Sinn Féin Revolutionary, Fianna Fáil Nationalist and Revisionist Zionist
Chapter 9: 1944–1953 - Irreconcilable Differences: Financial Difficulties, the Holocaust and the Birth of Israel
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1944–1953 Irreconcilable Differences: Financial Difficulties, the Holocaust and the Birth of Israel
Even though Briscoe had survived as a Fianna Fáil TD, his electoral difficulties had included unsavoury insinuations alluding to the precarious state of his personal financial situation. Much of this could be ascribed to his revisionist engagement, Jabotinsky was notorious for making financial demands on his subordinates and the Briscoe Files in the Jabotinsky Institute are full of requests for an immediate £50, £100 or even £200 donation.1 This aspect of Briscoe’s Zionism certainly contributed to his money issues; however, when a 1944 G2 intelligence report is examined, it leads to the inescapable conclusion that there was a far more prosaic contributory factor. The report indicates that he had a considerable gambling problem.
During an interview between Briscoe and Mr T. W. Justice, Briscoe stated that he had lost £6,000 in the last five years, playing poker and racing. Mr Justice gathered from Briscoe’s conversation that he is not in a strong financial position at the moment.2
Briscoe’s admission is indicative of the depth of his debt; £6,000 was an extraordinary sum in 1944 and would translate to a present-day debt of more than £186,000. He had always enjoyed a flutter on the horses; this was widely known and accepted in an Irish political culture where casual gambling was commonplace.3 This was reinforced by a love of poker, and Briscoe...
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