Monthly Archives: December 2019

  • 1961 Telefís Éireann Launch - 31.December.1961

    1961 Telefís Éireann

    On this day in 1961 Telefís Éireann began broadcasting for the first time. It might seem strange in the present world but in the lead, up to the opening of Telefís Éireann in 1961 there was widespread opposition to the coming of television in Ireland.

    Those who didn’t oppose it were skeptical and fearful of the change that it might bring about. With this in mind Eamon Andrews, Chairman of the Irish Television Authority addressed these fears. Speaking at the Ninth Annual Summer School of the Irish Franciscans at Gormonston, county Meath Andrews allayed fears that television would result in the breakdown of rural communities. Instead, he argued that they would find ‘a happy place’ with television and that it would not result in ‘breeding a new race of square-eyed monsters’. The new television station would embrace religion and the Irish language, and that despite the claim that it would only show immorality and brutality, Andrews was confident that it would be a ‘home maker’ more than a ‘home breaker’. Originally intended to broadcast for the first time on Christmas Day 1961, six days later the opening address was given by the President of Ireland, Eamon de Valera, who himself had been openly critical and wary of the impact of television. Speaking to the nation de Valera remarked that:

    Never before was there in the hands of men an instrument so powerful to influence the thoughts and actions of the multitude... I have great hopes of this new service. I am confident that those who are in charge will do everything in their power to make it useful for the nation. And that they will bear in mind that we are an old nation and that we have our own distinctive characteristics and that it is desirable that these should be preserved. I am sure that they will do their part. And as I have said it is for the public now to do theirs.

    Download Source: Meath Chronicle 1897-current, Saturday, August 26, 1961; Page: 3

    Meath Chronicle RTE 31.December.1961

  • Sinn Fein a landslide victory 28.December.1918

    On this day in 1918 the results of the General Election in Ireland gave Sinn Fein Freemans Journal 1763-1924, Monday, December 30, 1918

    On this day in 1918 the results of the General Election in Ireland gave Sinn Fein a landslide victory which would ultimately lead to the establishment of Dail Eireann the following month.

    Support for Sinn Fein had grown steadily after the 1916 Rising and the introduction of Conscription in April 1918 as the British government looked to recruit more soldiers for the war effort. Even before polling day the push towards Sinn Fein was evident. On the closing day for nominations twenty-five Sinn Féin candidates were immediately elected, as no one had been nominated to oppose them. In addition, more than forty MPs decided not to stand for re-election. In Munster Sinn Fein took seventeen seats and who included The winners included such notables as Terence MacSwiney, Michael Collins, and Diarmuid Lynch in Cork, Austin Stack, Fionán Lynch, and Piaras Beaslaí in Kerry, along with Con Collins in Limerick. Only in the north did Sinn Fein face stiff opposition from unionists. There the Unionists won twenty-two of Ulster’s thirty-seven seats, with Sinn Féin taking ten, and the Nationalist Party the other five. In Leinster, Sinn Féin won twenty-six of the twenty-seven seats, losing only in Rathmines, Dublin, to Sir Maurice Dockrell, the Unionist candidate. Among the winners for Sinn Féin was winners Countess Markievicz, who by winning her seat in Dublin, became the first woman ever elected to the British Parliament. Reacting to the news of the victory of Sinn Fein, Sir Edward Carson stated that ‘as regards Ireland, the elections have cleared the air. The issue is between an independent Republic or government under the parliament of the United Kingdom. Every other alternative has proved to be a sham. As for Ulster, our simple demand is to be governed and treated as Great Britain is, and to share in the benefit of all of her laws’.

    Download Freemans Journal 30.December.1918

    Terence MacSwiney, Michael Collins, and Diarmuid Lynch in Cork, Austin Stack, Fionán Lynch, and Piaras Beaslaí in Kerry

