Eddie McGrady was opposed to John Hume-Gerry Adams talks

The dialogue between Gerry Adams and John Hume did not go down well with SDLP MP Eddie McGrady
By Éamon Phoenix

THE late South Down MP Eddie McGrady was opposed to the Hume-Adams talks and believed the Republican Movement could not be persuaded to give up violence.

The thoughts of the SDLP veteran, who died in 2013, have surfaced in the confidential files released today by Proni.

In a memo to the then Secretary of State Tom King on September 14, 1988, E C Hallett of the Northern Ireland Office's Political Affairs Division reported on a recent meeting with Mr McGrady in Downpatrick.

It notes how the MP was "clearly relieved" that the SDLP/Sinn Féin talks had stalled.

"He made it clear that he never had any faith in this exercise and he refused to be part of the SDLP team for the talks," the papers state.

"In his view, there had never been any prospect of persuading Sinn Féin to abandon the armed struggle. Sinn Féin’s lack of sincerity had been demonstrated by the fact that violence had escalated while the talks were going on."

Mr McGardy was also dismissive of a potential split in the Republican Movement between the political and military wings.

The official informed the secretary of state that in contrast his party colleague Seamus Mallon, Mr McGrady believed that the only conceivable way in which progress could be made in the immediate future was through talks between the the north's political parties about devolution.

"He is under no illusions (unlike some of his colleagues) that the unionists can be persuaded to talk to Dublin," the official notes.

"McGrady feels that it is for the SDLP to take the initiative and is doing his best to persuade his executive of this."


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