Archive of civil rights activist and SDLP founding member Hugh Logue opens at University of Galway

Hugh Logue with his grandchildren Asha Bose, Amelie Logue, Saoirse Bose and Donal Logue.
Nov 27 2023 Posted: 15:10 GMT

Decades of papers from public life released to coincide with former politician being awarded honorary Doctor of Laws

The archive of former civil rights activist, founding member of the SDLP, politician and economist Hugh Logue is being made available at University of Galway

The historical resource – made up of more than 20 boxes of manuscripts, documents, photographs and political ephemera – was released to coincide with the award of an Honorary Doctor of Laws to Mr Logue at a special conferring ceremony in the University.

The archive documents his life and career, from his entry into Northern Irish politics in the early 1970s, through to a distinguished career in the European Commission, and more latterly as a Chief Special Advisor and speech writer at the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister at Stormont, where he worked closely with Séamus Mallon during the establishment of the Executive in the years following the Good Friday Agreement, from 1998-2003. 

Speaking at the University conferring, Hugh Logue said: “A request from University of Galway to donate one's Archives to it is a huge honour. Its reputation as an archive of distinction is worldwide and the scale of access by students and scholars remarkable. Its attention to material from over the last 50 troubled years in Northern Ireland is unparalleled. It is a privilege to have my papers placed there.”

The archive includes a letter he wrote to Séamus Mallon on the day of the Omagh bomb, August 15, 1998, outlining the immediate risk to peace. He wrote: "Word is just coming in of the utter horror of Omagh... our task remains to give voice to that overwhelming vote [The Good Friday Agreement], the bombers' task is to render it speechless"

Also included are multiple manuscript and annotated drafts of Logue's testimony to the Saville Tribunal and his actions and memories of civil rights marches and events in Northern Ireland, leading up to and including Bloody Sunday. 

The Logue archive presents an important new collection that will enable new studies and understandings of the political, social and economic development of Northern Ireland, as well as important links with Europe. 

Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of University of Galway, said: “University of Galway has a great tradition of preserving important archive material for both research and the public and Hugh Logue’s papers going back to the 1970s are a huge addition to that legacy. We are even more pleased to be able to honour Hugh Logue and recognise the huge contribution he made to the quest for civil rights, peace on our island and a more prosperous future for all communities. University of Galway places great store on working for the public good – Hugh Logue’s career and life epitomises that.”

Professor Niall Ó Dochartaigh, School of Political Science and Sociology, said: “Hugh Logue's papers shed light on key episodes in recent Irish history, including the role of the European Commission in the peace process, the rise of the civil rights movement and the SDLP, and efforts to negotiate an end to the 1981 Republican hunger strike. The legacy of violent conflict in Ireland continues to provide a focus for intense political debate and archives of this kind are invaluable in ensuring that those debates are informed by first-hand contemporary sources.”

Other documents in the Logue archive contain early political and election material from his successful election to Westminster in 1973; SDLP policy papers in the 1980s and 90s; papers from his work with the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace which offer new insights into its work to resolve the 1981 hunger strikes. 

The archive also includes key papers from his early work with the European Commission in the 1990s, including the Delors taskforce and the E.U. Peace and Reconciliation Fund, both PEACE packages and European Science and Technology for regional development. 

Dr Barry Houlihan, University of Galway Library Archivist, said: “The archive of Hugh Logue is a remarkable collection of papers that will offer new understanding to the political, social and economic history of Northern Ireland through the last half century, as well as to Hugh’s crucial contributions in that time. The archive adds considerable new knowledge to an already extensive body of archive collections within the University documenting Northern Ireland’s recent past”.

Monica Crump, Interim University Librarian, said: "At the University of Galway Library, we're thrilled to welcome Hugh Logue’s archive into our care. This collection is more than a testament to one individual's legacy, it also unlocks a deeper comprehension of our recent past, guiding future generations toward a richer understanding of Northern Ireland's intricate journey, from political milestones to his significant influence on European policy. Our staff, students and visiting researchers are hugely fortunate to have this resource available to them and we are hugely grateful to Hugh for entrusting us with the custodianship of his rich archive.”


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