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Talk:John Charles McQuaid

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To which specific weakness did the government refer in "if McQuaid was elevated “the Nuncio would have endless difficulties, with every sphere of his activities, owing to this deplorable weakness in [ McQuaid’s] character, already so well known to the Holy See”."? I think we need to know. There is perhaps an unspoken POV that it would be obvious.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Dromore (talkcontribs)

McQuaid was never made a cardinal. In 1953 he was a leading contender but the honour went instead to the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, John d'Alton. McQuaid was informed by a friend in Rome that the reason for d'Alton's appointment was political. The Vatican fully realised that McQuaid was the leading contender for the red hat but, McQuaid's friend wrote, he had been informed by Joseph Walshe, the Irish minister to the Holy See, that the reason for d'Alton's appointment was 'an attempt to conciliate the North and emphasise the unity of Ireland'.

What the Ambassador did not tell McQuaid's friend, was that he himself had lobbied against the red hat coming to Dublin both on political grounds (although Armagh was under British rule, Ireland was one) and on the basis of McQuaid's character. Walshe did not mention de Valera's anger over McQuaid's support for the teacher's strike in 1946. Instead he reminded the Vatican that the Archbishop had made constant difficulties over precedence whenever the Nuncio attended the pro-cathedral and warned that if he became Cardinal “the Nuncio would have endless difficulties, with every sphere of his activities, owing to this deplorable weakness in [McQuaid’s] character, already so well known to the Holy See”. [7]

Indeed the Archbishop was a stickler for protocol - not a usual Irish characteristic. However the political reason is probably the only real one. Awarding the red hat to the Archbishop of Armagh served the dual purpose of emphasising the unity of Ireland while avoiding antagonising Ulster Protestants by seeming to elevate Dublin above Armagh (if the appointment had gone to McQuaid). This kind of convoluted diplomacy was typical of de Valera." Kilbarry1 (talk) 10:34, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Valid point. There is a widespread impression of collusion between church and state; between dev and mcQuaid. In fact there was a friendly surface and hostility beneath that. It was deV's doing that he did not get cardinal. You rightly mention the NT teaches strike - McQuaid encouraged them deV had the gardai baton charge them. Then there was the follow up to the 'mother and child'. dev got wind of the bishops opposition (via the irish press) and made his position clear to dalton & all the bishops - bar mcquaid - the bishops backed down.
We have folk history - as believed at the time ; and actual history and revealed by hindsight and original documents ClemMcGann (talk) 14:37, 18 July 2009 (UTC)


A lot of inaccurate stuff was added in here.

POV Edit

He is considered to have played a large role in composing the 1937 Irish Free State Constitution, which was a sectarian and confessional document, unfit for a tolerant, ecumenical country, which, in any event, the Republic of Ireland was shown DECIDEDLY not to be.

I have reverted the previous edit as this is historically inaccurate, the constitution was that of Ireland and not the Irish Free State - and simulaneously referring to the Republic of Ireland. Moreover the edit regarding the states characteristics is decidedly a judgement and is, as such, point of view. Djegan 20:06, 16 August 2005 (UTC)


O'Brien Press Titles

Biography Historical Biography History Religion

John Charles McQuaid   

Ruler of Catholic Ireland by John Cooney Now available in paperback - an in-depth study of the most significant Irish clergyman in the history of the state

For three decades, 1940-72, as Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, John Charles McQuaid imposed his iron will on Irish politicians and instilled fear among his clergy and laity. No other churchman amassed the religious, political and social power which he exercised with unscrupulous severity.

An admirer of the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover, Archbishop McQuaid built up a vigilante system that spied on politicians and priests, workers and students, doctors and lawyers, nuns and nurses, soldiers and trade unionists.

There was no room for dissent when John Charles spoke in the name of Jesus Christ.This power was used to build up a Catholic--dominated state in which Protestants, Jews and feminists were not welcome. 01:17, 17 August 2005 (UTC)


I ( have reverted your edits yet again as they simply do not reach the standards required for wikipedia. In fact they are preditory, historically inaccurate and could well be considered vandalism because of their tone. I dont care if you think that I am a patsy for McQuaid - I only came across your original edit by chance and I reserve the right to edit out what you placed in this article within the policies of wikipedia - neutral point of view and accuracy are absolute requirements for wikipedia, even for McQuaid, Hitler and Stalin and similar - if you think otherwise then is the place for you. Djegan 17:43, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

de Valera

While on the surface it might appear that he got on well with deV. The opposite was the case. He was going to read deV from the altar on an agriculture education issue. DeV faced him down. John Charles backed off. Also deV spiked any chance he had of a red hat. I'll wait until the present edit war dies down before contributing. If and when I do it will be with references, probably from the journal 'studies' --ClemMcGann 10:29, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

I have added a few lines. They are referenceable facts. Let's see what happens. Frankly, I do not fancy a revert war. But the historical record (rather than the public face at the time) shows division rather than unity --ClemMcGann 21:07, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

The Soviets asked for McQuaid to be brought to the Nuremberg Trials and charged for aiding and abbetting the escape to South America of the Croatian Dictator Ante Pavic. He never denied it and probably helped other Nazi war criminals to escape justice. He had a lot in common with them.