  • IRA Christmas Raid - 23.December.1939

    ira christmas raid on this day 23.DECEMBER.1939

    IRA Christmas Raid - 23.December.1939

    On this day in 1939 a daring raid was carried out by the IRA at Ireland’s national arsenal at the Phoenix Park Magazine Fort. Known as the ‘Christmas Raid’, the IRA then involved in a sabotage and bombing campaign in Britain were determined to add to the military capabilities before the Irish government passed an Emergency Powers Act in Ireland which would greatly curtail their abilities. In what was a daring and well-executed rain, a total of 1.084,000 rounds of ammunition were taken away in thirteen lorries, without any casualties. However, despite their initial success in evading capture as they left the Phoenix Park., following intensive follow up searches most of the ammunition was recovered within two weeks. During searches the Gardai, aided by the army, discovered two and a half tons in Dundalk, County Louth; Eight tons in Swords, County Dublin, and one hundred crates containing 120,000 rounds in Straffan, County Kildare. In addition, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) discovered more ammunition in  county Armagh. As a result it proved to be a disaster for IRA propaganda and many of its members were arrested. The raid, coming as did two days before Christmas had caught everybody off-guard but the government reacted sternly. The day after the raid the Irish Minister for Justice, Gerald Boland, at an emergency session of the Dail introduced the Emergency Powers bill to reinstate internment, Military Tribunal, and executions for IRA members. It was rushed through and given its third reading the next day creating the Emergency Powers Act. The passing of the Emergency Powers Act was also enacted to help preserve Ireland’s neutrality during the Second World War and covered areas including censorship which were paramount to prevent the country being used by either side in the conflict.  

    Download Source:

    Irish Independent 1905-current Tuesday December 26 1939 reduced       Longford Leader 1897-current Saturday December 30 1939 reduced


     Irish Independent 1905-current, Tuesday, December 26, 1939; Page: 5;

    Longford Leader, December 30, 1939; Page: 5

  • Republic of Ireland Bill 21.12.1948

    republic of ireland bill 1948

    Republic of Ireland Bill 21.December.1948

    On this day in 1948 the Republic of Ireland Bill was passed and signed into law by President Seán T. O'Kelly at a ceremony at Áras an Uachtaráin. Under the External Relations Act of 1936 the role of the British crown in internal Irish affairs was removed, though the Irish state remained associated with the Commonwealth for external affairs. In the run-up to the 1948 general election it seemed as if then Taoiseach Eamon de Valera was prepared to repeal the External Relations Act, declare a republic, and keep Ireland within the Commonwealth. However, his party lost the election and the interparty government that came to power in February 1948, led by Fine Gael’s John A. Costello pressed ahead with the idea, although it came about in somewhat bizarre circumstances. On 1 September 1948, during a speech to the Canadian Bar Association, Costello criticized the External Relations Act and hinted that it would be removed. Then on 5 September the Sunday Independent reported that the External Relations Act was to be removed and that Ireland would leave the Commonwealth. Reacting to the news from Ireland, on 7 September, at a press conference in Ottawa, Costello confirmed the story that the External Relations Act was to go and that Ireland would leave the Commonwealth. The act came into effect on Easter Monday, 19 April 1949, the thirty-third anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The British government reacted by introducing the ‘Ireland Act’, formally recognising Ireland’s departure from the commonwealth. News of the Bill in December 1948 was reported around the world. In the USA Irish-Americans rejoiced, with the New York Sun newspaper reporting that ‘Eire at last is free’.

    Cork examiner 22.Dec.1948 download

    Source:  Irish Examiner 1841-current, Wednesday, December 22, 1948

  • Ireland's First Kidney Transplant - 19.December.1963

    Kidney Transplant Dublin

    Ireland's First Kidney Transplant 19.December.1963

    Musician makes progress

    At 4:40 AM on December 19, 1963, a kidney was procured from the deceased donor which, subsequently, was transplanted in the recipient during a 90-minute surgery performed by a medical team including Drs. F.A. Duff, J.P. McMullin, M.P. Brady, Cahill, and F.P. Muldowney.

    The Evening Herald 07.01.1964 Extract:

    Mr. Ted Tobin aged 21, of Derry Park, Crumlin, who underwent a kidney graft operation on December 19th, 1963 continues to make progress at St Vincent's Hospital.
    Mr. Tobin is a wind instrumentalist who has won two gold medals at the Feir Ceoil.

    The Irish Independent 28.December.1936 quotes one doctor
    "A young male patient in St Vincent's Hospital, suffering from an advanced incurable disease of both kidneys, has recently been given a transplant of a kidney previously removed and refrigerated. Transplantation to the patient was satisfactorily effected by the operation which took 90 minutes"

    Unfortunately after 2 months, Mr. Ted Tobin rejected the Kidney and eventually died on 16.February.1964. Mr. Ted Tobin's body was donated to conduct a postmortem to advance medical knowledge.

