Irish Newspaper Archive

  • Sean MacBride Awarded Nobel Peace Prize 10.December.1974

    Sean MacBride awarded nobel peace prize

    Sean MacBride Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

    On this day in 1974 Sean MacBride was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts on behalf of human rights, among other things as one of the founders of Amnesty International.

    In 1974 he was also Chairman of the International Peace Bureau and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, and had recently been elected UN Commissioner for Namibia. A prestigious award for MacBride and Ireland, it was even more so considering the journey he had taken throughout his lifetime. A son of Major John MacBride, executed for his part in the 1916 rising, and Maud Gonne, a republican and suffragette, MacBride had joined the IRA at aged thirteen. Active during the Irish War of Independence and the Civil War which followed, MacBride continued to be active in the IRA until the 1930s. Turning to the legal profession MacBride late became a member of the Cumman Na Poblachta party which formed the first interparty government in Ireland. Appointed as Minister for External Affairs, he also played a role in the establishment of the Council of Europe, and in the preparation of the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950. He was the co-founder of Amnesty International (1961), a non-governmental organisation opposing violations of human rights, which was granted the Nobel Peace Prize (1977) and the United Nations Human Rights Prize (1978) for services to peace. Among a host of other international positions which he held, from 1963-1979 MacBride was Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and was appointed to the post of United Nations Commissioner for Namibia with rank of Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1973-1977. Sean MacBride died in January 1988 and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery. Speaking about MacBride following his death, an Taoiseach Charles Haughey stated that he was ‘a statesman of international status’ and one who had provided enormous service to Ireland.

    Download: Sunday Independent 1906-current, Sunday, December 08, 1974 page 14

    DOWNLOAD Sunday Independent 08.DECEMBER.1974 Sunday Independent 1906-current, Sunday, December 08, 1974; Page: 14

  • Sunnigndale Agreement Signed 09.December.1973

    Sunnigndale Agreement was signed

    Sunnigndale Agreement Signed 09.December.1973

    On this day in 1973 the Sunnigndale Agreement was signed. Following the inability of the Northern Ireland government under Brian Faulkner to stop paramilitary violence and the reaction of the Catholic population to internment led the British government to suspend the Northern Ireland government and impose direct rule from Westminister in March 1972.

    William Whitelaw, the first secretary of State for Northern Ireland published a ‘White Paper’ in the hope that this would lead to a power-sharing arrangement between Nationalist and Unionist politicians. While some Unionists and Nationalists, including the SDLP, supported the Agreement, many were opposed to it. Among the proposals put forward during the negotiations was the establishment of a Council of Ireland that would involve Southern politicians and would have control over a number of areas including policing. The election to the new assembly resulted in almost two-thirds of the electorate supporting candidates in favour of a power-sharing arrangement. However, a majority of the Unionists elected, led by Ian Paisley's DUP and William Craig's Vanguard Party, were opposed to the proposals. Despite outright opposition by the more extreme Unionists the Sunningdale Agreement was signed and the power-sharing arrangement was due to be established on 1 January 1974. The Council of Ireland was to be a major focus of opposition by Unionists opposed to the agreement. They regarded it as a step towards a united Ireland. As a result, the Orange Order, the DUP, the Vanguard Party came together and form the United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) to resist power-sharing and the Council of Ireland. On 15 May the Ulster Workers Council called a general strike in an effort to bring down the power-sharing executive and the council of Ireland . Loyalist paramilitaries forced many workers to stay at home. Road blocks were established by Loyalist paramilitaries in many parts of the North. The power-sharing executive collapsed and direct rule from Westminster was re-imposed.

    Download: Irish Press 1931-1995, Monday, December 10, 1973 Page 1, 4 - 5 below:

    Irish Press Monday December 10 1973 Page 1 Sunnigndale Agreement                      Irish Press Monday December 10 1973 pg4 reduced                      Irish Press Monday December 10 1973 pg5 reduced
    Source: Irish Press 1931-1995, Monday, December 10, 1973

  • Eoin O’Duffy's Blueshirts Declared illegal 08.December.1933

    On this day in 1933 the Irish government declared the Army Comrades Association (ACA), later the League of Youth, but better known as the ‘Blueshirts, illegal. Led by Eoin O’Duffy, a veteran of the Irish War of Independence, the leader of Fianna Fáil, Eamon de Valera believed that the Blueshirts were a Fascist movement and were intent on the over through of the government. O’Duffy born in Monaghan in 1892, supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921 and served as a general in the Free State Army. When the Civil War ended, he was appointed Commissioner of An Garda Síochana. By 1933 he was the Chief of the Army Comrades Association and adopting the symbols of fascism and a distinctive blue uniform, which mirrored groups then prominent across Europe, posed a serious threat to the government. Organising a number of rallies across the country O’Duffy and the Blueshirt movement were in the ascent but when they planned a parade to commemorate Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith in August 1933, De Valera fearing a coup d’état banned the march. Despite the ban the Blushirts continued to attend functions and parade, particularly in rural areas. In September 1933 Cumman na nGaedhael and the Centre Party merged with the Blueshirt movement and formed Fine Gael, with O’Duffy elected as its first leader. Resigning from Fine Gael in 1934 O’Duffy turned his attention to Europe and in 1936 organized an Irish Brigade to fight for General Franco in the Spanish Civil War. Returning from the war O’Duffy watched closely the developments of war-time Europe but with his health, in serious decline, he would not become actively involved in matters. He died in 1944 and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

