told her that these letters had belonged to me and she said she found them under the stairs adjoining the return room in her old house in Belgrave Road. I told het that there was one letter I was very anxious to get, signed by Colonel French. She said she had burned some of the material but that she had some other documents. When I assured her that this was not Lord French, she produced the letter. I told her I was taking this and that she could have all the rest. Mrs. Hackett's play was later produced at the Abbey under the title "Number Ten (or perhaps Twelve) Belgrave Road" and by that time the central figure, according to Mrs. Hackett, had become Michael Collins. Page 79. I was about a week in Waterford. Page 85. Re. Courtmartial. I do not remember the names of the people who tried me. The only one I knew was the Advocate- General on the preliminary hearing. He was a young Irish barrister who was a friend of Charlie Power. I can't remember his name. He might have been Hanna. He used to attend the Court Sessions in Wexford. I said something to him about Charlie Power which Charlie told me afterwards nearly got him into trouble. Page L46. I wrote the 16 episodes of Danny Dwyer to keep myself from going mad and I am glad to say it served the purpose. I did not embody the story in my book Allegiance as I first thought of doing. It is now ready for publication and I hope 9. to have it produced shortly. That is the explanation of the gap in the typescript copy I am giving to the Bureau. You will notice there is a jmmp from Page 240 to 397. Page 153 - re Brugha and Griffith: After 1916 there were at least three different movements either in fact or in embryo. Griffith was keen on retaining the Sinn Fein movement on the same lines as prior to 1916. The main plank in the programme, so far as Britain was concerned, was that we would not negotiate with Britain on the question of Ireland's status until they, the British, recognised their own Act of Parliament, called the Renunciation Act of 1782, I think, by which the British enacted that only the King, Lords and Commons of Ireland should legislate for Ireland. The second movement was the one that was in embryo, the thought in the minds of all the 1eople who had been out in Easter Week that we should avail of the Sinn FŽin movement and remould it along Republican lines. The third was an organisation which Count Plunkett had set up, called, I think, the Liberty League, which was far more to the left than either of the two foregoing. As soon as we were released from Pentonville Jail - t1iere was 120 of us there - de Valera began to work for the unification of all the parties to these three movements, and he finally succeeded by getting them all to accept a formula that the aim of the organistion was the independence of Ireland and that a plebiscite would be held as soon as that independence was attained, so that the Irish people could decide the form of government they wanted. They were all in agreement, so much so that when we. were going into the Ard Fheis in October 1917, and while there was still considerable debating as to whether de Valera or 10. Griffith should be President, they were debating it in the queues outside the Mansion House and a lady from Monaghan spoke to me. She said she was entirely in favour of Griffith and I said that, while I had a great admiration for him, I was going to vote for de Valera. I have told in the book about the two caucuses which were working; one for the I.R.B. under the direction of Michael Collins and his list placed Eamon de Valera No. 1; and the other, organised by Darrell Figgis with, it was supposed, Arthur Griffith's approval, and on this list Griffith's name appeared first. I have told of how Harry Hanrahan courageously exposed the two caucuses and denounced them at the Ard Fheis, receiving, as-it seemed from the applause, the almost unanimous agreement of the gathering. The culmination of all this came when, to the surprise of practically everybody present, Griffith proposed de Valera for the presidency. I do not know a thing about a meeting beforehand at which Griffith was asked to give way to de Valera. Page 162. Re. Desmond Fitzgerald - Did he feel any resentment about the Publicity post? No, because when I met him, I had written to him. When I spoke to him about it, I had not realised that de Valera had me in mind; and in the letter to him I told him then that I was applying. When next I met Desmond Fitzgerald, about a week after I arrived in Dublin, he banteringly referred to my conscientious chivalry. Paddy Sheehan was do Valera's secretary at the time I arrived in Dublin. He told me a couple of days after I arrived that P.S. O'Hegarty had been mentioned for the post, that Collins was very keen on his getting it and that de Valera when he heard that he had not been married in a Catholic church said No. 11. Page 166. Re. suggestion that Collinwas organising the Volunteers for a showdown, for action, on his own responsibility. That was in my mind. There was something else preceding that which I told in the hook. When I went to No. 6 Harcourt St. I took a desk in the General Secretary's office and was working there. De Valera, when he heard I was there, brought me up to his room and said: You are to work here. I do not want them to direct the publicity of this organisation". Them in my mind, at that time, meant Griffith and Darrell Figgis. It was clear to me that de Valera was trying to hold the balance evenly between the moderates in Griffith's camp and the extremists in Collins's camp. With that background, you can see how easy it was for me to believe that the I.R.B. could contemplate action and build up to a point where action would have to be accepted as a fait accompli. Cathal Brugha had broken with the I.R.B. He was Minister for Defence. If anything was intended, it might not be discussed at a formal meeting of the Volunteer Executive. Page 170. Darrell Figgie tells that story also and that he was the man concerned? He was like a jackdaw for collecting material. There must. have been another incident of this kind because Fintan Murphy - I believe it was Fintan Murphy - told me that he had gone to Mayo to pick up a consignment of guns that were landed from a German submarine. Now, as well as I recollect, the section of the map showing the place on the Mayo coast where the guns were landed was not Achill. That is my recollection, whereas Fintan Murphy said the place he went to was Achill. It must have been another incident. 