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The Struggle for Irish Independence

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Danny Moran

on 2 March 2017

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Transcript of The Struggle for Irish Independence

Key Moments
The Act of Union 1801
- this took the parliament out of Dublin and placed in Westminster. Ireland had 105 MPs. These were mainly wealthy protestants who didn't care much for the ordinary Irish citizen
: - Wanted a change in the way the country was ruled
- Did not mean they wanted a clear break with Britain
- All supported a form of government in Ireland
The Struggle for Irish Independence
Who supported this change?

- The Home Rule Party (led by John Redmond)
- Sinn Féin (set up in 1905 by Arthur Griffith)
- The Liberal party in Britain were also willing to allow Home Rule
Secret society made up of a small minority of nationalists
Wanted an independent Irish republic
Willing to use violence to achieve independence
Had very little support around 1910
Most Protestants were unionists
They feared an Irish parliament in Dublin, believing it would discriminate against them
'Home Rule is Rome Rule'
They also feared that is would be bad for the economy as Britain was our main trading partner
Who were they?
- Mainly descendents of the Ulster plantation
- Some protestant landowners in the south were also unionists, but they made up a small minority
- Set up the Ulster Unionist party to fight for them
The leaders of each party around 1910
Edward Carson
Ulster Unionist Party
John Redmond
Home Rule Party
Herbert Asquith
Liberal Party
Andrew Bonar Law
Jim Larkin and the ITGWU
Jim Larkin was Ireland's first influential trade unionist
Set up the Irish Transport and General Worker's Union to represent the poorly paid workers in towns and cities
It had 10,000 members by 1913
1913 poster by the ITGWU
The 1913 Strike and Lockout
Larkin wanted to galvanise workers together and stand up to employers in order to get better pay and conditions. He was supported by James Connolly, who set up the Belfast branch of the Union
The scale of support for the union worried employers, especially William Martin Murphy, who was a prominent businessman in Dublin. In 1913, he demanded that all his employees either leave the union or lose their jobs
Larkin called for members to strike in
August 1913
Martin Murphy responded by locking out the workers, telling them they would not be allowed return to work until they left the union
James Connolly set up the Irish Citizen Army to help the workers, who struggled for 5 months before eventually giving in to Martin Murphy's demands. The union was defeated, and Larkin left for America
The Home Rule Crisis
Does this cartoon support Home Rule?
Give a reason for your answer
UUP poster c. 1912
The Parliament Act 1911
The Liberal party in Britain were willing to allow Home Rule in Ireland, after an election in 1910 meant they needed the party's support in order to stay in power. The House of Lords however, refused to pass the legislation, and had already vetoed it twice (1886 & 1893).

In 1911, the Liberals passed the Parliament Act, which meant the House of Lords could only postpone the legislation for 2 years

The Third Home Rule Bill in 1912 looked set to be enforced in 1914.
Q: How do you think James Carson and the UUP reacted to this?
Unionist Reaction
Over 400,000 people signed the Ulster Solemn League and Covenant in 1912
Organised by Carson and Craig
Said they would never accept Home Rule

The UVF was also set up in 1913 to combat Home Rule by physical force if need be
Nationalist Response
Eoin MacNeill established the Irish Volunteers to combat the threat posed by the UVF
Many were also members of the IRB
Irish Volunteer March
Eoin MacNeill
Ireland was now close to civil war. It had a strong nationalist movement that had been assured of Home Rule in 1914, while in the North, the Unionists were adamant that Home Rule was not acceptable
John Redmond, leader of the H.R. party, had agreed to partitioning the country with Carson. Carson wanted 6 counties, while Redmond would only agree to 4. This was the first talk of the country being divided
The Easter Rising
Planned and executed by the
Irish Republican Brotherhood
and the Irish Volunteers
Their military council was set up in 1915 to plan the rebellion, believing that England's difficulty in World War 1 was
'Ireland's opportunity'
Eoin MacNeill
and his loyal
Irish Volunteers
(those that refused to help Britain in the war), also got involved
The Castle Document
MacNeill had no idea that some of the most prominent positions in his Irish Volunteer regiment were made up of IRB men. The IRB knew they needed the 11,000 Volunteers to be onside if they were to have any chance of defeating the British

