Portrait of Peadar O'Donnell as an Old Soldier

On an evening in 1917, Peadar O'Donnelll, twenty five years old and recently appointed full-time organiser for the ITGWU in the north-eastern counties, was sitting at a table in a small hotel in Monaghan having his supper. Four men, three in uniforms and one in a gray suit, approached him. They were members of the staff of the Monaghan County Asylum and had been on strike for three weeks.


It was the eleventh day of the case and Sammy Smyth was wearing his eleventh clean white shirt. Sammy, and the Sunday World for which he writes had been accused by Michael Deighan of assault and libel. After three-and-a-half-hours, the jury had returned and everyone, including thirteen members of the Sunday World staff, was waiting for the verdict. The jurors, seven men and five women, looked tired and a little bored, Seamus McKenna SC for the defence was playing nervously with his glasses and a few people were still trying to squeeze into the packed courtroom.