Arthur Griffith: More Zionist than Anti-Semite

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Features, Issue 3 (May/June 2016), Volume 24

IT IS UNFAIR TO HIS MEMORY TO MAKE HIM A SCAPEGOAT FOR IRISH ANTI-SEMITISM

by Colum Kenny

Above: James Joyce welcomed Arthur Griffith’s elevation as leader of the Irish Free State, here celebrated by the New York Times on the cover of its Mid-Week Pictorial, vol. XIV, no. 21, 19 January 1922.

Above: James Joyce welcomed Arthur Griffith’s elevation as leader of the Irish Free State, here celebrated by the New York Times on the cover of its Mid-Week Pictorial, vol. XIV, no. 21, 19 January 1922.

In December 1915, the editor of Nationality published on its front page the following rebuttal of anti-Semitism: ‘We do not know of one Nationalist Irishman … who holds the creed that an Irish Jew should be ineligible for any office he was competent to fill in an Irish government.’

The editor of Nationality was the future head of the first government of the Irish Free State, Arthur Griffith. If Griffith had not suddenly collapsed and died seven years later he might have led his people throughout the 1920s. He might have helped to create the kind of state for which he had worked hard for many isolated years as a journalist and political agitator.

Or would he have led Ireland towards that fascism that was to plague Europe? Lentin and McVeigh have fiercely condemned what they call Griffith’s ‘proto-Fascist’ ideas, writing that, ‘Griffith was indeed “a repugnant figure”, the enemy of other races, the working classes, and no friend to the Rights of Man….’ They think that, ‘The possibility that had Griffith become the head of state for any length of time, he might have put his anti-Semitic politics into effect is, of course, even more chilling.’1

These harsh words can be shown to be unfair, especially in respect to the suggestion that the printer and journalist Griffith, ‘father of Sinn Féin’ as he was known in his day, was an enemy of the working class and no friend to the Rights of Man. Many of his articles testify otherwise. And the charge of anti-Semitism deserves closer scrutiny, not least given his editorial declaration in Nationality quoted above. The charge relates to hostile opinions expressed on a relatively small number of occasions in Griffith’s papers during the earlier years of his editorial career. Critics condemning such opinions have in general failed to engage equally with paradoxically Zionist or supportive statements that he also published about Jews, or with his insistence that it was only certain economic activities of Jews that he opposed: ‘If Jews —as Jews— were boycotted, it would be outrageously unjust,’ he wrote in 1904, and ‘we do not object to the Jew seeking an honest livelihood in Ireland.’2 He was the editor rather than the author of most of what critics cite, and the vast bulk of his great output as editor and publisher does not refer at all to Jews. Griffith too published detailed criticism, by the radical socialist Frederick Ryan, of what had appeared in his own United Irishman about Jews.3 He came to affirm the equal rights of Jews in any new Irish state.

Griffith was arguably the leading journalist of his day.4 James Joyce, who may have based some dialogue of the xenophobic ‘citizen’ character in Ulysses partly on articles in Griffith’s papers, nevertheless ‘said that [Griffith’s] the United Irishman was the only paper in Dublin worth reading, and in fact, he used to read it every week.’5 Scholars have demonstrated the considerable cultural and political influence of Griffith’s journalism on Joyce’s oeuvre.6 The range of those who admired Griffith’s writing and editorial abilities included Chief Secretary Augustine Birrell, who is reported to have described him as ‘an extraordinarily clever journalist,’ and the editor of the Catholic Bulletin who thought him ‘brilliant’.7

Griffith certainly expressed or published some anti-Semitic views in his earlier years as editor. Such views were common at that time, a fact not always given much weight when critics point their accusatory fingers at Griffith. But then he was never very popular, due partly to his shy and thorny personality. Even recently one could take a guided tour of Glasnevin cemetery and not be brought to see his grave. This is despite the fact that his headstone is surmounted by a broken column that is visually striking.