12. Page 171. Re. large blonde lady about 30 years of age? Yes, she told me who she was. She aid she was the wife of a very important Sinn FŽin leader, who was a lawyer in Belfast. I know who she was. She was Mrs. Alexander Lynn. Alec Lynn was here in Dublin for years afterwards. I met him in the Four Courts myself. I never mentioned this to him. 1 never met her afterwards. She was not living with her husband at the time. I did not know it at the time, but I learned it afterwards. She had left Ireland at the time and had gone to the Continent. I had very grave doubts when she asked me curtain questions. She showed me the questionnaire. The fifth or sixth question was: What was the strength of the Volunteers? How far were they in a position to carry out works of sabotage in London, such as, railway termini, power plants?" An elaboration of that question was that a sum of £1000 would be paid for each attempt and £5000 for any successful attempt. So, reading this, I thought the Germans would never be so stupid as to make an offer of this kind because they must have known that we would have been very glad to blow up any-thing in London without any financial reward. That was what put the suspicion in my mind first. I must have been wrong in suspecting her, because Collins told me afterwards that she was all right and that, actually, he was using the invisible ink, of which she brought the formula. I don't know if he kept up the connection. There was no sequel as far as I was concerned, but, as far as Michael Collins was concerned, yes, to the extent I have stated. It was shortly after the German Plot arrests and that is why I was being so careful. There was a German Plot to this extent, that the Germans were trying to contact us to get us to carry out such works of sabotage and, as a matter of fact, 13. you have it much later on, that we were negotiating for the lnding of arms; therefore, while there was no actual German Plot in the sense that Lloyd George described, there were certainly contacts between the Germans and ourselves with a view to getting arms mainly. Briscoe was in Germany trying to buy arms and there was another man from Tipperary whose name I forget now. The complaint that our representative in Germany - Nancy Power and Chartres, and particularly John T. Ryan of America - made was that this man went around in a very remarkable Stetson hat (not Briscoe, but the other fellow) which would attract attention in Germany or anywhere. Briscoe and he were working together for a while, but, whether they continued to work together, I don't know. His name could be McGuinness. He was the type of man who would wear a Stetson hat. That was 1921. It was in the Truce period I was there. I was not out of the country before that. The last I heard of the blonde lady was that she and Mick had a rendezvous in Joe MacDonagh's house. I have said in the book that I got Mick Nunan to conduct her to the house Mick had selected for the meeting, which was Joe MacDonagh's house. I was forced to the conclusion that her visit there brought this raid about when, in actual fact, it might be coincidence. She was an Irishwoman. She knew German. She was Aler Lynn's wife. I know nothing else about her. You could find out through Alec. He is practising in Belfast. Regarding Mrs. Llewelyn Davis being a spy, the idea is absolutely ridiculous. There is not a shred of truth in the statement that Mrs. Llewelyn Davies was an agent or spy for the British. She came of a family which had a very tragic history. Her father was James O'Connor, an M.P. for Wicklow, who had been a Fenian and who, when Slim FŽin started, told Simon Maguire, the editor of the Wexford Free Press, which 14. was violently anti-Sinn FŽin, that he, Maguire, was making a big mistake in opposing the activities of the young men. James O'Connor, though he loyally supported the parliamentary, Party of which he was a member, held all his lifetime that the young men who wanted to fight were right. One day the family ate mussels which had been collected on the foreshore, I think, near Seapoint and, as a result, the whole family died, with the exception of the father and a little girl of six who had not eaten the mussels. The mother and five other children all died. So far as the spy charge is concerned, this lady was passionately devoted to Ireland. She had married a man named Llewelyn Davies, who was a prominent supporter of the Liberal Party in England. She had lectured in various parts of England on behalf of the Liberal Party and her husband became solicitor to the Post Office, being appointed thereto by Lloyd George, presumably as a token of gratitude. I first met this lady in Bushy Park Road in Mrs. Childers' house. Mrs. Childers had invited Desmond Fitzgerald, Frank Gallagher and myself to meet her. Subsequently, she called to my house at 10 Belgrave Road and said she had just dropped in on her way to see Bob Barton who, at the time, was staying in Mrs. Ceannt's house in Oakley Road. She told me then she was anxious to do what she could to assist Sinn Fin,. and thought of taking a house in Dublin. I would say that would have been in 1919, because Childers had visited me in 6 Harcourt Street, so we had not left Harcourt St. and he too had said he was coming over to throw in his lot with Sinn FŽin. They (the Childers) took a house in Wellington Road and were there some months before moving to Bushy Park Road, but still I think l9l9 had not ended by the time I speak of. Subsequently, Mrs. Davies invited myself and my wife to the Shelbourne Hotel to meet her husband. They were staying in Ireland for a few days. It maybe a few weeks had elapsed and it may be that his visit was Occasioned by the taking of a house, which is very likely 15. After Mrs. Davies had taken the house at. Raheny, my wife and I visited her there several times and, on one occasion, I remember Lily Brennan was also a visitor. Mrs. Davies showed me the heads of a pamphlet she was writing and asked my opinion about it.' I told her to go ahead, that it was very sound. Subsequently, she sent me the manuscript of this pamphlet. It was fairly voluminous for that period and ran to about thirty-two pages. There was no name, and I believe she told me she did not want her name on it. I consulted Mrs. Childers about the pamphlet and she suggested the name, I believe, of John Cobden Bright. If it was not that name, it was another combination of two Liberals' names. I am pretty certain about Bright. When a consignment of the printed pamphlets arrived in London Mrs. Davies, during a call to Art î Briain's office, saw it and flew into a rage. Art î Briain told me, she said: You ought to burn the whole thing. The only explanation for this was that she did not want anyone to know of her labours for an English political party and that the combination of these great Liberal