Presented as part of TIHR70 festival.
Brendan Duddy Jnr.
Friday 20th October 2017
10th June 1936 – 12th May 2017
Scaffolding by Seamus Heaney
Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
Make sure that planks won't slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
And yet all this comes down when the job's done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
So if, my dear, there sometimes seems to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me
Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.
Brendan introduced to Tavistock
“I was in my fish and chip in William Street when Paddy (Bogside) Doherty came in
and ordered me to Dublin. Paddy’s force of personality is so great that I said “Okay, what
“The Irish Foundation for Human Development is having its first Irish Convention. I
think you would benefit from it if you came.” Typically Paddy. The conference totally
changed my life forever. Professor Ivor Brown, Paddy Doherty and Garret O’ Connor, along
with Paddy Wally and a team of Americans were the staff, and after a week of 9 am to 9
pm sitting in a room doing nothing (as I then experienced it) I was shattered, completely
wreaked, lost, angry and bewildered. I was determined to never again be so lost. I went
annually, for the next four years, to the Leicester International Conference, and learned
and learned and learned. I was like a penguin returning to the ocean. It was a whole new
world, a new language. I was preparing to sit down with the British. I had learned my
trade; James Prior brought in a Devolution bill. Robert and I began a courtship. We had a
mountain of distrust between us on both sides to begin with. Future generations may
wonder what the ambience was like and unless you have experienced racial hatred, or
the anger against Germany and Japan after world war two, or taken sides on the Arab
Israeli conflict, or have been abandoned by your lover, you will never know.
We began by accepting the position as it existed.”
Civil Rights 15th November 1968
Civil Rights 1968
Civil Rights 1968
Civil Rights 1968
Bloody Sunday, 30th January 1972
The Miami Showband in
Brendan’s chip-shop circa 1970
Brendan leading traders out from a meeting with security chiefs to
stop their plan to seal the two main streets off from the City Centre.
Hunger Strikes 1980 & 1981.
The five demands written on OPUS headed paper
• the right not to wear a
• the right not to do prison
• the right of free association
with other prisoners, and to
organise educational and
• the right to one visit, one
letter and one parcel per
• full restoration of remission
lost through the protest.
Extracts from Brendan’s “Red” Diary 1981- Brendan donated his
diaries to the National University of Galway in 2011
Extracts from Brendan’s “Red” Diary 1981
Note from Bobby Sands to Brendan, shortly
before he died after 66 days on hunger strike
“To you and your friends,
may I be permitted to say
a last goodbye, if my going
is to mean anything, may it
mean peace and freedom to
you and yours. On behalf of
myself and the others, I must add
that we deeply appreciate all
your efforts on our behalf”.
Eric Millar, Social Scientist- Brendan had this
poster on his wall for 15 years
Brendan’s notes from a Tavistock
Brendan with Zeav Avni, ex-Russian Spy,
Veret Amitzzi, a dear friend to Brendan
Brendan with Ruairí Ó Brádaigh
NOTE FROM KEN- MI-6
A Poem by Brendan Duddy during
Brendan had a life-changing stroke in 2010. In
2013 he met the Dalai Lama who described
Brendan as “a hero”
Brendan with the Pope 2015
Letter to Martin Mc Guinness
August 30th 1997 “SPLITTING”
I started off to write one paper about the talks process and have come to the conclusion that a second
paper dealing with the effects of the process on the negotiators and the movement in general, is
The subject is splitting, and splits. Over the last 20 years I have been very fortunate to work with some
of the leading psychologists on aspects of human behaviour. It is very easy to recognise a split and
very painful if one is caught up in it. The conditions necessary for a split to occur can also be very
clearly defined. What is not known, is the internal mechanisms which actually make the process of
There is a belief system that the Republican Movement is more prone to splitting than most other
organisations. This is not true. The reality is, that splitting is a most common phenomenon
throughout the entire world and in every possible type of organisation. Ireland is no different to
Alaska in this respect. The most common split in modern life is divorce. The statistics prove the point.
What is so fearful at this very historic time (August 29th 1997) is that at the back of every Republican’s
mind are these questions:-
1. Will the talks last?
2. Is this the end of the struggle?
3. Will we have another nightmare of splits, splitting, betrayal and accusations?
4. Is there anything which can be done to try and understand this phenomenon?
Cover-ups are not the answer, because all this does is block out reality and force the leadership and the
team of negotiators to focus more on their internal fractions rather than on their primary task of
negotiation, settlement and agreement.
Again, the question is why do splits occur and how are they best dealt with?
Before writing this paper I checked with colleagues. No one had any clear answers but certain common
criteria did emerge. The higher the idealism, the more intense the comradeship and shared struggle,
then the more likely that any settlement whatsoever will cause a split. It is as if the fear of arriving after
such a long journey of struggle causes a tidal-wave of convulsion, creating a split.
It is the intensity of feeling and the certainty that one’s position is the true and only correct one, which
fuels this phenomenon. The worst aspect of it is that it would appear that the leadership is selected as
guardians of the unattainable ideal, the perfect solution, and when this cannot be fully and completely
achieved, an immediate sense of betrayal occurs and the splitting process has begun.