Griffith’s reputation has been undoubtedly diminished by pieces he wrote or published referring to Jews in the context of both the Boer War and the Dreyfus Affair of 1899, and especially by an article in the United Irishman of 23 April 1904. The latter dealt with a boycott of Jews in Limerick. The writer —presumably Griffith himself— suggested that accusations of a persecution were not justified by ‘a few charges of trivial assaults’. He added,

The Jews of Great Britain and Ireland have united, as is their wont, to crush the Christian who dares to block their path or to point them out for what they are — nine tenths of them— usurers and parasites of industry. In this category we do not include the Zionist minority of the Jews, who include those honest and patriotic Jews who desire the reestablishment of the Hebrew nation in Palestine —the last thing on earth the majority desire. Attack a Jew —other than a Zionist Jew—and all Jewry comes to his assistance…. Thus, when three years ago, the Recorder of Dublin, Sir Frederick Falkiner, denounced in strong terms the extortion which the Jews of Dublin practiced on the poor, Jewry combined and was powerful enough to rig the whole daily Press against him, and to influence official quarters to force the Recorder to withdraw.

Griffith’s views on the Limerick boycott (sometimes called a ‘pogrom’), along with earlier references to Jews in his papers, have been described by Roy Foster as anti-Semitic ‘ravings’.8 In this respect Foster echoed without attribution criticism of Griffith that the latter himself published in the United Irishman when Frederick Ryan wrote to condemn him at length for bigotry, for ‘filling its columns with “anti-Semitic” ravings’.9

Most of the hostile references to Jews in the United Irishman were in a column by ‘The Foreign Secretary’, probably Frank Hugh O’Donnell —an associate of Mark Ryan ‘upon whom the United Irishman became financially dependant’.10 Ironically, O’Donnell and Griffith parted company in 1900 shortly after ‘decency and honour’ constrained Griffith to suppress an article in which O’Donnell compared the nationalist leader and newspaper owner William O’Brien with the Jewish traitor Judas.11

Griffith resented rich British Jews, especially press barons, who supported England in South Africa and opposed the French government during the Dreyfus affair. He was certainly not alone in publishing hostile material. Thus, D.P. Moran, the influential editor of The Leader, ‘advised his readers how they might avoid the ascendency of the Jews in the financial affairs of Ireland – a frequent theme in some nationalist and Labourite newspapers’. The Cork Trade and Labour Journal of 1908 had ‘a peculiar antisemitic twist’. Maye and Yeates refer to prejudice found in James Larkin’s Irish Worker too. It was not a new phenomenon. Three decades earlier, for example, the Citizen and Irish Artisan had lamented cold-hearted speculation by ‘mercenary London Jews’ on British companies that employed workers in Ireland.12

There were general expressions of anti-Semitism around Dublin. ‘In some shops in this enlightened capital of Ireland,’ it was said in 1908, ‘we see cards bearing the words: “No connection with Jews.”’13 Advertisers were free to exploit anti-Semitism, as evidenced for example by a notice from the Irish Tweed House in the 1908 Sinn Féin Yearbook that went beyond common boasting of pure ‘Irish’ credentials to state explicitly that ‘No Jews’ were employed there.14 Small ads in national newspapers, including in the Freeman’s Journal and the Irish Times, might similarly trumpet ‘no Jews’.15 The Irish Times even published as fillers some jokes based on Jewish stereotypes.16 A photographic service promised readers of the Kilkenny People ‘no Jew trash or rubbish’.17

Yet, as well as publishing in his own United Irishman criticism of what appeared in it referring to Jews, Griffith also expressed strong support for ‘the reestablishment of the Hebrew nation in Palestine’. And he proclaimed that, ‘… for the small minority —the Zionist Jews— the patriotic ones who desire to reconstruct the Jewish nation, and who feel bitterly the humiliation of their race through the sordid pursuit of gold by the majority— we have the same esteem we have for all patriotic and lofty minded men.’ 18 These are not the sentiments of an outright anti-Semite. He respected Jews who converted to nationalism. This partly explains why he readily worked with Jews in Ireland who supported his own Sinn Féin cause.

Griffith was conflicted at that stage. Laffan notes that, ‘Although he supported Zionism, he had also attacked Jewish ‘cosmopolitans’ such as the ‘Jew- Jingo brigands’ of Johannesburg.’19 Cheyette thinks that Griffith’s attitude merely ‘corresponds to the historical split in perception of the Jews as at once a noble, ancient people, but unacceptable as individuals in modern society’.20 It is true that Griffith, as Larkin also did, distinguished between Jewish beliefs and the commercial activities of Jews, claiming that, ‘Certainly no one in Ireland has ever displayed the slightest hostility to the Jew on account of his religious beliefs.’ However, in Griffith’s case he did not find it ‘unacceptable’ (per Cheyette) to work with individual Jews to create a modern Irish society.21