names with the pamphlet was rated by her as a deliberate attempt to reveal that connection. Mrs. Davies told me on one occasion that, when de Valera escaped from Lincoln Jail, Michael Collins called to her horse - I think in London. As she was not well and was in bed she asked Mick to come up and see her, which he did, and he showed her the key which had opened the jail gates for de Valera. It was quite clear that she was very much affected by this incident and I came to the conclusion that though, as I say, she was passionately devoted to Ireland, the culminating point in determining her to come to live here was her infatuation for Collins; an infatuation which, however, he seemed to be quite unaware of, and more or less indifferent to. 16. At the end of December 1920, Mrs. Davies inyited my wife and myself to spend Christmas at her house, which we did, and thereafter I stayed there off and on several times. I had long since given up my house in Belgrave Road which was untenable owing to the frequent raids. I knew that Collins called to see Mrs. Davies from time to time. He never stayed overnight. She told me that she had the greatest difficulty in talking to him and she did not know what to talk to him about. She was constantly engaged in writing articles, many of which were used from time to time in the various publications we sent out from the Publicity Department. Also, she did a great deal of research in the newspapers. She was very shrewd in her judgment of the matter she selected. On the day Mrs. Davies was arrested; Joe O'Reilly came to my office and told me, so that I should not visit the house which, at the time, was occupied by the British forces. The statements that she got special treatment while in jail are probably true; but should this not be proof that she was not an agent? Obviously if she had been an agent, they would never draw attention to her by giving her special treatment. They would be shrewd enough for that. It is quite possible that, even if her husband had lost his post un England, he still would have sufficient influence to see that she did not endure the worst rigours of the prison. I am quite prepared to believe that, from the time she was released, Mrs. Davies was using every effort to bring the conflict in Ireland to an end. If she was in touch with Cope, the Under Secretary, as was stated, so too were such figures as Father O'Flanagan and Mrs. Larry Nugent, and this is not held to their discredit. It Was, in fact, in Mrs. Nugent's house in Upper Baggot St. that some of the meetings took place between Father O'Flanagan and Sir James O'Connor, 17. who was acting with Cope, and it may be the case that Cope was present at some of these meetings. Collins told me Mrs. Davies was arrested because the British had found letters which proved that she was in constant communication with him, Michael Collins, and, as he said, she left letters foolishly lying about. During the negotiations in London, I am sure that she was very useful in bringing people together and that Collins found her so. Gavan Duffy, who was in London at the time, when I asked him about the alternative (amended) oath which the delegation brought back to Dublin and who had drawn this up said: I would not be surprised to learn that it was Mrs. Llewelyn Davie. John Chartres, who was one of the secretaries to the Irish Delegation In London, may have had a hand in drawing up that oath. I was told by one of Nick Collins's lieutenants that Mrs. Davies had been, in 1923 or l924, writing a Life of Michael Collins, and that they, by personal threats, forced tier to desist in her intention of publishing this. The lie3ltenants of Michael Collins resented Mrs. Davies' attentions to Nick, as they would have done in the case of any other woman, particularly a married woman, and they feared that his personal reputation would suffer if such a book were published. Subsequent to the army mutiny of 1924 or 1925, the mutineers frequented her house in Bushy Park and many of them stayed there. This would seem to show that the incident a1jout Mrs. Llewelyn Davies writing a history of Michael Collins was of a later period and that up to that time she was in the same camp as the mutineers. I have no idea of what became of the manuscript of her book. Mrs. Llewelyn Davies had a great and attractive 18. personality and, like most positive characters, she aroused feelings of admiration and hostility, according to the viewpoint you took. With regard to Batt O'Connor's book "With Michael Collins through the Fight for Irish Independence, I know that she collaborated with him in the writing of this. I daresay that also she would have given Michael Collins a certain amount of material for speeches because, as I have said, she had a great instinct for research. She is referred to in "Fiche Bliadhan Ag F‡s" by Muiris î Suilleabhain, which book she translated into English. After the Mansion House Pact between Collins and de Valera, Collins went to London and, when he returned, he made a speech in Cork which virtually broke the Pact. There was a great deal of conjecture as to the pressure that must have been put on him in London, and it was later suggested that it was because the British had found some evidence which connected the I.R.B. with the assassination of Sir Henry Wilson. During the Civil War, when I returned from the south and set up the Department of Publicity for the Republicans, a document came to me from our Intelligence Department, which suggested that, two or three days before Wilson was assassinated, one or two of Nick Collins's men were in London and had been in association with Reggie Dunne and O'Sullivan, the two men who were subsequently executed for the assassination of Wilson. Some years later, when I in America, I mentioned this document to Liam Tobin who was visiting there, and I wrongly gave him the impression that I had seen it before the attack on the Four Courts. His comment was: Why did they not show me that at the time? We were all working together then. Later, I told Liam that I had made a mistake, that I had not seen this document until 19. some time during the Civil War. I got the impression that Liam Tobin himself was the man, or one of the men, who had been in London. My own idea is that the assassination of Wilson had been determred on very much earlier and that it might have happened before the Truce even, if they had been able to accomplish the deed, and that no countermanding order was ever given. Page 174. Re. name of Mr. Blank - I am not going to give that Page 176. In the matter of the £2000 which James O'Mara gave to me, there was no question whatsoever of a loan. He had asked me how much it would cost to get two men out to the Continent, as I have stated, and I calculated that the figure would be about £2000 for the men to go to the Continent and stay there for a period of an indefinite number of months. He came in and a left the money on the desk in front of me and said: There's your £2000; get your man out. In, I think, 1937 or 1938, James O'Mara came to America. He told me that the income tax people were making it practically impossible for him to carry on in Ireland and said he was thinking of living in Bermuda. I was well aware of these moods on the part of James, because a long time before he had gone to Majorca, and when he came back he told me he thought of living there and raising pigs. On this occasion, however (the later occasion in Washington) he asked me for a letter outlining the circumstances under which he had given me the £2000 in 1918, because he was going to claim an exemption of his income tax in respect of that sum. Pag 178. Who was John Christophe? Mario Esposito who was a son of Signor Esposito, the Director of the Academy of Music. He was not actively in the movement, but very sympathetic. Frank Gallagher vouched for 20. him. If you say to me that he visited the Continent at an earlier stage on behalf of Sinn FŽin or the I.R.B., I would say I would not be surprised. He certainly was very familiar with the movement. Page 239. Re. 1918 Election Manifesto. With regard to the election manifesto of 1918. What happened was that the National Executive appointed Father O'Flanagan, Harry Boland and myself to draw up a manifesto. Father O'Flanagan suggested, when the three of us met, that each of us should draw up a manifesto independently of the others. This was done. The three manifestoes were so different in character and content that Father O'Flanagan said: I will bring these down to Keohane in Keohane was Father O'Flanagan's mentor. Keohane suggested some slight changes in my manifesto and that was the one they got out. Page 258. Re. Quin. I deliberately changed the name to Quin because of his people who ares till in Wexford. I knew his family. I had a dozen letters from people saying I gave the name wrongly, that it was not Quin, but Quinlisk. I had known this man's family in Wexford and I had also seen him in a photograph of a dozen or more officers of the Irish Brigade which appeared in the Gaelic-American. His father and his uncle had both been in the R.I.C. and both had been cashiered out of the R.I.C. One of his uncles, Willie, I knew very well. He was later employed by the railway on the train running from Wexford to Rosslare. Page 262. I would say he had Broy before that. I imagine one of them was Brennan, who was afterwards murdered by the Black and Tans in the Castle. 21. Page 270. What do you know about John Chartres? Only what I learned when I first met him in Griffith's office. I imagine that would have been in 1918, just before Griffith was arrested for the German Plot. It might have been very much earlier. I got the impression at that time that he had known Griffith for years and had been friendly with him and had written articles for Griffith's paper. I think, too, that Chartre's wife, Anna Vivanti, had contributed some articles to Griffith's paper. I never met her. I think she was in Italy or Switzerland at that time. John Chartres might have been in the British Civil Service. He looked like an Englishman; you would take him to be an Englishman in appearance, accent and everything, and when, later on, he was appointed one of the secretaries of the delegation to London, de Valera asked me what did I know about him. (I daresay Griffith mentioned him to de Valera). He said: How do you know that he is not an English agent? I told him that he had been a friend of Griffith for a long time. De Valera said: Well, after all, you must concede that the British are no fools and they might have planted such a man. I gave him my opinion that there need be no fear at all on the score of John Chartres. (Of course, Nancy Power would be able to tell you about him). His intellectual capacities were considered of a high order and that was the reason he was sent for? Yes. Page 272. You were in London and being chased by a G-wan? I was very proud o1 that trick I played on him. What took you to London on that occasion? I had a mission of some kind. I imagine that was the time that I went over to arrange for the publication of the Bulletin in London in case it became impossible for us to get it out in Dublin. 22. Pages 277-9. Re. Captain Captain Thompson was the name he mentioned. It is not outside the bounds of possibility that he meant Sir Basil Thompson, the head of Scotland Yard, but as he referred all the time to Captain Thompson, it is hardly likely. This man, Hardy, made the statement that there was a price of £10,000 on Michael Collins's head and that there were £5,000 on the heads of Cathal Brugha and Robert Brennan. He mentioned three people that were badly wanted and that is in the account in the 'Independent' which I gave in the book. I was listening to this behind the screen and you can imagine the surprise that I got. Did you see any police posters re. a reward for the capture of Michael Collins? I don't think so. Collins told me, when he came back from London, when the Treaty Debates were on, that Churchill had said to him: We put a price of ten thousand pounds on your head! The Boers only offered a hundred pounds for mine And, he added, it shows you how the cost of living has gone up and Collins replied: You mean the cost of dying. Page 284. Re. a certain Bishop. That is obvious. It was Fogarty. Griffith got the shock of his life. When he came out, we walked down the streets towards the Pillar and I suppose we had gone fifty yards when Griffith said: What do you think of that? and I said: It is terrible. Page 285. Moylett's efforts for peace. A.G. tried for peace - was that on his own initiative? No, because it was generally agreed on. I would say it was a Cabinet move. I would say that was the impression that was left on my mind. That would be the end of 1920. 