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Fianna Fáil in Power
Transcript of Fianna Fáil in Power
Learning Intention: The Origins of Fianna Fáil
After the Civil War de Valera and other Sinn Fein TD's refused to enter the Dail because of the oath of allegiance.
The policy was called abstentionism.
De Valera realised that this could not continue because Sinn Fein would lose support in elections.
When Sinn Fein refused to change its policy De Valera left the party and founded Fianna Fáil in 1926.
Shortly after Fianna Fáil was founded, the IRA shot Kevin O' Higgins dead on his way to mass.
Cosgrave brought in a law which stated that candidates in elections would have to swear they would take the oath when elected.
De Valera and Fianna Fáil were forced to take the oath and enter the Dail.
Fianna Fail now became the main opposition party.
The party then won the 1932 general election and formed a new government.
Fianna Fáil in Power
Cosgrave hands over power to de Valera
Dismantling the Treaty
De Valera was able to to use the terms of the Statue of Westminster to dismantle the Anglo Irish Treaty.
Between 1932 and 1937, he passed a series of laws that gave greater independence to Ireland.
By 1937, Ireland was a republic in all but name:
The New Constitution
Because of all of these changes de Valera had to write a new Irish constitution.
Bunreacht na hEireann. There were several new additions
In the 1930's there was still great suspicion between Cumann na nGaedheal and Fianna Fáil.
Each thought the other would destroy democracy. But Cosgrave handed over power to de Valera without any trouble.
De Valera and his government faced many challenges
Dismantling the Treaty
Writing a new constitution
Defeating the IRA and the Blueshirts
Fighting the 'economic war' with Britain
Building up the economy
1932 - 1948
De Valera abolished the oath of allegiance
He boycotted the Governor General and eventually abolished the office in 1937.
He removed the king as head of state.
The British government raised protests about these changes but could do nothing about them.
The name of the country was changed from the Irish Free State to Ireland
Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution claimed the right to rule over Northern Ireland.
The head of state was the President. The first President was Douglas Hyde.
The head of government was called the Taoiseach.
The state recognised the special position of the Catholic Church.
The new constitution was another step towards independence.
The IRA and the Blueshirts
When de Valera took over government he released IRA prisoners.
These became involved in clashes with C na G supporters, who were attacked for being pro Treaty.
The Army Comrades Association
An Army Comrades Association composed of ex soldiers of the Free State army protected Cumann na nGaedheal meetings from attack by IRA supporters.
ACA members wore blue shirts, and because of this they became the Blueshirts.
They also elected a new leader, Eoin O'Duffy, O'Duffy planned a march in Dublin in August 1933 to commemorate the deaths of Griffith and Collins.
De Valera regarded the Blueshirts as fascists.
He banned the march even though O'Duffy had no plans to start a rebellion.
The Founding of Fine Gael
The Blueshirts joined with Cumann na nGaedheal to form a new political party Fine Gael.
O'Duffy became its leader. But he proved to be a poor leader and he was dropped.
Instead he headed off to Spain with 800 supporters to help Franco in the Spanish Civil War. W.T. Cosgrave took over as leader of Fine Gael.
De Valera and the IRA
De Valera was also faced with problems from the IRA, members thought de Valera was not doing enough to establish a republic.
Relations between the IRA and himself got worse after its involvement in murders and shootings. De Valera banned the IRA and jailed some of its leaders.
The 'Economic War' - Relations with Britain
Soon after taking over the government, De Valera stopped paying land annuities to Britain.
These were payments for loans that farmers had been given by the British government many years before to buy land from the landlords.
De Valera's refusal to pay land annuities forced the British government to take action.
It put tariffs (taxes) on Irsih cattle being exported to Britain.
The Irish government hit back by putting further taxes on British imports into Ireland.
During this 'economic war' with Britain, unemployment rose in Ireland and exports of live cattle collapsed.
Farmers suffered badly.
The government confiscated their cattle when they refused to pay rates (taxes) and this led to clashes between farmers and the guards.
Anglo Irish Agreement 1938
The 'economic war' came to an end with the Anglo Irish Agreement of 1938.
De Valers agreed to pay a lump sum of 10 million punt to cover the cost of annuities.
The extra tariffs were dropped by each country.
The Irsih government got back control of the three Treaty ports. This helped Ireland to stay neutral during World War 2.
Fianna Fail believed in using protectionism to build up Irish industry.
Protectionism meant putting tariffs on imports to protect home industry from foreign competitions.
Sean Lemass the Minister for Industry and Commerce set up the Irish Sugar Company and Aer Lingus.
The policy of protectionism helped some industries grow, this increased employment.
The policy lasted for 30 years up to the 1960's when Lemass became Taoiseach.