When Griffith’s United Irishman collapsed (due to a libel action by a Roman Catholic priest), Griffith launched a new paper entitled Sinn Féin. There appear to have been in Sinn Féin down the years very few articles referring to Jews. One was by William Bulfin in 1906, in a long series later published as a best-selling book that was reprinted many times. On his ‘Rambles through Erinn’ as both the series and book were entitled, Bulfin encountered a Jewish pedlar and sketched him verbally in a racially demeaning manner. It is a descriptive essay among many, but it has harmed Bulfin’s reputation.22

A vicious depiction of ‘the moneylender’ Jew, replete with a cartoon of a moneylender as a big-nosed spider trapping people in a web, had earlier appeared that same year in the Lepracaun —a popular satirical monthy in which leading Dublin companies advertised.23 Its accompanying text identified the ‘principal characteristic’ of this spider as the ‘chosen boko’ (slang for nose) that can smell cash at great distances. The author of the text referred to Jewish names being ‘almost completely Hibernianised into McSheeney, of Ballystibem or O’Barron, of Mosestown’. This ‘animal’, wrote the author, ‘is daily increasing in numbers and energy with such rapidity that if the indigenous inhabitants of this country have the slightest regard for their future they will place in the firefront of their educational programme neither Irish not English, but that which converts everything into gold… the melodious, ear-splitting, euphonious, blood-curdling Yiddish.’24 Both the Lepracaun and William Bulfin used the slang name ‘sheeny’ for Jews in Ireland, which is also found in Joyce’s Ulysses although it was perhaps never as common in Dublin as the distinctive and less offensive term ‘Jewman’ (also found in Ulysses).

James Larkin’s reputation is less sullied than Griffith’s by accusations of anti-Semitism, despite a cartoon in his Irish Worker of 26 August 1911 that is replete with stereotypical physical characterists as well as mock-immigrant pronunciation and the common derogatory nickname ‘ikey’. Its theme of ‘foreigners masquering under Irish names’ and its physical caricature correspond closely to the content of Bulfin’s passage. Larkin also gratuitously published verses about a Jewess said to have sought the price of a ticket back when her son fell to his death in a theatre, and Larkin mystifyingly did this twice.25

Nationalists thought that Irish banks, controlled by protestant Unionists, were readier to assist immigrant Jewish businessmen than to assist Irish Catholics. People also resented what they saw as the aggressive lending tactics of some door-to-door Jewish money-lenders. Yet paradoxically, neither Bulfin’s essay nor Jim Larkin’s cartoon and verses seem as bitter about Jews as a book by Joe Edelstein, who was himself a Dublin Jew and who in 1908 published a novel critical of Jewish moneylenders in Ireland. This bore a cover illustration of a Jewish moneylender that any anti-Semite propagandist might envy. Edelstein wrote that ‘the true Jewish heart’s emotions, the true Jewish feelings arise in Abram’s breast, and he feels a terrible hatred for those of his people who adopt this means of obtaining a living.’ The author at the outset identifies his object as ‘being rather to expose the causes of usury for eradication that the effects for vituperation.’ He notes that the wife of his immigrant Russian protagonist ‘had distinctively Jewish features’.26

Moneylending and credit associated with immigrant Jewish peddlers or dealers was matters of public comment at the time, as was the perceived ease with which banks assisted foreign business ventures while denying credit to the native Irish on similar terms. In May 1907 the Lepracaun had published another anti-Semitic cartoon that showed the sea parting and drowning Irish manufacturers while stereotypical Jews entered an industrial promised land in Ireland. The fact that the Jewish community was then firmly unionist and that established members were not averse to joining Protestants in the Masonic Order did nothing to increase their popularity with Catholics or nationalists.27

For his part Griffith, far from being obsessed with Jews as anti-Semites often are, only rarely mentioned them in the various newspapers or periodicals that he edited during two decades. Laffan has described Griffith’s offensive attitudes as the ‘habits or prejudices of his youth’ and added that, ‘with occasional lapses, he outgrew them’. O’Riordan has addressed the broader Sinn Féin context.28 Griffith actually supported the establishment of a Zionist homeland from no later than 1904, believing a Jew to be ‘always an alien’29 elsewhere. He appears to have significantly modified or abandoned any anti-Semitic views after that. He made Jewish friends such as Jacob Elyan and Eddie Lipman.30

