The only legitimate Government in Ireland from January 1919 was Dail Eireann and the electorate renewed its authority in 1921. Local Government elections for County Councils, Municipalities and smaller councils in 1920 resulted in the vast majority supporting the Republic.

The Irish Republican Brotherhood previous to the establishment of Dail Eireann, was of necessity secret and conspiratorial and the Insurgency of 1916 of nearly 60 years of its work.

The Republican Declaration of Easter Week acknowledged this but promise that its work would be completed when the men and women of the country by their votes established a free Republic.

Perhaps because of the backsliding of various advanced Nationalists and even Republicans in previous years,  Republicans such as Collins and others remained in the IRB to ensure that there was no backsliding by Dail Eireann,

De Valera kept clear of the IRB once the Dail was  established, and Arthur Griffith, who had briefly been in the IRB in his youth, had long left it.

On the first meeting of the 2nd Dail, in July 1921 Eamon de Valera was again unanimously re-elected Priomh Aire or First Minister of Dail Eireann, as he had been since April 1919. But to give him further authority in the negotiations with Britain, whose Army has sought a Truce with the IRA (Not Dail Eireann) he was given the title as President of the Irish Republic – a Sovereign Head of State like the President of the United States or the King of England.

His nomination was proposed by Commandant Sean MacEoin, a new Deputy, who was released from his death cell in Mountjoy Gaol, by the British, on demand by the IRA which would not accept a Truce while he was unfree. General Richard Mulcahy seconded the motion with fulsome praise of the nominee who was elected to unanimous acclamation.

Dev had not sought such adulation. Sean MacEoin later revealed that he had been ordered by the IRB to make the nomination.

IRB Members used swear or affirm Allegiance to the “Irish Republic, now Virtually Established” to meet and avoid theological prohibition on serving unworthy powers and the Supreme Authority in the IRB was apparently its President.

When some 6 months later, following the Dail vote on the Articles signed in London, Dev resigned Presidency of Dail Eireann to which Arthur Griffith was elected, and the Presidency of the Republic  slipped from Dev’s  shoulders, presumably reverting to the IRB onto the shoulders of Michael Collins.

Most of the IRA stuck with the Republic, which a small majority of Dail Eireann had abandoned, and the  Provisional Government conjured up by a British Lord Lieutenant, established a paid army nominally answerable to the British, which then engaged in a joint campaign in the North of Ireland believing they were challenging the Northern Ireland statelet. Instead they found themselves being counter attacked  by the British Army. 

One senior “Free State” Officer, “Ginger” O’Connell who had fought in 1916 and later, favoured the “Treaty” because he believed the British would arm himself and his country to resume the fight to drive the British out of Ireland.

A delusion apparently shared by Collins.

It seems that neither Griffith nor De Valera knew anything about the joint campaign that the apparently daggers-drawn “Treatyite” and Anti-“Treatyite ” forces were jointly waging in the North.

Certainly neither Dev nor Griffith would have given any support to it.

Republicans had occupied various premises in Dublin to defend the Republic, but voluntarily vacated most of them. At a meeting of senior officers of both factions a Republican offered to vacate the Four Courts. Mulcahy laughed and said that as Republicans held the Four Courts the war against N.E. Ulster would be held against them by the Brits

At Winston Churchill’s dictation Collins shelled the For Courts with guns supplied by the British.

Rory O’Connor was taken prisoner and shot by the  Free State Forces on December 8 1922.

He sent out a letter from Mountjoy Gaol in August 1922.

Its full text will be given here presently.





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