If you have a reference - feel free to add to the article -- ClemMcGann (talk) 08:28, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

J.D. Edgar Hoover

Super guy Edgar , as is the FBI as an organisation .. E.C.McQuaid Atlanta GA

Allegations of Child Abuse

I added in (restored) the following "The main allegation - that the Archbishop had attempted to sexually assault a boy in a Dublin pub - is based on an unpublished essay by his bitter antagonist Noel Browne. No reputable historian or journalist supports these claims. Even reviewers who praised the book stated that the author should have left out these allegations (e.g. Dermot Keogh, Professor of History and John A. Murphy, Emeritus Professor of History at University College Cork). [3]"

It is grotesque to place this clarification in a completely separate article as was previously done. Also the phrase "No reputable historian or journalist" had been changed to "No Catholic historian or Catholic journalist". It is a fact that these allegations by John Cooney received no support from ANY Irish historian (reputable or otherwise!). Kilbarry1 (talk) 23:17, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Regarding the addition "In Martin Sixsmith's 2009 book "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, (Macmillan - Pages 41 & 42) this exact story is mentioned - the essay by Dr Browne was sent to the Archbishop by Joe Coram a civil servant at the then Department of External Affairs in the hope the Archbishop would be co-operative with the proposed Adoption Bill to which he has been vigorously opposed to, within a week McQuaid had sent Fr Cecil Barrett to the Department to help draft the new bill".

The Adoption Act of 1952 is dealt with on pages 296/97 of Cooney's book where it is presented as an example of the Archbishop "exploiting a cloak and dagger athmosphere in which he could influence the legislators". Cooney presents it as a triumph for McQuaid in which he once again imposed his will on legislators; specifically "With the passing of the 1952 act McQuaid not only regularised American adoptions but also had the State endorse his sectarian approach." McQuaid is quoted as informing Archbishop D'Alton that his tactics worked "with excellent smoothness and eliminated even the semblence of opposition".

There is no mention of Joe Coram in Cooney's book. The Adoption Act was the responsibility of the Departmentof Justice NOT the Department of External Affairs. Government papers from both Departments for the 1950s would have been lodged in the National Archives 30 years later i.e. about 1982, Cooney published his book in 1999 and quotes from these Archives. Cooney is now Religious Affairs corresponent of the Irish Independent and if new material emmerged supporting his allegations, he would have broadcast it to the skies. Yet I can't find any mention of Joe Coram or of this episode in the Independent (or the Irish Times or the Irish Examiner.)

I did a quick check on Martin Sixsmith's book in Easons. It looks like a work of fiction - even if the supposed subject is a real person - and quotes 50 year old conversations verbatim. There are no footnotes giving sources and not even an index. I will buy the book but this looks like a piece of fiction which is BASED on Cooney's allegations rather than confirming them. Kilbarry1 (talk) 14:03, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

I bought Martin Sixsmith's book "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee" and compared it to Cooney's biography. The account by Noel Browne that Joe Coram was supposed to have used to intimidate McQuaid in 1952, was in fact written by Browne in 1988. This was 15 years after McQuaid's death and 36 years after the passing of the 1952 Adoption Act. (See page 285-87 of "John Charles McQuaid: Ruler of Catholic Ireland".) No wonder John Cooney has not publicised this fairy story and tried to use it to bolster his own claims. Superficially it appears to do so but it is actually in direct contradiction of the facts - even as Cooney reports them! I have deleted this allegation. Kilbarry1 (talk) 02:23, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Are you saying that Martin Sixsmith's book "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee" is fiction? ClemMcGann (talk) 02:51, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Not fiction as we know it Clem. There are several photographs in the book and it is clear that the main characters actually existed. You could compare it to a historical novel - except that many of those stick as closely to the facts as possible and this one does not. A Times review actually describes is as a "nonfiction novel" and a BAD example of the genre. The following is part of a review by Frances Wilson:

"So why has he presented his careful work of ­extrapolation and verification in the cheap and cheesy prose of a blockbuster? ... Truman Capote, who invented this blending of narrative with investigative journalism, calling it “the nonfiction novel”, proved that it could be an art form. Sixsmith’s attempt at the genre diminishes the power of the story he is telling. Here is Michael on a date: “Mike squeezed Pete’s hand…thinking how exciting the guy looked, how different all this seemed from the trashy fade-to-lust of his usual dates.” And Michael dying of Aids: “ ‘Well, that’s it, Pete, the paper here says you get my worldly goods.’ He sighed and smiled, ‘And my heart says you get my love forever.’ ”
This could have been an important book about the horrifying effects of the authority given to the Catholic Church in 1950s Ireland. Instead it will be known as The Lost Opportunity of Martin Sixsmith

