The Resurrection of Ireland: The Sinn Féin Party, 1916-1923

By Michael Laffan | Go to book overview

10
THE PACTELECTION AND THE CIVIL WAR,
1922–1923

Many people feared that the gap between radicals and the moderates could no longer be bridged, but optimists could nonetheless take hope as each lurch towards war was matched by a corresponding move to ensure peace. Negotiations took place between the two sides and several compromise proposals were made, including the idea of holding a plebiscite on the question of the treaty. All of these were rejected by the republicans.1 On 1 May a group of ten senior army offcers, five from each camp, recognized 'the fact–admitted by all sides–that the majority of the people of Ireland are willing to accept the Treaty' and suggested that an agreed election should be held.2 Fighting reached such a level that a few days later the two sides agreed to a 'truce', provoking the Leader to comment that 'we had already drifted into civil armed strife, and the fact of establishing a Truce formally attests that fact'.3

A peace committee was established by the Dáil, and its members held a total of sixteen meetings. They discussed the possibility of presenting a joint 'national panel' to the electorate, and while pro-treaty delegates suggested that the ratio between the two sides should be 5:3 the republicans insisted on a proportion of 6:4.4 Childers referred in his diary to a meeting of the republican party at which he had argued that the 'only way of really holding Rep. position in agreed election is to have same personnel returned. Next best to have strength of existing parties returned. Any reduction hopeless. '5 The people';s wishes in the matter counted for little or nothing. A draft by Harry Boland began provocatively 'we are agreed:–(1) That no issue is being determined by the election', and it proposed that each party should be represented roughly in proportion to its existing strength in the Dáil. The pro-treaty deputies objected 'that Sinn Féin

____________________
1
Cabinet minutes, 26 Apr. 1922, NAI, DE, 1/4; Curran, Birth of the Irish Free State, p. 185.
2
II, 2 May 1922.
3
Eoin O';Duffy and Liam Lynch, memo, 4 May 1922, RM, P7/B/191; Leader, 13 May 1922, p. 293.
4
he difference was minor: one ratio would give republicans 37.5 per cent of the seats, the other40 per cent.
5
Childers, diary, 16 May 1922, TCDL, MS 7816.

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The Resurrection of Ireland: The Sinn Féin Party, 1916-1923
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Figures and Tables x
  • Preface xi
  • Note on the Text xiv
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Prologue: Before the Easter Rising 1
  • 1 - Irish Nationalists: Politicians and Rebels 3
  • The Irish Revolution, 1916–1923 41
  • 2 - Rebellion and Hibernation, 1916 43
  • 3 - Organizers and Converts, 1917 77
  • 4 - Rever Sesan Dvictory, 1918 122
  • 5 - The Party: Structures and Members 169
  • 6 - Policy: Beliefs and Attitudes 214
  • 7 - War and Repression 1919–1921 266
  • 8 - Ministers and Bureaucrats, 1919–1921 304
  • 9 - The Treaty and the Split, 1921–1922 346
  • 10 - The Pactelection and the Civil War, 1922–1923 386
  • Epilogue - After the Civil War 431
  • 11 - Fundamenta Lists and Compromisers 433
  • Select Bibliography 466
  • Index 491
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