    Download The Irish Independent 28.December.1963 & Evening Herald 07.January.1964

    Irish Independent 1905-current Saturday December 28 1963 Thumbnail              MUSICIAN MAKES PROGRESS

    Evening Herald 1891-current, Tuesday, January 07, 1964 Page 3

    Irish Independent 1905-current, Saturday, December 28, 1963

  • Downing Street Declaration Agreed 15.December.1993

    Downing street declaration 15.December.1993

    Downing Street Declaration Signed 15.December.1993

    On this day in 1993, the Downing Street Declaration was signed between the British and Irish governments. After almost a quarter of a century armed conflict, the declaration was seen as an important step on the road to peace. In the early 1990s talks between the leaders of the SDLP and Sinn Fein had led to the latter accepting the need for unionist consent with regard to the future of Northern Ireland, but despite this, the conflict still raged. In late 1993 the British and Irish governments wishing to go further than the Hume-Adams talks stressed that a number of things were necessary for a lasting peace. Led by John Major, British Prime Minister, and An Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds the Downing Street Declaration stated that the British government agreed to ‘uphold the democratic wish of a greater number of the people of Northern Ireland on the issue of whether they wish to support the Union or establish a sovereign united Ireland.’ For their part, the Irish government accepted that any attempt to establish a united Ireland would have to have majority consent within Northern Ireland. It also accepted that parts of the 1937 Constitution were unacceptable to unionists and agreed – in the context of an overall settlement – to change that document.

    Despite the optimism from both governments the declaration was not fully accepted by the leading political parties in Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein believed that unionists still had the right to veto any move towards reunification, while the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) argued that the declaration did more for nationalism than it did for them arguing that it had a ‘green tinge’. The IRA responded to the document at the end of December claiming that while they wanted ‘a just and lasting peace’ the British government would have to do more with the declaration to find a permanent solution.

    Download Source Irish Press 30.December.1993 Page 1 , 4 , 10-11

    Irish Press 1931-1995 Thursday December 30 1993 pg 1 REDUCED       Irish Press 1931-1995 Thursday December 30 1993 pg 4 REDUCED

    Irish Press 1931-1995 Thursday December 30 1993 pg 10 REDECUDED       Irish Press 1931-1995 Thursday December 30 1993 pg 11 REDUCED
    Source: Irish Press, Thursday, December 30, 1993

  • Ireland Accepted into United Nations 14.December.1955

    Irish Examiner 1841-current, Friday, December 16, 1955 join UN

    Ireland Join The United Nations 14.December.1955

    On this day 14 December 1955, Ireland joined the United Nations. In the intervening years, Ireland has played a significant role in the promotion of international peace and is the only nation to have an unbroken record of service in peacekeeping missions since 1958. Irish peacekeepers have served in more than twenty peacekeeping operations around the world. Emerging from the Second World War, neutrality meant that Ireland was somewhat isolated in international diplomacy. When the United Nations was established in 1945 to replace the former League of Nations, Ireland’s entry was blocked by the Soviet Union based on that wartime neutrality. On 14 December 1955 as the 10th Assembly drew to a close, Ireland was admitted as the 63rd member of the United Nations. News of Ireland’s entry was greeted by praise around the world. Messages of support were sent from the USA, Canada, Australia, India, Turkey, Sweden, Israel, Pakistan, and others. The US Secretary of State congratulated Ireland and noted the long associations between the two countries writing that:
    I am pleased to have the opportunity to express the deep gratification of the United States that the long-overdue entry of your country into the United Nations has at last taken place. I know that the participation of Ireland in the work of the United Nations will add greatly to the effectiveness and the influence of the organisation.
    India’s Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru declared that ‘the presence of Ireland in this world organisation will further the cause of peace’. In welcoming the news, Liam Cosgrove, Minister for External Affairs stated that Ireland would assist in peacebuilding across the world but would also maintain its individuality within the organisation.

