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Lecture 12: De Valera’s Ireland

Lecture 12: De Valera’s Ireland

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Lecture 12: De Valera’s Ireland

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  1. Lecture 12: De Valera’s Ireland

  2. 1. The Constitution of the Irish Free State 2. The ‘Economic War’ 3. Threats to the state: Bluehsirts and IRA 4. Irish neutrality during the Second World War

  3. De Valera’s amended birth certificate

  4. Eamon de Valera (1882-1975) Born in New York on 14 October 1882 Reared by his grandmother in a labourer’scottage in Co. Limerick Won a scholarship to the prestigious Blackrock College in Dublin. A Gaelic League enthusiast. Joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913 Commanded the third battalion at Boland’s Mill during the Easter Rising Elected MP for East Clare in 1917 also 1917: president of both SF and the Irish Vols. born in New York on 14 October 1882

  5. Eamon de Valera (1882-1975) Rejected the Anglo Irish treaty Resigned as president following its acceptance by the Dáil. Released from prison in August 1923 May 1926: Founded the Fianna Fáil party 1927: took the oath of allegiance and entered the Free State Dáil. born in New York on 14 October 1882

  6. ‘With the change of government in 1932 came a change not merely of party, but also of style and substance. The workaday offerings and aspirations of Cumann na nGaedheal were dispelled, to be replaced by the republican mystique of Fianna Fail and the quirky charisma of its leader Eamon de Valera.’Jackson, Ireland 1798-1998, p288

  7. In 1931 Cosgrave’s government passed the Customs Duties (Provisional Imposition) Act. This enabled it to impose emergency import tariffs. • The measure was used only once by Cosgrave. • In 1931, only 68 articles were liable to import tariffs. • By 1937 the tariff net had been widened to take in 288 articles. • Just under 2,000 other articles were restricted through the application of a quota system.

  8. Economic War • The so-called ‘Economic War’ was a six-year Anglo-Irish dispute. • It involved economic, constitutional, financial and defence questions. • It began in 1932 when de Valera abolished the oath of allegiance and refused to pay land annuities to the British government.

  9. Constitutional Change April 23 1932: Constitutional Amendment (Removal of Oath) Bill. Passed into law in 1933. In 1935, the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act and the Aliens Act were passed. Governor-generalship abolished with the passing of the 1937 Constitution.

  10. External Association ‘The idea that Ireland would be associated with, but not a member of, the British Commonwealth. It was devised by de Valera as the basis for the Irish proposals during the negotiation of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, formed as the basis of his alternative to the treaty proposals, Document No. 2, and later found expression in his External Relations Act.’ Oxford Companion to Irish History, p191.

  11. Constitutional Change • The official state title became Ireland or ‘Éire.’ • The 26 counties became a republic in all but name. • De Valera kept features of the 1922 constitution of the IFS regarding the Oireachtas, the government and the courts. • There were a number of important differences.

  12. Constitutional Change • Article 2: defined the national territory as the ‘whole island of Ireland.’ In article 3 jurisdiction was limited to the 26 counties. • Articles 12-14 provided for an elected president as head of state with important discretionary powers. • The president of the executive council was replaced by the Taoiseach with strengthened prime ministerial powers. • Article 34 gave the Supreme Court power to review the constitutionality of new legislation.

  13. Constitutional Change • Articles 40-45 dealt with fundamental rights concerning family, education, private property, and religion. • Articles 46-7 provided for amendment of the constitution by popular referendum. • Senate abolished in 1936. The 1937 constitution revived the concept of an upper house.

  14. What’s in a name?

  15. ‘These provisions combined with marriage bars to women’s employment, the 1936 Conditions of Employment Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1935 outlawing the importation and sale of contraceptives, led to caustic judgements of de Valera’s perceived paternalism and failure to acknowledge the full contribution that women made to Irish society.’ • Ferriter, Judging Dev, p237.

  16. Article 40.1 • ‘The State recognises that by her life within the home, a woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved. The State shall therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties within the home.’

  17. The Constitution of Ireland (1937) was submitted to a referendum in July 1937. • It was passed by 685,105 votes to 526,945. • It became law in December 1937.

  18. Internal Security • In the early 1930sthe threat of extremism was quite real • The Army Comrades’ Association was a political movement set up by ex-servicemen from the Free State army in February 1932. • By January 1933 the ACA had a membership of over 30,000. • In 1929 Comhairle na Poblachta was set up. • In 1931 Saor Éire was founded. • Republican Congress formed in 1934 • IRA banned in June 1936

  19. ‘The preservation of Irish neutrality during the most terrible of the twentieth century’s global wars was not only the capstone of de Valera’s assertion of independence, but also the outgrowth of deeply etched beliefs about Ireland’s place within the world.’ Townshend, Ireland: The Twentieth Century, p151.