After the 1916 uprising of Easter 1916 the British Government wanted to intern 30 or so 'Ringleaders of the Irish Rebellion' - government Secretary B Sargeaunt adroitly avoided an awkward situation by pointing out certain inherent difficulties in the proposed scheme:
5612 1.R. 22nd June 1916.
I have the honour, by direction of His
Excellency the Governor, to advert to your
telegram of the 21st instant asking whether
seperate accommodation could be found in the
Isle of Man for the internment of some thirty
of the ringleaders of the Irish Rebellion, and
to state that so far as accommodation is
concerned the old Naval Reserve Barracks at
Peel, now a Holiday Camp, would be well adapted
for the purpose in every respect, and could be
ready in about fourteen days. I am however,
to draw your attention to certain facts which
might render the proposal dangerous :-
(1) The Island is only separated from
Ireland by some forty miles of sea.
On certain occasions the coast of
Ireland is clearly visible.
(2) There is constant communication by fishing vessels between the Irish
ports and the port of Peel.
(3) There is a fairly large resident Irish
population in the Isle of Man
(4) The Guards at the Detention Camps are
largely composed of Liverpool Irish.
(5) There is a steamer service between Dublin,
Douglas and Silloth.
(6) A separate guard of well-trained English or
Scottish troops :independent of the Knockaloe
Guard would be necessary, but it would be
difficult to isolate these troops from the
Knockaloe Guards, both Camps being so near
to the town of Peel.
The question of the administration and control
of the proposed Camp is a trivial matter which
would cause no trouble, the main point is the
effect which the internment of these Irish might
have on sections of the population. The Isle
of Man is a safe place of internment, for Germans
because firstly, it is an island, and secondly the
population is most hostile towards the interned.
Interned Irishmen might meet with sympathy from
the sections of the community referred to .
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
B M Sargeaunt
The Under Secretary of State,
No more seems to be heard of the proposition.
| Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The
© F.Coakley , 2018