Friday 17 November 2017

Provos used Hume to acquire veneer of respectability

OPPONENTS ON THE SAME TEAM: The then SDLP deputy leader and leader Seamus Mallon and John Hume
OPPONENTS ON THE SAME TEAM: The then SDLP deputy leader and leader Seamus Mallon and John Hume
Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

Republicans "used John Hume like you'd play a 3lb trout", said former First Minister Seamus Mallon in a BBC radio interview last week. "And he gave them the thing that they were looking for - that was, a respectable image in the United States." And so he did, for Hume consistently underestimated them.

Newly released Irish State papers record Hume in 1985 telling Sean Donlon of the Department of Foreign Affairs that he wanted talks with the IRA army council.

Donlon believed that the Provos had peaked and had run into "obvious military difficulties". Hume, he told Taoiseach Garrett FitzGerald, "seems to feel that he could significantly damage them in a confrontation".

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