The Northern Whig and Belfast Post, Wednesday 14 September 1921
After suggesting a Scottish conference earlier in the week, Sinn Féin 'spring[...] a surprise' on the world by delaying their response to the premiers invitation until 'Friday or Saturday' of this week.
Sinn Féin has succeeded in springing a surprise on the world. For several days their spokesmen in Dublin have carefully fostered the belief that Mr. de Valera's reply to Mr. Lloyd George's last communication was being forwarded to the Premier and that it was in effect an acceptance of his proposal for a conference.
Last evening the Sinn Féin envoys arrived at Gairloch and an official communique states that they discussed with the Premier some points in reference to the suggested conference, after which they left to return to Dublin.
It is now stated that Mr. de Valera's reply will not be handed to the Prime Minister before Friday or Saturday.
A SINN FÉIN SURPRISE
STILL SEEKING INFORMATION
The following official communique was issued last night from Gairloch:-
"Mr McGrath and Mr. Boland had an interview with Mr. Lloyd George this afternoon and discussed some points in reference to the conference suggested in the British Governments last communication. They are returning to Dublin with Mr. Lloyd George's views for further consideration."
The Press Association adds:- The Irish delegates arrived by motor at Gairloch Hotel at 1.30 yesterday afternoon. Mr. Boland, a fresh coloured man of medium stature, was wearing a white felt hat with a black band. His colleague is of sturdy build, and rather pale. Later in the afternoon they motored to Flowerdale, and alighting at the gates, were met by member of the Prime Minister's staff, with whom they walked up the path to the house. They were received by Mr. Lloyd George at five o'clock and remained in conference with him for about an hour. It is understood that the questions discussed were of vital importance, and necessitated the return of the delegates to Dublin for consultation with their colleagues.
After leaving Flowerdale they proceeded immediately to Inverness en route for Dublin. The Irish reply, the Press Association Says, will be delivered at Gairloch on Friday or Saturday. No information beyond the official communique was available at Gairloch last night, but from the grave demeanour of the Irish envoys when they left for their eighty miles' drive it was inferred by those who saw them that the situation had again taken a serious turn. The new situation evidently caused surprise to both sides.