23. Iage 285 (contd.). Griffith was in jail. Was it true that he was put there purposely so that peace negotiations might be intiatdd? I daresay it would be true that, if they had him under their thumb, discussions for peace might be entered into, and de Valera was away and was not back until Christmas. There was no chance that Griffith was doing these moves on his own? I think it was that he was approached by various people, just as de Valera was being approached by various people when he came back. It would be an astonishing thing if de Valera had not been approached in America about making peace. Remember, de Valera was trying to find a formula. I don't know when it was, but it must have been about March of 1921 when that interview took place with Childers and de Valera in Mrs. O'Rahilly's house. Some clarification of that position? It has been said by some that, when de Valera came back from America, he threw cold water on actions of the I.R.A. and was anxious for peace? He never said the like at all in my hearing. All the time he said it should not be impossible to get a formula which we could accept and which the British could acbept, but he, for the first time; got the Cabinet to stand over the actions of the I.R.A., which they had never done before, after he came back - that is in the book - which would gq to show the opposite. 24. Re. Speech in D‡il by Liam de Roiste, January- February, 1921. I would say Liam de Roiste was a man who was anxious for peace at all times. Sweetman also said the people were tired of the fight and they could not carry on. I have mentioned that, too. The These people who were so anxious for peace were simply prolonging the war by letting the English think we were tired of the fight and so hold out for stiff terms. Page 287. Re. the murder of Dick McKee and others. They were dead when he was talking to me on my way home from Dollymount. It could be that it was the next day I was told that because I saw Henry O'Connor again next morning and, it must have been twelve noon. It could have been on the second occasion that he told me. Page 289. No doubt about Madge Clifford being in Abbey Street? No, no doubt. You could not mistake Madge for anybody else. Page 295. Re. secretary to Lloyd George. I can't remember that man's name. It was not Jones, but it was a Welsh name, I know. Page 297. Re. Irish agent for an American firm who received code messages every day in the course of his business. That was a man named Devine, who was an agent for Armour's Meat-packing Company. He was afterwards associated with Joe McGrath in the Spa Hotel, Lucan. 25. Page 304. British agent I will call him His name was Carl Ackermann. He is now a Professor of Journalism in Columbia University. I took Harry's word for it that he was a British agent. I warned Mick and de Valera about it. De Valera said: No, and Mick said Pagep 339. Re. Dan Smith. I won't give his name. Signed: Robt Brennan (Robert Brennan) Date: 31st Decr 1952 31st Dec'r. 1952. Witness: S Ni Chiosain (S. Ni Chiosain(s. Ni Chiosain) PERSONAL EXCPERIENCE By Robert Brennan. FOREWORD A friend who read the M.S. said in effect: The story is incomplete inasmuch as you were writing only for the initiated. It deals mainly with your own connection with the struggle for Irish independence, but there is little or nothing to show the why arid wherefore of that struggle. He advised me to write a foreword summarising, in a few lines, the history of the indepenence movement, and here they are. In the year 1169 the Normans, who in a single battle had conquered England a hundred years before, invaded Ireland. They easily secured a footing on portions of the East and South coasts, but they met with persistent resistance elsewhere and mor than four hundred years elapsed before they were able to occupy the whole island. Of course, they were hampered by the fact that when the Anglo-Norman conquerors had resided in 2Ireland for a few generations they suffered a sea change. Succumbing, no doubt, to the charm of the country and its they, in the words of the Viceroy, became ipsie Hiber- nicis - (more Irish than the Irish). They adopted the Gaelic language and the Irish way of life and many of them joined the Irish in the fight against the invader. However, Elizabeth and her successor James I found them- selves in possession of all Ireland, but not in undisputed Possossion for the Irish persisted in their resistance to the occupation. There wag almost a continucus state of rebellion during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Just before the dawn of the nineteenth century there occurred w1it was probably the most significant rising up to that time, because the actual fight wag headed not as heretofore by native chieftains or Anglo-Irish lords, but by loaders from amongst the people. This rebellion was, strange to say, deliberately fomented by the British authorities who hoped to crush it easily and thus pave the way for the destruction of the semi- independent Irish Parliament. This rebellion of 1798 was a bitter and bloody struggle, Owing to a miscarriage of plane the fighting was confined to only a few counties. The Irish had maw initial successes and they were defeated only when 3the British general. wag enabled to bring against them a force greater than that which overcame Napoleon at Waterloo. For a war of the period the carnage was terrible. fatalities amongst the Irish amounting to 150,000 and amongst the British 20,000. The rebellion crushed the Dublin Parliament. which was composed entirely of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy, was induced by bribery to vote itself out of existence and the Union with Eng1and was accomplished. But the insurrectiens continued. In 1803, Robert Emmet made his in-fated attempt to throw off the foreign yoke. The Tithe war of the eighteen-thirties and the Land war of the eighties were bat phases of the struggle for national indspen- dance. The Young Ireland rising of 1848, though it was a failure, inspired the Fenian attempt of 1867 and survivors of the latter movement were to be executed in the no-called Sinn Fein Rising of 1910 which wag crushed but which, in its aftermath. partially achieved the dream of centuries, a free Ireland. CHAPTEH I The main obieetive of the Irish Parliamentary party was to win by parliamentary action a measure of Home Rule. It was brilliantly led by Charles Stewart Parnell until his downfall in 1890 when the party split. It was reunited in 1900 under the leadership of John Redmond. The Irish language was the everyday language of the people down to the end of the 18th century when it was grdal1y displaced by English. In 1893 when the Gaelic League was funded. not more than one-sixth of the people spoke Irish. About the time I was leaving school, spectacular demon- stratione were being hold in honour of the rebellion of 1798, the occasion being the centenary of that event. Nowhere were the demonstrations more enthusiastic than in nut native county of Wexford whose people had played ouch a heroic part in that fight. With much playing of bands, waving of flags and marshalling of processions, the battlefields of '98 wore visited and there were floods of oratory. If any of us had thought that the purpose of all this noise was to