Would Michael Noyk, future life councillor and honorary solicitor of the Dublin Hebrew Congregation, have supported a Jew-hater and drank with him often in The Bailey? Noyk, Irish Republican son of an immigrant, first met Griffith about 1910 and both Noyk and Bethel Solomons that year subscribed to a fund to build him a house. Noyk considered him a ‘very close friend’, and they frequently went walking together: ‘I spent many evenings in his home where I got a very intimate knowledge of his character’. He visited him in Reading Jail in 1916 and long acted as his solicitor. Their children played together, and Griffith’s daughter was a flower girl at Noyk’s wedding.31

Bethel Solomons’s sister, the painter Estella, married James Starkey, founder and long-time editor of the admirable Dublin Magazine who was to publish Samuel Beckett and other radical Irish authors. Starkey, known as Seumas O’Sullivan, greatly admired Griffith. Would O’Sullivan, deeply devoted to Estella Solomons, have written a posthumous essay honoring Griffith if the latter was notably anti-Semitic?32 The Jewish historian Louis Hyman thought that Griffith’s earlier anti-Semitism ‘stemmed from inherent xenophobia rather than from principle.’33

Some views that Griffith published are indeed ‘repugnant’, but his ideology was democratic rather than fascist. Although at times very hostile to James Larkin, Griffith had what both Noyk and Yeates have indicated was a warm regard for Larkin’s principal lieutenant James Connolly and in 1913 praised the latter for suggesting a conciliation board to resolve industrial disputes.34 Would Connolly, Griffith’s acquaintance of earlier years whose election was canvassed by London Jews in 190235 and who is said to have been best-man at Griffith’s wedding in 1910,36 have advertised the Irish Worker in Griffith’s Éire Ireland during the year following the great 1913 lock-out had Connolly believed that his old acquaintance was anti-worker or anti-Semitic? In 1922 H.E. Kenny claimed that Pearse and Connolly had told him ‘several times’ that they considered Griffith ‘the truest of friends’.37 And Bulfin’s views on Jews, published in Sinn Féin, did not deter one James Connolly from citing Bulfin favourably in another respect when Connolly soon afterwards penned a book review for Sinn Féin.38 Nor was Bulfin’s passage excised when his series became a best-selling book published by Gill & Son and often reprinted. But then Duffy & Co., another well-known firm of Catholic publishers had taken space in a newspaper especially to let it be known that, contrary to rumour, ‘no Jew has any financial interest direct or indirect, in the firm, or is in any way connected with it.’39

James Connolly was editor of the monthly journal of the Irish Socialist Federation. During a tailors’ dispute this journal is found lamenting the fact that ‘…the patriotic Irish capitalists imported wholesale scab Jews to break the strike of Irish workers.’40 Is there not something about the term ‘scab Jews’ that sounds more venomous than simple ‘scab foreigners’?

Occasional anti-Semitisim in Griffith’s papers up to 1906 did not stop Joyce, creator of the Hungarian-Irish rambling Jew Leopold Bloom, from endorsing Griffith’s journalism as a whole that year:

In my opinion Griffith’s speech at the meeting in the National Council justifies the existence of his paper [Sinn Féin]. He, probably, has to lease out his columns to scribblers like [Oliver St John] Gogarty and [Padraic] Colum, and virgin martyrs like his sub-editor. But, as far as my knowledge of Irish affairs goes, he was the first person in Ireland to revive the separatists idea on modern lines nine years ago.… A great deal of his programme perhaps is absurd but at least it tries to inaugurate some commercial life for Ireland and to tell you the truth once or twice [punct. sic] in Trieste I felt myself humiliated when I heard the little Galatti girl sneering at my impoverished country. […] what I object to most of all in his paper is that it is educating the people of Ireland on the old pap of racial hatred whereas anyone can see that if the Irish question exists, it exists for the Irish proletariat chiefly.’41

This mention of ‘racial hatred’ is sometimes assumed to refer specifically to anti-Semitism but, from its context, it was clearly aimed at least as much at comments about English people that had been made in a recent article by Joyce’s old acquaintance Gogarty (‘Buck Mulligan’ of Ulysses). These appeared in the first part of a series in Sinn Féin between August and December 1906, under the telling title ‘Ugly England.’ The piece included anti-Semitic references, suggesting that pure English blood had been contaminated by that of the Jews.42