In Ireland, you often hear older people speaking of how brother fought brother, and father fought son
during the terrible civil war which followed the treaty negotiations. In hindsight, one can choose which
side one would have been on with remarkable self-assurance, but this doesn’t come close to explaining
the bitterness and the intensity which tore families and comrades apart.
It would appear that the intensity of the struggle precludes a compromise settlement and the ideal
fantasy position is held to be fully obtainable, if only the chosen leadership had been good enough and
strong enough to negotiate better.
The de Valera strategy position of staying in Ireland as his team negotiated in London, is acting out this
very phenomenon and one can never know what the reality position would or could have been if de
Valera had put all his energies and included himself in the negotiating team from day one in London.
Again, this is one of the characteristics of the split. The leader, demanding the most, settling for nothing
less than the perfect solution, stands on top of the mountain at ease with himself condemning the futile
efforts of all those below.
When Daithi O Conaill, Ruairi O Bradaigh and Sean Keenan split and walked out of the 1986 Ard Fheis,
they did so in their own understanding that they and they alone were holding true to the Republican
ideals, and that the changes and compromises being proposed by the platform and accepted by over
90% of the members present, were a betrayal of true Irish republicanism. I knew these men well and had
worked with them for many years and the one phrase which springs to mind to describe them is “that
they were honourable men.” But the thought of change was unbearable, so they formed a faction and
I would maintain that the nature of the task facing the leadership of the Republican Movement at 15th
September 1997 talks will create splits and that this should be recognised for what it is:- a fear of change
and a loss of the security offered by holding on to the idealism of the perfect solution. The phrase which
springs to my mind at this moment is that of the Ulster Loyalist “No Surrender! Not an inch!” clearly
seen, and realistically seen by the Republican Movement and everyone else as a fantasy, an unattainable
perfect loyalist position.
So, the phenomenon of splitting crosses all divides and already the various loyalist groups are faced with
this problem. Billy Wright and the Loyalist Volunteer Force seeing themselves as the only true holders of
loyalist ideals. It is as if the process demands that some one or group occupies this extreme, no
compromise position on behalf of their community in every struggle.
The Hut-Tutsi struggle in Rwanda, the Seb-Croat-Muslim struggle in Yugoslavia are current examples of
the acting-out, with dreadful consequences the phenomenon of splitting. The people caught up in these
splits saw genocide as a viable option. This is how intensely the phenomenon of splitting can take hold.
There are no easy answers to the phenomenon of splitting, but knowledge, understanding and
explanations of the thought processes of the negotiating team at the September talks will go a long way
to help avoid the unthinkable.
The primary task of the leadership of the Republican Movement is to negotiate an Irish settlement.
Every other consideration is an indulgence.
Good luck to yourself and your team and my thoughts are with you.
Brendan with Martin
McGuinness in April
2016 in Brendan’s home
in the Glen Road.
Martin passed away on
21st March 2017.
Brendan passed away
less that 2 months later.
'Fred’s’ farewell letter to Brendan
Martin McGuinness “One
of the most surprising
revelations was whenever
(the Columbian Gvt)
started to talk to me
about the back channel
…and they mentioned the
name Brendan Duddy….
When they opened a back
channel with FARC they
named it “Brendan”.
Michael Oatley visits Brendan at home on 3rd April 1998
(exactly a week before the signing of The Good Friday Agreement)
Michael Oatley in the kitchen of Brendan’s house on 3rd April 1998
(exactly a week before the signing of The Good Friday Agreement)
Michael Oatley at the iconic “Free Derry Corner” on 3rd April 1998
(exactly a week before the signing of The Good Friday Agreement
Dr. W. Gordon Lawrence (1934-2013)
“An Irish Peacemaker”
by Gordon Lawrence
“One man who consistently followed human
hope to shape his ideas was Brendan Duddy, an
Irish businessman, who was secretly engaged in
the role of a peacemaker in Ireland since the
early 1960s. This role he created by his own
authority without the benefit, or constraints, of
being accountable to any grouping with the
purpose of making peace…..Here, it is the
exercise of authority that is the subject, not the
narrative of the ‘Troubles'. He is an example of
Brendan Duddy in his own words:-
“I believed it could be done by one
being, any being, providing that
the belief was present. I never
doubted my journey, my work, my
Peace Process and understanding
how difficult it is to be alone.”
A “Get Well” letter to Brendan from Gordon Lawrence
Brendan and the Third Space
Integral to Brendan’s approach to negotiation was the
creation, in his mind, of the third space.
Family and work take up two of the spaces, with the third
being for democracy, civil society and creative engagement.
The third space is a mental space in which the ideas of a
warring culture, with differing beliefs, can be re-shaped to
enable forward thinking and open talk.
The purpose was to launch the idea of dialogue in which
people could allow each other to contribute to a peaceful
settlement by moving to a third space of collaboration.
Brendan’s place will probably never be re-filled.
Now, there’s a huge void in our family space, in our
community place and in our hearts.