What do they do?
Joseph Plunkett,
an IRB man, forges a document that states the government were about to arrest the leadership of the volunteers. This makes MacNeill take action, and convinces him to join the rebellion. This was known as the Castle Document
The Aud
Roger Casement was sent to Germany to buy guns and ammunition for the Rising, which was to take place on 23rd April
The weapons were to arrive on
The Aud
at Co. Kerry, but was intercepted by the British navy
Casement was captured, arrested and later hanged
Eoin MacNeill, leader of the Irish Volunteers, had no idea they were infiltrated by the IRB military council
Joseph Plunkett, member of the IRB military council, forged the
Castle Document
to get the Volunteers involved in the Rising
Map of rebel strongholds in Dublin
Key points of the Rising
Set to take place on Easter Sunday, but rescheduled for Easter Monday, April 24th
The Volunteers and Citizen Army totaled 1,500 people
Focused on Dublin and Ashbourne
Key areas were the GPO, Four Courts, Boland's Mills, The Royal College of Surgeons and Jacobs Factory
The G.P.O. were headquarters, where Pearse would read the proclamation of a republic
Pearse reads the proclamation
“At 1am (Friday) the car came for me. I heard Connolly’s confession and gave him Holy Communion. Then I left while he was given a light meal. I had a long talk with (Captain) Stanley in the Castle yard,” he said.

“He told me that he had been very much impressed by Connolly and that Surgeon Tobin had been very stuck too by his character. He told me an amusing story he had from Surgeon Tobin. I don’t know if I ought to narrate it.

“Now the time appointed (2am) — Connolly was to be taken to Kilmainham. I had a few words. I said that the men who would execute him were soldiers — probably they knew nothing about him — and like soldiers — would simply obey orders and fire, and I wanted him to feel no anger against them, but to say, as Our Lord said on Calvary, ‘Father, forgive them’ and to say a prayer for them.”

‘I do, Father,’ he answered. ‘I respect every man who does his duty.’