encourage us to follow in the footsteps of the men of '98, we wore quickly undeceived. We were specifically warned not to do so. The members of the Irish Parliamentary Party and their adherents who were the principal speakers of these gatherings, were careful to point out that though their aims were the same as those of the men of '98, their methods wore different. In the future, we were to rely on the ballot instead of the bullet and we uere to return 5members who were. pledged. to sit, act and. vote with the Party who, on the floor of. the British House of Commons, would wrest Ireland's rights from her cruel oppressor. We an Joined in the celebrations and roared ourselves horse as a matter of course. Then we returned to our every- day lives and the nation continued to become each day less Irish and more Engligh, We were not all, of course, conscious of this, but looking back now, it is easy to see that the Period from the death of Parnell down to the end of the century was as dark an hour as there had been in the history of the nation. Ireland's ancient culture was forgotten, and debased English standards had taken its place. The word literature applied only to English literature and precious little of was great in that literature was read. The working- man's mental recreation was provided by the cheaper English Sunday newspapers. The theatre was given up to third - rate English strolling companies or fifth-rate English music-hall, troupes. The political destinies, of the nation were in the hands of the warring factions which once had been the great Irish Parliamentary Party, whose members had now become mere tools of the British Liberal Party. In the reaction which began to set in about this time, led by Arthur Griffith in The United Irishman and D.F. Moran in The Leader, we found it easy to ascribe all of Ireland's 6. ille, political., economic and oultural, to the Irish parliamentary Party. By directing the eyes of the nation to weetminster, and by teaching the people to rely entirely on British Parliament for the redress of their wrongs, they had destroyed the spirit of solf-reliance which should embue the nation.1 and they had Induced in the poople a supinencse which destroyed initiative. Moreover, they had ignored the heritage of the national. language and thus helped to anglioise the nation. In all this, we conveniently forgot, or we did not know of the greet achievements the Parliamcntary Party had to its oredit. When they started their once great movement, the Irish Parliamentary Party found the tenant - farmor little more than a serf. His occupation of the land depended entirely on the goodwill of the landlord He could be thrown out at any time. The rent ho paid could be raised every yeart and he had no redress or court of appeal, If he Improved his holding his only reward was an increased rental, The assess - ment and expenditure, not merely of the national revenue but even of the looal rates, was in the hands of the British Government The national revenue went, of course, to London wag disbursed when and how the British Government ordained. The local revenue for each county was controlled by a body 7called the Grand Sufl which was hand-picked by the British- appointed officials of Dublin Castle. The Irish Parliamentary Party had broken the stranglehold of the landlords. They had won security of tenure and fixed rentals for the people on the land. They had, indeed, begun great movement for the transfer of the Ownership of tithe from the landlord to the tenant-farmer. They had not won control of the national revenue but their ceaseless agitation had succeeded in having the management of the local rates transferred to the people. We ha forgotten, or had not learned all this, a fact helped to increase the bitterness of the quarrel when, a little later, Sinn Fein opened up its attack on the Irish ran Parliamentary Party. I had been reared in a household which had been, for a long time, in a state of poverty, My earliest recollectione were of a house in John's Gate Street, Wexford.1 which faced the chapel yard and at the rear of which was a larga yard stalls which were nearly always filled with cattle, sheep and pigs, These were all the property of my father who also owned a smart peny and trap in which the family used to drive out on Sundays. In after years I used to wonder how my father had amassed this property for I never met anyone who was less 8fitted for business and particularly for the keen hard-eyed business of the cattle and pig dealer. I have never known a more credulous man or one who could be more easily Imposed upon. Apparently ho lost everything, including the house and, for a while we all - father, mother, three girls and a boy - lived in one room over a bakery in Cornmarket. It was, however, a big room and I do not remember any discomfort. One day the bakery went on fire and the whole house was burned to the ground. My mother secured a house across from the bakery - a narrow house adjoining the Town Hall and to eneure that the wolf who was always at the door, would not come In and devour us, she took up her old profession of dress- asking. She bought a sewing machine which she was te pay for1 in inetalments of2/6d. per week. Whenever she did not have the instalment - which was often - she used to think up the most extraordinary stratagems to mollify the collector. These were always a subject for subsequent merriment for, in spite of our troubles, or maybe because of than, everything that happened was a source of fun. My mother was never despondent and, of course, her children had no thought of being so. Every evening she used to recount the happenings of the day with a wealth of comic detail0 mostly imaginary, 9and all the funnier because my father believed every word. We were very poor and we were very happy. When she was working, my mother sang and she had a great repertory. She knew nearly all of Moore's melodies, every one of Stephen Foster's negro songs, all the solos in The Bohemian Girl and Maritana and a hundred Irish ballads. Ilearned them all. The fortunes of the family improved almost imperceptibly, We moved to a bettor house and then to a better one again. A great event was my. winning an exhibition worth twenty pounds in the Intermediate examinations, On this capital my mother started a little shop, sweats, candles. matches, cigarettes, Vegetables, etc., and immediately our fortunes took a new. turn. The shop brought in a profit of one pound a week and there we were in the lap of luxury, almost. I got a job in the office of the County Surveyor at a salary of six shillings par week and as the hours were from ten to four I had plenty of time to spare. 