Tuesday 16 January 2018

John-Paul McCarthy: A crusader – in the eyes of his brother

David Thornley was not 'the inventor of the peace process' as portrayed in a new book.

John-Paul McCarthy

THE new Ashfield Press portrait of Labour Party TD David Thornley (1935-78) fails to convince that its protagonist was the effective "inventor of the peace process".

The Good Friday Agreement, after all, signalled the formal defeat of Thornley's brand of Surrey-infused nationalism. The British will not be "persuaders for unity". The "national territory" equation is gone, and the Republic even has the right to void a plebiscite in Northern Ireland that throws up a majority for unification.

This cannot have been what Thornley intended when he went to Sean MacStiofain's hospital bed in 1972 or when accepting the "word of honour" of some IRA volunteer who assured him his people had nothing to do with bombing O'Connell Street in 1973.

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