“James Connolly was then brought down to the car and laid on a stretcher in it. I sat in the ambulance car with him and said a last word to him before they took him from the car in Kilmainham yard, He was put sitting on a chair and the order was given. They fired, and Father Eugene McCarthy, who had been in attendance on Sean McDermott earlier, went over and anointed Connolly. I had stood just behind the firing line. It was a scene I should not ask to witness again. I had got to know Connolly — to wonder at his strength of character and marvelous power of concentration. I had got to regret that I had not known him longer and now I had to say goodbye. All I could do was to return with a heavy heart and to offer the Holy Sacrifice for his soul. Now I thank God that I knew him.”
What do you think public reaction to this execution might be?
Results of the Rising
As a military event, the Rising was a failure. Most participants, including Pearse and Plunkett realised that they were fighting a lost battle, but felt the 'blood sacrifice' would endear more to do more
The execution of 14 men saw a tidal shift in politics in Ireland. As more and more were brought to Kilmainham Gaol and shot, public anger grew towards the British government
Home Rule no longer seemed enough. The British blamed Sinn Féin for the Rising, and so many turned to the party to lead them towards an independent state
Sinn Féin
Established in 1905 by Arthur Griffith
Wanted a 'dual monarchy' with Britain
Eamonn de Valera became leader in 1918 and Sinn Féin became a republican party
De Valera was also now leader of the Volunteers, and the only surviving leader of the Rising
De Valera arrested during the Rising
Later became leader of the Volunteers and Sinn Féin
Set up in 1919 as an armed wing of Sinn Féin.
Replaced the Irish Volunteers
Michael Collins was leader of the group until
Tried to disrupt British rule in Ireland enough, so as to force the British out of the country
Unlike today, the IRA had a lot of support. Many members were involved in the 1916 Rising and were former Volunteers or IRB men
The group used guerilla tactics against the British. This meant to ambush them and quickly retreat, causing maximum damage with very few casualties on their side
Key personalities
Michael Collins
- leading organiser of the IRA; Minister for Finance in the new Dáil
De Valera
- leader of the government
Cathal Brugha
- Official leader of the IRA
Tomas MacCurtain
- Cork mayor killed by the RIC in March 1920
Terence MacSwiney
- succeeded MacCurtain and died on hunger strike some months later
How to use guerrilla tactics
Who's who?
- Royal Irish Constabulary. Mainly made up of British loyalists
The Black and Tans
- British military regiment sent to Ireland to combat the IRA. Known for their brutality. Many were ex-soldiers. Some may have been prisoners released from jail
The Auxiliaries
- Officer corps that fought alongside the Black and Tans
Bloody Sunday
21 November 1920
The Civil War
Result of the Treaty of December 1921, which divided the country, and the IRA
Pro-Treaty IRA called the
Irish Free State Army
Anti-Treaty IRA called the
or Republicans
Irregulars led by
Rory O'Connor
took over the Four Courts in the summer of 1922
General Election
- June 1922. Most people voted in favour of the Treaty
This, coupled with an Irish Free State general being kidnapped in the Four Courts, convinced Michael Collins to attack the Irregulars and try to take it back
Who was for and against?
Eamonn de Valera
Cathal Brugha
Liam Lynch
Kathleen Clarke
Michael Collins
Arthur Griffith
WT Cosgrave
Richard Mulcahy
Main Events of the War
28 June
- Collins orders an attack on the Four Courts
Irregulars surrender within 2 days, and are defeated in Dublin within a week
Irregulars retreat to Munster, where
Liam Lynch
sets up the
Munster Republic
Irregulars use guerilla tactics against Free State Forces
12 Aug 1922
Arthur Griffith
dies of a stroke
22 Aug 1922
Michael Collins
dies following an ambush from Irregulars at
Beal na mBlath
This was 2 leaders dead within three weeks
August 1922 - WT Cosgrave
becomes leader of the Free State
Kevin O'Higgins
takes charge of law enforcement
Special Powers Act
passed allowing government have Irregulars killed for offences like having a gun
May 1923
- ceasefire agreed between both parties after pleas from de Valera
£30 million
of damage caused
600 dead
Cumann na nGaedhael
set up. Made up of Sinn Fein members who were pro-Treaty
and bitter for decades
De Valera set up
Fianna Fail
in 1926 for anti-Treaty members
The Cumann na nGaedheal government
Led by W.T. Cosgrave
Established the unarmed police force, an Garda Siochana
Established an independent judiciary
Helped farmers with credit by setting up ACC in 1927
Set up the ESB in 1927
The Hydroelectric Power station was built to provide electricity to homes along the western seaboard (1927)
The Electoral Amendment Act (1927) forbid people running for election if they refused to take their seat in the Dail
The Statute of Westminster, 1931
This was arguably the
most important
achievement of the government as it effectively allowed them to
dismantle the treaty
The Statute placed Ireland on an
equal footing with Britain
and ensured that we could pass our own laws
without interference
from Britain
Why did they lose the election in 1932?
The Great Depression of 1929 led to high unemployment worldwide
Teachers' salaries were cut and old age pensions were reduced. These were hugely unpopular and made Fianna Fail more popular
Fianna Fail
promised to:
- dismantle the treaty
- build homes for the poor
- improve pensions for poor people
Fianna Fail in power 1932-39
De Valera managed to dismantle many of the contentious issues in the Treaty. He got rid of the
oath of allegiance
, forced the
to resign, and removed the king as
head of state
by 1936
De Valera's government also formulated a new
constitution in 1937
Bunreacht na hEireann
Main points of the new constitution:
The Irish Free State was renamed Eire
The office of
was created.
Douglas Hyde
became our first President
The head of government now became
Articles 2 & 3
claimed control of the whole island of Ireland, but effectively didn't change the issue of partition
Eamonn de Valera
Sean Lemass
Key personalities
The Economic War
Fought over the issue of
land annuities
that the Irish government owed to Britain in return for loans they gave to Irish farmers to purchase land from landlords
Britain imposed tariffs on Irish beef imports, and in return Ireland imposed taxes on British imports
In 1938, the
Anglo-Irish Agreement
put an end to the conflict, with Ireland paying
as a final repayment in return for the treaty ports at
Lough Swilly, Berehaven and Cobh
The Blueshirts
Also known as Army Comrades Association
Supported Cumann na nGaedheal
Gen. Eoin O'Duffy became leader, renaming it the National Guard
Supported Fascism
Planned a march on Dublin in 1933, but were forced to cancel, losing them much support
Fine Gael
in 1933 by joining Cumann na nGaedheal
The Anglo-Irish Treaty
Full transcript