I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized Beyond Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Beyond Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Frank Callanan
The Treaty: Debating and Establishing the Irish State, Liam Weeks and Michael O’Fathartaigh (eds), Irish Academic Press, 272 pp, €19.95, ISBN: 978-1788550413 In the heavy thread of the commemorative cycle, it is something of a relief to emerge from the grey mud of the trenches on the Western front and the remorselessly minute chronicling of the 1916 rising to the polychromatic culmination of the Treaty. This is a solidly informative set of essays. It has a kind of political-science bias which does not yield significant insights over historical approaches ‑ which most of the essays actually take. It affords a point of departure for an assessment of a controversy that attracted bitter and finally sanguinary conflict at the time and did a good deal to inform the party structure of Irish politics thereafter. In the first contribution, Mel Farrell cites a passage from a speech of Deputy Sean Hales on December 17th, 1921 which succinctly summarises the pro-Treaty view that was also expressed in Collins’s “stepping stone” image: If I thought this Treaty which has been signed was to bar our right to freedom, if it was to be the finality, I wouldn’t touch it but I took that it is to be a jumping off point to attain our alternative ends, because if it is one year or in ten years, Ireland will regain that freedom which is her destiny and no man can bar it. The only thing is that at the present moment if there is anything like a split it would be more dangerous than anything else … Posterity will judge us all yet. There is no getting away from that. When the time comes there is one thing certain. Speaking from the column which I was always with through the battlefields and willing and ready to carry on the fight but still I look upon that Treaty as the best rock from which to jump off for the final accomplishment of Irish freedom. Hales is an emblematic figure. He was among the few ‑ if not alone ‑ of the men of west Cork to support the treaty. Liam Lynch ordered the IRA to kill deputies and senators who had supported the Public Safety Act which established military courts which could impose the death penalty. Hales was shot in Dublin on December 7th, 1922. That led the government of the Free State to order the…

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