Sunday 17 December 2017

'White nigger' denial poses a real dilemma

Ronan Fanning

The notion that an ambassador would lie to his own people simply beggars belief, says Ronan Fanning

THE denial by Major Thomas B McDowell, then the chief executive of the Irish Times, that he described Mr Douglas Gageby, the then editor, as "a renegade or white nigger", in a conversation with the then British Ambassador, Sir Andrew Gilchrist, in Dublin in October 1969 poses a dilemma for historians.

The description occurs in a "Secret & Personal" letter from Andrew Gilchrist to Kelvin White, then the head of the Irish desk at the Foreign Office: "McDowall [sic] is one of the five (Protestant) owners of the Irish Times, and he and his associates are increasingly concerned about the line the paper is taking under its present (Protestant, Belfast-born) Editor, Gageby, whom he described as a very fine journalist, an excellent man, but on Northern questions a renegade or white nigger."

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss