Francis Stuart And Aosdana

 

Sir - As a member of Aosdana present at the General Assembly in Dublin Castle last Wednesday, which was described correctly by your reporter as "fractious and chaotic", maybe you will allow me to add a couple of footnotes. These will perhaps balance the implication inherent in Mic Moroney's first paragraph that Irish creative artists voted overwhelmingly against any censure of Mr Francis Stuart for his failure at any time over 50 years to express regret for his support of Nazi Germany.

In fact the support of Aosdana for Mr Stuart was not as overwhelming as one might suppose. Had the meeting been less chaotic, Mic Moroney would have heard, instead of the uproar, my attempt to put a possibly acceptable version of Maire Mhac an t-Saoi's proposal before the assembly. The chairman, Bob Quinn, heard it and nodded to me, which I took to mean I would be allowed a voice in a very few minutes. But shortly, the guillotine came down without most of the delegates being aware that there was an alternative proposal. This proposal was the same as Maire Mhac an tSaoi's minus the call for Stuart's resignation and it read as follows:

"That Aosdana unequivocally reprobates the sentiments and opinions expressed by Mr Francis Stuart concerning the Holocaust in a recent television interview broadcast by Channel Four on October 11th."

One further point. It was hastily decided, on a suggestion from Hugh Maxton, that Aosdana members were not in possession of sufficient information to accept or reject the proposal. Not so. Many of us had read (and moreover the chairman could easily have read aloud) a transcript of relevant passages from the interview. No wonder so many members of Aosdana emerged into the darkness of Castle Yard, after our very long day's journey into night, feeling that we had been effectively wrong-footed. - Yours, etc.,

Sorrento Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin.