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Roger Casement in Berlin for talks
Photo: UCD Archives, LA 30/PH/408

Roger Casement in Berlin for talks

Mission has brought criticism from unionists

Berlin, 30 November 1914 - Sir Roger Casement has travelled to Berlin for talks with the German authorities.

Sir Roger was in America when war broke out raising funds for the Irish Volunteers and it is claimed that while there, he struck a deal with the Kaiser who pledged to free Ireland should Germany be victorious in the present war.

James T. Clarke, President of the United Irish Societies of Chicago, says that Sir Roger told him of the Emperor’s pledge and that Sir Roger’s subsequent trip to Berlin has confirmed Germany benevolent attitude to Ireland. Mr Clarke says that he is in possession of evidence to this end and that he will make this information public next week.

Dublin Metropolitan Police Report on a 'pro-German outburst' at a meeting of the University College Medical Society on 23rd November 1914. Click to view the document in full. (Image: National Archives of Ireland, CSO RP 1914)

Criticism

The news of Sir Roger Casement's mission has met with criticism in Ireland, however.

The unionist press has called on the Irish Parliamentary Party to repudiate Sir Roger and his works.

A prominent member of the Irish Party - speaking on the condition of anonymity - has distanced the party from Casement's actions: ‘We deny that Sir Roger Casement has the least right or title to speak in the name of the nationalists of Ireland. The only aim that he and those like him are seeking to accomplish is to injure our nationalism and prejudice our cause in the eyes of the British people.’

‘The attitude declared by Mr. Redmond at the outset of the war is the attitude of every sane and sensible nationalist. Sir Roger Casement, so far as we know anything about him at all, is one of a small minority which is trying to wreck the constitutional movement in Ireland.’

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

RTÉ

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.