Thursday, 21 January 2016

21‭ ‬January‭ ‬1919:‭ ‬The Declaration of Irish Independence on this day.‭ ‬The first meeting of‭ ‬Dáil Éireann‭ ‬was held in Dublin to bring together all the T.D.s still at liberty to attend.‭ ‬Assembling in the Round Room of the Mansion House,‭ ‬those members elected the previous month in the General Election and not held prisoners by the British or on the run unanimously voted in favour of the Independence of Ireland.‭

Of the‭ ‬73‭ ‬Sinn Féin MPs elected only‭ ‬27‭ ‬TDs present,‭ ‬36‭ ‬were‭ “‬Fé‭ ‬ghlas an Gallaibh‭” (prisoner of the Foreigner) ‬including Eamon De Valera and Arthur Griffith.  

The Declaration was as follows:

Whereas the Irish people is by right a free people:‭ ‬And Whereas for seven hundred years the Irish people has never ceased to repudiate and has repeatedly protested in arms against foreign usurpation:‭ ‬And Whereas English rule in this country is,‭ ‬and always has been,‭ ‬based upon force and fraud and maintained by military occupation against the declared will of the people:‭ ‬And Whereas the Irish Republic was proclaimed in Dublin on Easter Monday,‭ ‬1916,‭ ‬by the Irish Republican Army acting on behalf of the Irish people:‭ ‬And Whereas the Irish people is resolved to secure and maintain its complete independence in order to promote the common weal,‭ ‬to re-establish justice,‭ ‬to provide for future defence,‭ ‬to insure peace at home and goodwill with all nations and to constitute a national polity based upon the people's will with equal right and equal opportunity for every citizen:

And Whereas at the threshold of a new era in history the Irish electorate has in the General Election of December,‭ ‬1918,‭ ‬seized the first occasion to declare by an overwhelming majority its firm allegiance to the Irish Republic:‭ ‬Now,‭ ‬therefore,‭ ‬we,‭ ‬the elected Representatives of the ancient Irish people in National Parliament assembled,‭ ‬do,‭ ‬in the name of the Irish nation,‭ ‬ratify the establishment of the Irish Republic and pledge curselves and our people to make this declaration effective by every means at our command:‭ ‬We ordain that the elected Representatives of the Irish people alone have power to make laws binding on the people of Ireland,‭ ‬and that the Irish Parliament is the only Parliament to which that people will give its allegiance:‭ ‬We solemnly declare foreign government in Ireland to be an invasion of our national right which we will never tolerate,‭ ‬and we demand the evacuation of our country by the English Garrison.

We claim for our national independence the recognition and support of every free nation in the world,‭ ‬and we proclaim that independence to be a condition precedent to international peace hereafter:‭ ‬In the name of the Irish people we humbly commit our destiny to Almighty God who gave our fathers the courage and determination to persevere through long centuries of a ruthless tyranny,‭ ‬and strong in the justice of the cause which they have handed down to us,‭ ‬we ask His divine blessing on this the last stage of the struggle we have pledged ourselves to carry through to Freedom.

A‭ ‬Ministry pro tempore‭ ‬[Temporary Cabinet‭]‬ was then selected to run the Country for the time being and attempt to bring effect to the Independence of Ireland so proclaimed:‭
Cathal Brugha was the First President,‭ ‬Professor Eoin MacNeill was Minister of Finance,‭ ‬Michael Collins of Home Affairs,‭ ‬George Noble Count Plunkett of Foreign Affairs and Richard Mulcahy‭  ‬in charge of National Defence.‭

On the same day 21‭ ‬January‭ ‬1919: ‬Dan Breen and Sean Treacy of the IRA carried out an ambush on an RIC escort at Soloheadbeag,‭ ‬Co.‭ ‬Tipperary.‭ ‬They were members of the South Tipperary Brigade of the Irish Volunteers‭ (‬IRA‭)‬.‭ ‬The cart the RIC were escorting was carrying gelignite for a quarry in the Soloheadbeag area‭ (‬about four miles from Tipperary Town and about one mile from Limerick Junction‭)‬.  In the ambush,‭ ‬the two RIC men,‭ ‬guarding the consignment,‭ ‬Constables James McDonnell and Patrick O'Connell,‭ ‬were shot dead. It was the start of the Irish War for Independence.

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