1 attended in the evening the Technical schools - drawing, mathematics and chemietry - and later on I passed. the Matriculation examina- tion in the Royal University, I cycled the ninety miles to Dublin and back again to save the railway fare and I thought it great fun. I was a member of an amateur negro minstrel troupe which was invited to contribute to the half - hour concerts organised l0 in aid of the Wexford '98 Memorial. It wag explained to us that we need not give a minstrel show if we did not wish, that it might be black and white or, indeed, all white if we liked. One of our items must have been the most incongruous over staged. Dressed in long dark pants with white shirts crossed by green sashes, we marched on to the stage carrying tin pikes. Our chorus was an English translation of "The Marseillaise" At appropriate moments in the chorus we assumed the "charge" position with the pikes. We took it all very seriously and so apparently, did the audience, for we got a great deal of applause. My solo item was something that had the audience puzzled. A few weeks before I had picked up a cony of Danny Devereux's penny book of '98 ballads in which there were a few1 songs in the Irish language, one of them being Dr. Hyde's translation of "Who Pears to Speak of '98?" Aided by the elementary knowledge of the language which I had gained in the Christian Brothers' schools, I memorised the ballad and sang it at the concert. Though I did not realise it then, it was the first time in half a century that the people of Wexford had heard a song in Gaelic. I was the object of a good deal of banter from the lade in the troupe and they did not hesitate to imitate what they considered the barbarous sounds. 11 The incident was to have a profound effect on my future for because of it I was thrown into the role of a pioneer for the Irish Ireland movement in the district, A few days after the concert, Nicky Cosgrave, a man who had a considerable bakery business in the town, called me into his shop and told me that he and a few others Who had heard the song were anxious to learn the language. He asked me to meet a few people that night. Amongst these present I remember were Nicholas O'Hanlon Walsh M.F. Furtown and old Ben Hughes, who was the mayor of the town. Someone suggested that we should invite Dr. Deuglas Hyde to coins down and start a branch of the Gaelic League. I well remember the day we awaited the arrival of Dr. Hyde. An we eat on over-stuffed chairs in a genteel drawing room, we listened to old Ben Hughes droning on end- lessly about the reasons why he had sided with the young Irelanders against O'Connell away back in the eighteen-forties. We were all a little nervous about meeting the great Scholar Dublin and when Dr. Hyde entered we got a bit of a shock. Instead of the carefully groomed, bespectacled scholar we had expected, we saw a big, wide-shouldered man. carelessly dressed in homespuns and wearing a tweed cap. His broad face and heavy drooping moustache were not pre- possessing, but his eyes hold one. Deep grey and set wide apart. they were fun of kindliness and humour. In his 12 greetings he chewed that astonishingly youthful enthusiasm which remained with him all his life and behind his genial manner 1 observed something which I later identified as the Old-world courtesy which one happens on frequently in the remote places in Ireland. Answering Den Hughes. the Mayor, proudly stated that everything he wore was Irish, adding with a disarming smile, I see you were before me in that. Mr. Cougrave explained rather shamefacedly that we had not secured the support we expected for the first meeting. Dr. Hyde waved that circumstance aside. He would rather have an audience of twenty than five hundred, Later, after tea, I walked with him through the narrow streets of the old town. I told him that in our Irish lessons In school one of the texts had been his own Ceithre Sgealta (Four Stories) and hew we had enjoyed the exploits of Paudeen the Giant. With unfeigned delight he recalled some of the incidents in the story, laughing aloud and gesticulating like a boy. I was painfully aware that the critical eyes of the town were upon the stranger and myself, but he did not seem to notice it. If ever he observed the ridicule which attended his course in those days, ho over gave any indication of doing so, Six years earlier he had founded the Gaelic League in Dublin and day in and day out he had travelled to and fro on 13 him bicycle, unpaid and mostly unheeded, teaching the language the various classes. Already he had captured earnest groups in Dublin and though neither he nor anyone else realised it then, in those little claszes there were gathered the young men and women who, one day, thanks to the spirit Hyde infused in them, were to break at long last, after seven centuries, the stranglehold of the foreigner on the Irish nation. At our meeting that night we had fifty people. It seemed a forlorn start, as our motley gathering filled only a little space in the hail. Hyde did not seem to mind. He spoke to us as if we were the Irish people. We could save the soul of the nation, which was its language. He quoted' Thomas Davis to the affect that a nation's language would guard its frontiers more securely than fortress or river. He poured scorn voluble and scathing on the seoinins, the little Johns who tried to ape the English. He drew a contrast be1ween the heroic Gaelic Ireland of the past and the shoddy English-speaking Ireland of the present and mourned the fact that the thoroughbred racer felt no shame in being taken for a donkey. I could not help feeling in my youthful superiority that his movements wore gauche and some of his similes too 14. homely, but I saw that the little group was listening and hearing what he had to say And of the people who were there that night nearly one third remained with us to the end. When I got home I fished out his Love Songs of Connacht and discovered for myself that this modest and sincere zealot was a poet. The small hours of the morning found me still enthralled by the songs which, despised then by the intellectuals. he had garnered from the humble workers of the fields and the fishing grounds in the west. It was the songs of simple beauty that held him, such as - Dear God were I a fisher And back in BanedarAnd Nellie a fish who Would swim in the bay there I would privately set there My net there to catch her In Erin no maiden le able to match I thought often that you were more Like God's lamp shining to find me or the bright star of knowledge before And the char of knowledge behind me. Sixteen years later whet he had been president of his beloved Caelie League for