In 1901 Griffith, through his United Irishman, had opposed the censorship of a controversial pamphlet written by James Joyce. Later in Italy Joyce regularly requested Griffith’s papers, and had a letter published in Sinn Féin when Irish book publishers proved unwilling to print a reference to Edward VII’s adulteries in his Dubliners. Joyce welcomed Griffith’s election in 1922 as the first president of the Dáil of the Irish Free State.43 Had Joyce considerd Griffith an anti-Semite would he have wanted him as head of the emeging state? More mischievously Joyce had a character in Ulysses claim that Bloom ‘gave the ideas for Sinn Fein to Griffith to put in his paper’. Was this the origin of rumours later reported that Griffith had ‘a Jewish adviser-ghostwriter’?44

So how are we to understand Griffith’s development? It is worth noting that he wrote sympathetically about the plight of colonized black Africans. However, he also glossed over John Mitchell’s reactionary views on slavery, arguing that one might support Irish independence without adopting modern theories of humanitarianism and universalism. Griffith’s attitude may be understood by reference to his desire to see Ireland take its place equally alongside other European states, and by doing so be entitled implicitly to share their assumption of racial supremacy as a sign of parity.45 His antagonism towards international socialism and Larkin’s strikes can be explained likewise, for he suspected British trades unions of weakening national sentiment and thus reinforcing the status quo in terms of imperial sovereignty over Ireland. His references to international Jewish issues were perhaps similarly strategic, tilting strongly at English attitudes on the Dreyfus scandal but years later publishing critical accounts of pogroms to shame England’s ally Russia during World War I. One of the few writers who has attempted to tease out some of Griffith’s complexity in this context, while by no means endorsing his views, is Manus O’Riordan of the ITGWU.46

Like many Dubliners Griffith was not adverse to hyperbole. The language used in his papers was frequently colourful and harsh, whether directed at ‘illiterate publicans,’ ‘English Catholics’ or Irish ‘shoneens’. It included sweeping statements that tarred most Jews with a tendency towards economic practices that Griffith condemned (moneylending, deferred-payments, sweat-shops and trading in cheap foreign imports) and in this context used words such as ‘evil’ and ‘swarm’ that were provocative.47 Yet the articles on Jews, perhaps two dozen out of many thousands of pieces that he wrote or published across a range of subjects, have seen some critics launch conclusions that appear to me potentially misleading.

In a stern, evidence-based article about Irish academic writing on Jews, published in Potsdam in 2012, Natalie Wynn has referred to what she describes as ‘the casual anti-Semitism endemic to Irish political life’. She suggests that there has been a failure to consider the true impact and extent of that prejudice. In particular she feels that a positive relationship between some Jews and Irish nationalists has been exaggerated if not romanticized, and she implies that the Irish in general pride themselves unduly on their society’s attitude towards Jews.48

Arthur Griffith’s friendship with Jews does not excuse anti-Semitic views that he published, for even anti-Semites may have Jewish acquaintances. The development of his thinking is more telling, and ought to be viewed objectively. Like the essayists in the collection edited by Cheyette on the representation of Jews in American, English and Irish literature, the present author here ‘aim[s] neither to excuse not accuse’, not least because as Cheyette writes, ‘such censoriousness simply continues the cycle of hatred that all thinking people, at least, should want to end.’49

If there was racism in Ireland before the foundation of an Irish Free State, and no doubt there was, it was not peculiar to Griffith and any depiction of it as marginal may reinforce a complacent nationalist self-image. Such views as Griffith occasionally expressed or published were shared by many people, even if some writers eschewed them.

What was notable or unusual in Griffith’s case was that he himself appears to have ceased to articulate such prejudice long before his election to Dáil Éireann, and also that he explicitly supported Jews who sought to create a Zionist state. It is unfair to his memory to make him a scapegoat for Irish anti-Semitism and it is fanciful to posit him as some kind of incipient Irish fascist monster. While Joyce walked his wandering Jew Bloom into Dublin’s history, Griffith appears to have have exorcised an earlier anti-Semitism from his own narrative of the world.

