LETTERS: Arms and a complex man

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The Independent Online
There is no point arguing with Brian Cathcart on questions of bias, but in terms of fact perhaps one can show how prejudice led to his misreading of Erskine Childers ("Thinker, Sailor, Soldier, Spy", Review, 19 May). Cathcart says he himself is a Home Ruler and that Childers "agreed to run guns for Sinn Fein". Sinn Fein was in fact a small organisation in 1914 and there is no evidence that Childers was in contact with them then. Nor did Sinn Fein run guns. Childers agreed to run guns for the Irish Volunteers and when those guns landed John Redmond had succeeded in gaining control of the volunteers. Redmond, of course, was the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party: a Home Ruler, in fact. The same John Redmond imported 6,000 Italian muskets from Belgium later that year, 1914.

Padraig Snodaigh

Sandymount, Dublin