twenty-two painstaking yearn he let the chair. The tide of politics which had always threatened the League had at last engulfed it The 15 enthusiasts who demanded that it should throw off its non- political mask had had their way. His attitude everybody admitted was logical, holding as he did that you can lose political freedom and regain it and lese it again, but the language once lost could never be rega1ied, As ho left the that night, behind his wistful smile was a heart very sea and well-night. broken. He did not realize that his work was already done, that the forces he had set loose were to tear dawn the mighty and seemingly everlasting pillars of an alien civill sationand to set up in itsplace an Ireland in line with its ancient Gaelic culture - that like "An Craoihhln", his Pen-name, the beautiful little slender branch which by ita slightest movement affects the whole forest, he had stirred the land from end to end He could not, in fact, then foresee that on a May day twenty-three years later all sectione of the nation, Gael and Saxon, Dane and Norman alike, were to unite to bestow on him the proud title at the first President of a new Ireland - becoming Gaelic and all but free. 16 CHAPTER II Sinn Fein opposed the policy of sending Irish representatives to the British Parliament and advocated the setting up of a National. Council in Dublin to direct a policy of passive resistance to the British Government. The Irish Republican Brotherhood (the I.R.B.) was a secret oath-bound organisation founded in 1865. It simed to set up an Irish Republic by physical force. We started our branch in Wexford and I was appointed teacher at five shillings per week, We began with an attendance of seventy or eighty, which dropped to twenty or so at the end of the season. A few months later another branch was started in Castlebridge and the following year one in Tagoat. I was teaching in all three until we became stronger and we were able to bring in a native speaker as teacher. In order to spread the light, half a dozen of us used to hire1 a pony and oar every Sunday and travel to various villages throughout the country. We used to told a meeting in the village we visited and tell the people of the new movement. After the meeting we would dance a four hand reel and sing a few Irish songs. It was not all work and we got a good deal of fun out of it. Besides, we were ourselves learning. We had begun reading 17 Arthur. Griffith's paper The United Irishman learning from him the principles of Irish nationality and Sinn Fein. When Griffith himself came down for our first Wexford Feis it was a great occasion. Re cycled the whole ninety miles from Dublin with a few friends, including Seumas O'Sullivan. Seumas Connolly, Tomas o hAodha, Seuman O'Connor and Tom Cuffs. When Griffith decided to establish his Sinn Vein move- ment we organized Wexford County in the cause and became the best organized county in Leinster outside Dublin. We even succeeded, after same heartbreaking defeats, in getting a few of our members elected to the Wexford Corporation. In spite of this, we were still a very small minority of the general public who seemed to think we were a little mad anyway. The adherents of the Irish Parliamentary Party, enraged at our pelioy of withdrawing the Trech Member from Westminster, decided we were the real enemies of the country. One of the local newspapers, an Irish Party organ, openly preached the doctrine that we should be driven from the town and county. All this time we had bean hearing rumours that the I.R.B., (Irish Republican Brotherhood) or Fenian organization, was Still in existence and we got a thrill when. it waw whispered that some of the heads of the Gaelic Athletic Association were in it and that they were fallowed about by detectives. 18 We made enquiries and, as a result, one memorable day eight or nine of us were sworn inte the organization by Sean T. O'Kelly. the locale being John Barker's house in South Main Street, Wexford. The amazing thing about Sean T. at this time was that he was a grown man, a responsible citizen when the rest of us seemed to be still in our boyhood. Though he was younger than many of us, and though ho was as full of fun as any, he know and talked on equal terms with bishops while the rest of us hardly dared to speak to a parish priest and certainly not on equal terms. In one respect he was rather like a priest himself. At a gathering you always found him in a corner hearing someone's confession, or go it seemed. Every- one confided in him. He traveled all Ireland enrolling young men into the secret organization whose members were pledged to take up arms to establish the Republic whenever the call came. Everywhere he went Sean T. made a courtesy call on the bishop of the diocese who, to say the least, would have been very much surprised had he known of his visitor's Fenian activities. There was an unwritten rule in the I.R.B. that women wore not be admitted into the "organization" - the name we always gate to the I.R.B. When I was about to get married 19 the pledge, of secrecy I had given disturbed me. I felt I had no right to withhold from the lady who was to be my life partner, the tact that I was pledged to the cause. I could tell her, however, only if she was a member alse. I put this up to the authorities and was so stubborn about it that One was sworn into the organization by the same Sean T. O'Kelly. I was told later that only one other woman had ever been admitted. I think it was MaudeGonne. I had seen Mends Conne only once at that time. It was Just after the turn of the century when she came out on the stags of St. Teresa's Hall in Dublin, an old women in her bare feet, in the part of Cathleen ni Houlihan. I was so carried away by the beauty of the play that I ventured backstage to ask if I might be permitted to thank her. She was surrounded by a group of admirers and 1 had not the nerve to interrupt. 1 had heard she was the most beautiful woman In Ireland - I thought she must be the most beautiful woman in the world. The effect of the play on the young men and women of the Ga1ic League and Sinn Pain was profound. Many of them had already dedicated their lives to Ireland. Yeats and Maude Gonne brought into the forefront of their hearts the simple grandeur of that sacrifice. To the question which Yeats asked thirty-six years later: 20 "Did that play of mine send out Certain men the English shot?" I can without hesitation answer yee. Our little Group in the I.R.D. managed to buy a German Mauser rifle and we even had moms target practice with it on a few occasions. This and the distribution in the dead of of handbills dissuading Irishmen from Joining the Brit