Has Sean Donlon No Shame?

Posted By: August 23, 2005

Letters to the Editor
Irish Times
Monday, August 22, 2005

Dear Madam,

Has Sean Donlon no shame?

The former Irish Ambassador to Washington from 1978 to 1981 should
be about the last person to pontificate on the Irish peace process.
(“Former ambassador spells out what is expected of Provisionals”,
August 22 – See below). Shame alone should keep him silent.

As Ambassador to Washington he did more than any British Ambassador
ever did to cover up England’s dirty little war in Northern
Ireland. Donlon used his position to play down Britain’s
responsibility for anti-Catholic discrimination, human rights
violations and collusion with Unionist paramilitaries.

He tried to block the campaign of the Irish National Caucus to free
the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four.

Of course, Donlon would now claim that he only implemented Irish
Government policy — that he “was following orders”, as if that
changes anything.

Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. Box 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. 20003-0849



Former Ambassador Spells Out What Is Expected Of

Arthur Quinlan, in Lisdoonvarna

Merriman Summer School: The former Irish ambassador to
Washington and chancellor of the University of Limerick,
Seán Donlon, officially opening the Merriman Summer School
in Lisdoonvarna at the weekend, sent out a “reminder” to
the Provisional IRA of what was expected of it.

“If the Provisionals are, as their statement of last month
says, committed to political and democratic programmes, it
is incumbent on them to accept the Constitution fully and
unconditionally,” he said.

“They should disband the Provisional IRA. They should
recognise the right of the people of Northern Ireland to
choose its status and they should join with the main
political parties here in seeking to win the consent of the
majority in Northern Ireland to change its status.

“All of us accept that Provisional Sinn Féin have an
electoral mandate in this jurisdiction. But it is not an
unconditional mandate. It is a mandate derived from the
Constitution, and no political party or individual has any
right to be an a la carte constitutionalist”.

In the opening lecture, Alan Titley, head of the Irish
Department at St Patrick’s College, Dublin City University,
said that Merriman was what could be described as “just
bawdy, or Rabelaisian, or ribald, or racy, or roguish”. He
added: “He is not smutty, sexy, not dirty nor sly, and
definitely not erotic, and not impure, indecent, immodest
or salacious.”

Bawdiness was one of the traits of the “courts of poetry”
and bawdiness was “more prevalent in the literature of
Clare, Limerick and north Tipperary than in any other

The greatest bawdy poet contemporary of Merriman was
Aindrias Mac Craith, who lived only a few miles away in
Limerick: “It is entirely possible that Cuirt an Mhean
Oíche (The Midnight Court) is one big elaborate and jokey
commentary on the courts of poetry themselves.”

Merriman, Mr Titley said, was a £5 or £10 a year
schoolteacher in Feakle, Co Clare, at the end of the 18th
century as well as being a small farmer and a poet.

“This is not an occupation conducive to sow your wild oats
on every side. When he moved into Limerick it was probably
a more respectable city than described by Frank McCourt”.

Merriman, he added, was widely read and was familiar with
French literature and, in particular, the writings of

Last night’s lecture was by Dr Una Nic Éinrí, lecturer in
Irish at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

Tonight, the lecture on “Merriman’s Teaching Milieu and the
Irish Teaching Tradition” will be given by John Coolahan,
emeritus professor of education at NUI Maynooth.

© The Irish Times