Wilson is talking about the STYLE of the book but the content is just as fake. Kilbarry1 (talk) 09:56, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Well, there are episodes in the book which stretch credulity. If it were wp then we could add lots of [citation needed] tags - ClemMcGann (talk) 11:30, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

I have only read part of the book but it milks every historical myth - including the ones about Fianna Fail and the Church being hand and hand and De Valera being afraid to go against McQuaid. Even Wilson's review talks about "the authority given to the Catholic Church in 1950s Ireland." The fact is that the Church set up schools and hospitals from the late 18th century onwards, at a time when the State strove only to provide for internal order and defence against external enemies. Part of McQuaid's tragedy is that, while he was setting up his mini welfare state in Dublin, the Irish Government finally began to achieve the capacity to intervene in areas where the Church was used to operating alone. And it was De Valera and Fianna Fail that did most of the intervening! Kilbarry1 (talk) 12:48, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

True. A problem with the article is that there was a public perception that deV and McQuaid were close friends. Both encouraged this perception. Against that you have the reality of the showdown over the health act (the mother and child in all but name), the teachers strike, the red hat, the excommunications, I could go on. I have my doubts about some of the statements in the article, such dalton's hat was "'an attempt to conciliate the North and emphasise the unity of Ireland'." You rightly point out the power struggle (and provision of) over education and health ClemMcGann (talk) 15:29, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

I have again deleted the passage about Martin Sixsmiths book from the section headed "Allegations of Child Abuse". As stated above, it is clear from John Cooney's book that the libellous essay by Noel Browne was actually written in 1988 - yet Sixsmith claims it was used to put pressure on McQuaid in 1952! I have also checked John Horgan's biography "Noel Browne, Passionate Outsider". He deals with Browne's essay on pages 287/88 and confirms that Browne wrote it after attending the funeral of Sean MacBride in January 1988 The details about the Archbishops alleged attempt to assault a schoolboy were supposedly given to Browne by someone who attended the funeral. Thus it is not a question of Browne having the information in the 1950s but writing it down decades later. According to his own account, he only received it in 1988. But Sixsmith claims that Browne gave the story to a civil servant in 1952 in order to pressurise the Archbishop into supporting the Adoption Act of that year!

If JohnC 1989 persists in restoring this slander then maybe I will do a separate section in the article about Martin Sixsmith and "The Story of Philomena Lee". It would unbalance the article but would also show how "liberals" like Sixsmith construct obscene libels in demonise their religious opponents. Kilbarry1 (talk) 02:36, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

I'm not going to hold a candle for McQ. but you were right to remove this doubtful allegation ClemMcGann (talk) 02:55, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

I see that the original insertion by JohnC 1989 mentioned Noel Browne's name but he left that out when he restored the insertion. OK page 41 of Martin Sixsmith's book makes it clear that the story came from Noel Browne. QUOTE: "Joe [Coram] said quietly was Noel Browne who gave it to me. He's convinced McQuiad is a pedarist".

Also the statement based on the "reported testimony of an unnamed boy" contains the following passage: "Slowly became clear to the child that that John the Bishop's roving hands and long fingers had intentions other than getting information about school."

John Cooney's biography of McQuaid contains the following excerpt from Browne's essay on page 286: "Incredulous, trying not to believe it, slowly it became clear to the child that John the Bishop's roving hands and long fingers had intentions other than getting information about school."

Cooney, like Browne's biographer John Horgan, makes it clear that Noel Browne wrote this account after speaking to a man at Sean MacBride's funeral in 1988. Yet if you believe Sixsmith, civil servant Joe Coram used it to pressurise the Archbishop in 1952! Talk about "The Anatomy of a Libel"! Kilbarry1 (talk) 03:17, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

This tripe about Martin Sixsmith's book has been inserted again but with no explanation. Does this guy JohnC1989 know how to put an entry in the Discussion page? His source has no credibility Kilbarry1 (talk) 22:25, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Re the amendment "The allegation has been disputed", I am not aware of a single historian who supports John Cooney's allegations against the Archbishop. Several historians - including those who otherwise praise the book - have specifically repudiated Cooney's claims. I am aware of only one JOURNALIST who - recently out of the blue - supports Cooney. That is Martin Sixsmith - see above. His "evidence" is based on an article that was written by Noel Browne in 1988; yet Sixsmith claims it was used to put pressure on the Archbishop in 1952!

Cooney made his claim 10 years ago and if any evidence existed, it would certainly have emerged by now.

If someone made similar allegations on similar evidence against a former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, then a statement in Wikipedia that "The allegation has been disputed" would not be sufficient. Kilbarry1 (talk) 21:24, 24 November 2009 (UTC)