Brendan Duddy’s ‘red book’ on web

Two pages from Brendan Duddy's 'Red Book' which is now available online.

Two pages from Brendan Duddy's 'Red Book' which is now available online.

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The full text of the ‘red book’ - Brendan Duddy’s handwritten account of the 1981 hunger strike negotiations - is now available online.

The document is held as part of the Brendan Duddy Archive at the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway.

A transcript of the handwritten diary, originally created in 2001 by a relative of Brendan Duddy’s in consultation with him, has also been placed online.

Mr. Duddy passed secret messages between the British government and the IRA for 20 years.

Dr Niall O’Dochartaigh, Lecturer in Politics at NUI Galway, said the documents - when set alongside recently released official papers from the UK National Archives and the account originally outlined in the book ‘Ten Men Dead’ - added significantly to knowledge of the 1981 hunger strike negotiations.

Dr. O’Dochartaigh said: “This fractured and occasionally very personal handwritten record provides us with a sense of the intensity of these contacts and the biting tensions at this intersection between the British government and the Provisional Republican leadership.

“It provides an informal record of these contacts from the perspective of the intermediary that adds significantly to our understanding of the dynamics of these backchannel negotiations.

“It highlights, in particular, the importance of struggles over deadlines and the timing of moves by both parties.”

Deposited at NUI Galway in 2009, the papers of Brendan Duddy provide a unique insight into the resolution of the ‘Troubles’. The archive includes coded diaries of contact as well as messages exchanged between the British Government and the Provisional Republican leadership.

Documents can be viewed at: archives.library.nuigalway.ie/duddy/