Griffith, as we have seen, certainly published and wrote articles about Jews that do not fit into the disparaging narrative about him but that appear to have been overlooked by some critics. Further examples include one in which he acknowledged the role of the ‘Jewish enlightenment’ in spreading medical knowledge throughout the world, albeit ‘along lines always specially influenced by commercial interests’.50 While the ugly piece that he published by Gogarty is repeatedly quoted, a very different kind of article appeared in Sinn Féin on 16 March 1912, written by ‘A de B’. This was presumably Aodh de Blacam, then living in London and a future speechwriter for Minister Noel Browne TD. The author, himself said to have worked for an exploitative Jewish employer and not to have been above anti-Semitic jibes,51 on this occasion stated that, ‘The Jews have given us the finest nationalist literature in the world: they have also set the finest nationalist example.’ Referring to the recently published Zionist work in Palestine (edited by Israel Cohen) and declaring that ‘Israel represents the triumph of Sinn Féin’, de Blacam wrote,

One lays down the book with a new respect for that much maligned race and recalls with satisfaction the words of the Chief Rabbi, who, when in Dublin, expressed his pleasure at visiting Ireland, ‘the only land in which his race has not been persecuted’.

Herman Adler, chief rabbi of the British Empire, had been in 1892 echoing words attributed to Daniel O’Connell, words that James Joyce’s unionist and anti-Semitic character ‘Mr Deasy’ later mocked in Ulysses. Taking pride in such words was scarcely the sign of an anti-Semite, even if it involved ignoring events in Limerick in 1904.52 Indeed, in Griffith’s short-lived Scissors and Paste one finds in 1915 three reports drawing attention in sympathetic detail to pogroms in eastern Europe and Russia.53

But more significant still was the piece that appeared in December 1915 on the front page of Griffith’s latest periodical, Nationality. This title was said to have a circulation second only to the daily Independent, and thus may have had far more readers than did his United Irishman in which the much decried anti-Semitic sentiments had been printed years before.54 Under the heading ‘Irishmen, Jews and “imperial patriots”,’ Griffith now took issue with a Kingstown councillor who apparently had criticised the appointment of an English Jew, Matthew Nathan, as the government’s under-secretary for Ireland. His response gives us a more concrete indication of what his own attitude in government would have been than does the speculation of some of his later critics. Griffith declared,

We do not know of one Nationalist Irishman who objects to Sir Matthew Nathan because of the religion he professes, or who holds the creed that an Irish Jew should be ineligible for any office he was competent to fill in an Irish government.55

A democrat throughout life, Griffith cannot be blamed for anti-Semitic material in Irish leftist or Catholic publications – and he was long dead by the time that some Irish republicans and others openly sympathized with Nazi Germany, —or when Fianna Fáil’s Éamon de Valera (himself accused by John Devoy of being a ‘half-breed Jew’56), appointed Charles Bewley, a Nazi sympathizer, ambassador to Berlin or signed a book of condolences upon Hitler’s death, —or when the father of the present Fine Gael Minister for Foreign Affairs rose in Dáil Éireann in 1943 to praise Germany in hateful words for which other deputies failed to rebuke him.

Oliver Flanagan TD said on that day during World War II that, ‘There is one thing that Germany did, and that was to rout the Jews out of their country. Until we rout the Jews out of this country it does not matter a hair’s breadth what orders you make. Where the bees are there is the honey, and where the Jews are there is the money.’57 Such a blatant anti-Semitic utterance was rarely if ever aired in the Irish parliament, but Flanagan later joined Fine Gael and continued to be elected a deputy until the 1980s.

How ironic then that in 2015 it fell to Flanagan’s son to respond when Israel’s foreign affairs minister, Avigdor Lieberman, complained about ‘difficulties’ that Israel feels it faces with public opinion in Ireland. Minister for Foreign Affairs Charles Flanagan TD, then on a visit to the Middle East, laying a wreath in the Jewish Holocaust Museum, said in turn, ‘I believe that it is essential that we redouble our efforts throughout the world to resist and combat anti-Semitism in all forms.’58

Early in 1922 a leading US newspaper published an image of Arthur Griffith looking robust and pleased. The ‘Head of the Irish Free State’, as the American editor described him, enjoyed pride of place on the front cover of an illustrated weekly published by the New York Times.59 Griffith and Ireland were on the verge of a new era.

This essay is a plea for Griffith to be understood fairly within the context of his time, the full range of his journalism and the development of his own political consciousness. He laboured long for the independence of his people only to die broken-hearted and frustrated during a bitter civil war. A detailed and contextualized analysis of his entire journalistic and editorial output remains overdue

Dr Colum Kenny is Emeritus Professor of Communications at Dublin City University.

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