Can You Keep a Secret? Family Life with a Secret Peacemaker
A public interview by Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh of NUI Galway’s School of Political Science and Sociology with family members of key intermediary Brendan Duddy about growing up in a house at the centre of some of the most secret and sensitive negotiations between the British Government and the Provisional Republican leadership over a period of two decades - family members include Shaun, Larry, and Patricia Duddy, and Eamonn Downey. The family home was the location of secret talks during the IRA ceasefire of 1975, the centre of communication between the two sides during the 1981 hunger strike and the venue for a controversial secret meeting in 1993 between an MI5 agent and Martin McGuinness and Gerry Kelly of Sinn Féin. The interview explores the boundaries between the private and the political, the personal experience of guarding secrets and the role of secrecy in conflict negotiations. It will include a question and answer session.
Brendan Duddy’s private papers, including his diaries of negotiation, are in the NUI Galway archives and paint a vivid picture of the tensions surrounding these contacts. The interview will be followed by a public launch and demonstration of the new online archive of Brendan Duddy’s private papers, with a reception afterwards.
The archive was deposited in NUI Galway in 2009 and contains over 700 documents. It includes coded diaries documenting contact and messages exchanged between the British government and the Provisional Republican leadership. The archive gives a rare insight into the dynamics and the role of secret negotiation in conflict resolution. Also included are several hours of filmed interviews between Brendan Duddy and Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh in which these key historical events are discussed. The archive has been used by local and international scholars of conflict studies, alongside some of NUI Galway’s other archival collections such as the papers of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Professor Kevin Boyle. This new digital archive makes a substantial amount of that material available online to researchers throughout the world.