Northern Ireland's 'Secret Peacemaker' Entrusts his Records to NUI Galway
Monday, 8 June 2009
NUI Galway and University of Ulster to Collaborate on Research
NUI Galway today announced that the private papers of Brendan Duddy, former secret intermediary between the British Government and the Provisional Republican leadership, have been deposited in the University's library archives. The extensive collection of papers charts Brendan Duddy's involvement, from 1973 to 1993, in the intensive efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict in Northern Ireland.
President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "We are honoured to become the custodians of Brendan Duddy's valuable and unique collection. This archive will provide an extraordinary insight into the making of peace in Ireland, from the perspective of a man who played a pivotal role".
NUI Galway, in collaboration with INCORE - the University of Ulster s International Conflict Research Centre, will carry out extensive research on the papers. The documents, which currently fill 30 box files, will be assessed and catalogued. In due course, documents from the archive will be digitised and made available to historians and other researchers in a collaboration between NUI Galway and the Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN).
Brendan Duddy will speak at NUI Galway's Conference of Irish Studies on Saturday, 13 June, where several documents from the archive will be on display. He commented: "It is a pleasure and a privilege to entrust my papers to NUI Galway, where, I hope, they will be of some value to scholars of Irish history in the generations to come. I am particularly happy that the archive is to be shared with INCORE of the University of Ulster, based in my home town of Derry".
A business man from Derry with a desire for peace, Brendan Duddy spent more than 20 years at the centre of extraordinary events in Northern Ireland. Sometimes using his own house as the venue for secret meetings, he acted as the contact between representatives of the IRA s ruling army council and British intelligence officers from MI6 and MI5. He was an intermediary in the negotiations aimed at resolving the hunger-strikes of 1980 and 1981, and also played a central role in the efforts to negotiate the IRA ceasefire in 1994.
Brendan's role gradually became public in recent years, most significantly when the BBC aired the documentary The Secret Peacemaker in 2008.
Dr Niall O'Dochartaigh of the School of Political Science of Sociology at NUI Galway and author of From Civil Rights to Armalites, an influential academic study of the Troubles in Derry, will be deeply involved in research on the papers. Dr Ó Dochartaigh says: "This is an extraordinary collection, one of the most important sources we have for understanding the Irish peace process. The papers will be an essential resource for any researcher trying to understand how peace was made in Ireland and a focus for historical research for years to come".
Dr Brandon Hamber, Director of INCORE at the University of Ulster, said: "We are delighted to be collaborating with Brendan Duddy and NUI Galway on this important project. Rarely, is there an opportunity to get an inside view into how peace is really made. Brendan Duddy's archive does just that and is therefore not only of local but also international importance".
The James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway already houses papers belonging to Republican Ruairi Ó Brádaigh, which will complement the acquisition of the Brendan Duddy Archive. The archives service of the James Hardiman Library has over three hundred archival collections, dating from the fifteenth century to the present day. Major collections include manuscript collections of poetry and folklore gathered by Douglas Hyde, the literary papers of John McGahern and the music of Joe Burke.