The Irish Times likes to trot out the idea that John Redmond was a constitutionalist to his core, a view regularly propagated courtesy of John Bruton. This year when the spotlight is once again on Redmond his less than constitutional credentials are unsurprisingly glossed over. It must be remembered that during the Venezuelan Crisis (1895), Redmond was writing to President Grover Cleveland assuring him of Irish support if the United States went to war against Great Britain (“England’s difficulty” and all that). Hardly the actions of a loyal member of the British parliament? More importantly in this centenary year is Redmond’s role as a gun-runner, which seems to have been wholly neglected by official Ireland. It is a fact of history that Redmond was amongst those who sought and arranged for the importation arms on behalf of the Irish Volunteers, whom he knew would face not just their opponents in Ulster, but elements of the British Army seeking to forestall any measure of Irish freedom. Whatever about his aristocratic aloofness Redmond’s patriotism and ability to utilise circumstances to achieve his aim, a united Ireland with its own parliament in Dublin, should not be diminished by those trying to derive from the fact that his methods were not always wholesome or even remotely constitutional.