The Irish Identity
Produced by Marc Conner Washington and Lee University (2016)
Prior to watching this series, I was totally unaware there had been a civil war in Ireland – between 1921-23 following Irish independence.
As Conner explains in this lecture Eaman de Valera (see IRA Leader Michael Collins: The Father of Modern Urban Warfare/) and most IRA officers rejected the 1921 Anglo Irish Treaty (approved by the the Irish National Assembly by 64-57 votes). They totally rejected provisions requiring them to swear fealty to King George V. As a result the IRA, the only law and order force in the Free State of Ireland split – with De Valera leading the so-called “Irregulars” and Michael Collins (the president of the Free State) the Free State Army.
When the Irregulars attacked and occupied four law courts in Dublin, Britain threatened to invade. This left Collins no choice but to order the Free State Army to bombard their former comrades with British-supplied munitions.
After Collins was assassinated in August 1922, the Provisional Government of the Free State of Ireland held military tribunals resulting in the execution of 77 captured Irregulars. The latter, who had no political base and little popular support, surrendered in May 1923.
This year for the first time in 100 years the two political parties representing the warring parties in the civil war will join forces, along with the Irish Green Party, in an Irish coalition government.
Fine Gael is a liberal-conservative treaty that grew of the pro-Treaty Provisional Government. Fianna Fail is the Republican Party founded by de Valera in 1926. They split from Sinn Fein when a motion to remove the oath of fealty to the the British monarch failed in the National Assembly.
The latter has been the dominant political party since 1932, when de Valera was elected president of Ireland.
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