T.P. O’Connor holds back tide of anti-Irish opinion in U.S.
London, 7 August 1918 - T.P. O’Connor, Irish Parliamentary Party MP, has returned from his mission to America.
At a dinner hosted by his party colleagues at the House of Commons to welcome him home, party leader John Dillon declared that if O’Connor, had not been in America when the conscription crisis erupted in April and the German plot invented in May, then America would have been swept up in an atmosphere of hostility towards Ireland.
Mr Dillon told the gathering that the O’Connor’s visit to America was intended to present an Irish case to counteract what he said was ‘poisonous propaganda’ against the support the Irish Party had given to the Allied cause.
He went so far as to assert that O’Connor and Richard Hazelton, who assisted him on the mission, had done a greater service to the Allied cause than all the official British propaganda that had been pursued at the cost of millions of pounds.
O’Connor was fundraising in San Francisco when news broke of the conscription crisis at home, forcing him to leave California for Washington. There was, he said, a strong tide of American opinion held that Ireland should just enter the war in a generous spirit before getting freedom for herself. But, he warned, ‘you can be generous with the generous, you can be loyal with the loyal, but you cannot be generous with the mean, and you cannot be loyal with those who are not loyal’.
[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.]