    Download Cork Examiner December 16, 1955 - Ireland Join The United Nations 

    CORK EXAMINER 16.December.1955

    Source: Irish Examiner 1841-current, Friday, December 16, 1955, page 7

  • Ireland join the European Economic Community (EEC) 13.December.1972

    Ireland join EEC picture Jack Lynch

    Ireland join the EEC 13.December.1972

    On this day in 1972 Ireland joined the European Economic Community (EEC), now known as the European Union (EU). Having voted overwhelmingly in favour of joining the European Economic Community (EEC) news of Ireland’s entry was warmly greeted in Ireland. Entry to the EEC required a change in the Constitution, and so a referendum was held on 10 May 1972. The Fianna Fáil government and Fine Gael called for a ‘Yes’ vote, while the Labour Party, trade unions and Sinn Féin campaigned for a ‘No’ vote. Turnout in the referendum was 70.9 % and the result was an overwhelming 83.1% result for the ‘Yes’ campaign. In the lead up to the referendum An Taoiseach Jack Lynch commented that ‘the decision which the Irish people will make on 10 May will be recorded either as an unprecedented opportunity which we chose to grasp with incalculable gain, or which we chose to throw away with irreparable loss’. Not everyone supported Ireland’s eventual entry into the EEC and in late December 1972 the Sinn Fein party planned a day of mourning to mark the occasion. While many did not take to such drastic measures there were still apprehensions from almost every section of Irish society about joining the EEC. With the country’s economy dominated by agriculture naturally there were many questions still unanswered about how Irish farmers would fare once Ireland joined the EEC. Following the official signing of papers on 13 December 1972 by President de Valera, a European delegation visited Ireland learning about the Irish economy in depth. They also met with all political parties, as well as farming, commercial and industrial leaders. The official entry to the EEC was fixed for 1 January 1973.

    Download Irish Press 14.December.1972 - Jack Lynch & President de Valera sign treaty

    Irish Press 14.December.1972

    Source: www.irishnewsarchives.coom / Irish Press, Thursday, December 14, 1972; Page: 7

  • External Relations Act 12.December.1936

    Eamon de Valera External Relations Act 1936

    External Relations Act 12.December.1936

    On this day in 1936 the External Relations Act was passed by Dáil Eireann, a significant moment in both the development of the Irish Free State and of the political career of Eamon de Valera.

    It was the culmination of four years’ work in reducing British influence over Irish affairs by the leader of Fianna Fáil, since coming to power after the 1932 general election. The culmination of the 1936 abdication crisis in Britain, when Edward VIII signed an ‘Instrument of Abdication’ on 10 December 1936 was seized upon by de Valera as an opportunity to almost completely eliminate the role of the Crown, including the abolition of the office of governor-general. The Constitution (Amendment No. 27) Act 1936 was then rushed through the Oireachtas, amending the constitution by transferring all the responsibilities to other offices. he Constitution Amendment Act abolished the remaining legislative, executive, and constitutional functions of the monarch in the internal affairs of the Irish Free State. However, the External Relations Act confirmed his role in external affairs. As long as the Free State was associated with the other Commonwealth states, the king—recognized by them as ‘the symbol of their co‐operation’ and acting on their behalf for the purposes of diplomatic and consular appointments and the conclusion of international agreements—was authorized to act for the Free State for similar purposes ‘as and when advised by the Executive Council’. The External Relations Act, a variant of de Valera's theory of external association first set out in Document No. 2, was unaffected by the 1937 constitution of Ireland. It was repealed in 1948 by the first interparty government led by John A. Costello and marked Ireland’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth.

    Download The Irish Press 12.December.1936 Page 9 

    Irish Press 12.December.1936 EXTERNAL RELATIONS ACT 1936

    Source: Irish Press 1931-1995, Saturday, December 12, 1936; Page: 9

  • Irish Republican Army (IRA) begins The Campaign of Resistance to British Occupation 11.December.1956

    11.December.1956 IRA Border Raids

    Campaign of Resistance to British Occupation

    On this day in 1956 the Irish Republican Army (IRA) begins what it calls ‘The Campaign of Resistance to British Occupation’ also known as the 'Border Campaign'.

    As a result of the campaign, internment was introduced in both Northern Ireland and the Republic. The campaign which was primarily focussed on British army patrols and border posts ended in February 1962 because of a lack of support. Although lacking adequate support many republicans believed that the war was justified to keep another generation of activists engaged and to continue to oppose British rule in Ireland. Issuing a statement announcing the start of the campaign, the IRA leadership commented that they were
    "Spearheaded by Ireland’s freedom fighters, our people have carried the fight to the enemy…Out of this national liberation struggle, a new Ireland will emerge, upright and free. In that new Ireland, we shall build a country fit for all our people to live in. That then is our aim: an independent, united, democratic Irish Republic. For this we shall fight until the invader is driven from our soil and victory is ours."

    Perhaps the most famous incident of the campaign was the IRA raid on the village of Brookeborough in county Fermanagh on New Years Day, 1957. Although the attack was a military disaster for the IRA, it proved a major propaganda coup for the movement. On this occasion the IRA volunteers lost two men, but Seán South and Fergal O'Hanlon, were hailed as republican martyrs. The funeral of South in Limerick was attended by over 20,000 people while the pair became part of republican balladry with songs penned in their honour.

    Download: Fermanagh Herald 22.December.1956 

    The Campaign of Resistance to British Occupation’

    Source: Fermanagh Herald 1903-current, Saturday, December 22, 1956; Page: 5

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