    Download Kerryman 16.December.1933 below:

    Kerryman 16.December.1933 Blue Shirts banned

    Source: Kerryman 1904-current, Saturday, December 16, 1933; Page: 11


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  • Charles Haughey Elected leader of Fianna Fáil 07.December.1979

    Charles Haughey Elected Leader @

    Charles Haughey Elected Leader

    On this day in 1979 Charles Haughey was elected leader of the Fianna Fáil political party succeeding Jack Lynch and seeing off his rival, the then Tánaiste, George Colley. Following the resignation of Lynch, then Taoiseach, the leadership race became heated with both Haughey and Colley battling for supremacy. Haughey’s election, and subsequent appointment as Taoiseach four days later, marked a remarkable comeback for a man who only eight years previous had been embroiled in controversy during the Arms Crisis of 1970. Born in 1925 in Castlebar, county Mayo, Haughey was appointed Minister for Health in 1977 a position he held until his election as leader of the party. A controversial figure Haughey was openly critical of partition and called Northern Ireland a ‘failed political entity’ at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis in 1980. Having lost the General Election in 1981 and receiving criticism from within the party, Haughey led Fianna Fáil back into government in 1982. After a period in opposition, Fianna Fáil were re-elected in 1987 with Haughey once more elected Taoiseach. After calling a snap General Election in 1989 Haughey formed a coalition with the Progressive Democrats. However, he was forced to resign in 1992 following allegations that the party has been involved in the illegal phone tapping of journalists. For the remainder of his life he was embroiled in financial scandals and was the focus of a number of tribunals of inquiry. Charles Haughey died in 2006 and was buried with a state funeral attended by President Mary McAleese.

    Download Evening Herald Charles Haughey 07.December.1979

    Source: Evening Herald 1891-current, Friday, December 07, 1979, page 1

  • Anglo Irish Treaty was signed 06.December.1921

    Anglo-Irish treaty

    Anglo Irish Treaty 06.December.1921

    On this day in 1921 after weeks of intense negotiation, the Anglo Irish Treaty was signed in London. Under the terms of the treaty the Irish Free State, consisting of twenty-six counties would have  dominion status, similar to Canada and Australia. The British government would take control of the so-called treaty ports to safeguard their defence interests and a boundary commission was to be established to consider the border with Northern Ireland.  The boundary was to be readjusted ‘in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants, so far as may be compatible with economic and geographical conditions’. Not surprisingly, the oath of allegiance to the British Crown caused considerable controversy. The treaty ended months of negotiations which had begun in July following the truce and the end of the War of Independence. Eamon de Valera led the Irish delegation but when a limited form of self-government was dismissed by the Dail in October, the negotiations appeared to be floundering. De Valera decided to send Arthur Griffith who was supported by Michael Collins, Robert Barton, George Gavan Duffy, Eamon Duggan and Erskine Childers as secretary. While the delegates had the status of plenipotentiaries they were instructed that any settlement should be brought before the Dáil cabinet before signing. On the 5 December Griffith and his team entered into final negotiation with their British counterparts but it remained unclear if a settlement could be reached. According to Michael Collins, the British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George threatened ‘immediate and terrible’ war if the agreement was not signed. At 2.20am on 6 December 1921 perhaps the most famous document in Irish history was signed.

    Download below:

            Irish Indo Wednesday December 07 1921 Reduced                                   Men who signed the treaty

    Source: Irish Independent 1905-current, Wednesday, December 07, 1921, pages 4-5

  • Peace Rally was held in Drogheda 05.December.1976

    Peace Rally was held in Drogheda

     Peace Rally was held in Drogheda, county Louth

    With the troubles raging in Northern Ireland and no end in sight to the tit-for-tat killing, on this day in 1976 a Peace Rally was held in Drogheda, county Louth. Using the symbolic River Boyne as its meeting point, more than 15,000 people marched in bitter cold calling for peace. The chief organisers, Betty Williams, Mairead Corrigan and Ciaran McKeown, were joined by members of other groups and well-known personalities, including the American folk singer and pacifist Joan Baez. Gathered at the new Peace Bridge on the River Boyne, Corrigan told the crowds that while everybody knew about William of Orange and the Battle of the Boyne , December 6 this year would be remembered as a day the Irish fought a new kind of battle.

    "This new kind of battle will replace all wars with peace, all hate with love, all sadness with joy and all injustices with justice,"

    she said. Calling for more support Ciaran McKeown stated that there was nothing in this world as political as an act of friendship. However, he warned that peace declarations and rallies were not enough. They must build a community in the North street by street and friend by friend to make a non-violent society. The Drogheda rally was one of a number which had been orgainsed across Ireland and Britain in 1976. Both Corrigan and Williams were later honoured for their efforts and received the Nobel Peace Prize for 1976.

    Irish Press 04 Dec 1976 Peace Rally

    Source: Irish Press, 6 Dec 1976, page 1

    #troubles #1976 #IrishPress #archives #library

  • 03 December 1925 Boundary Commission its final recommendations

    On this day in 1925 the Boundary Commission issued its final recommendations for the border between Northern Ireland

    Boundary Commission Final Recommendations 03.December.1925

    On this day in 1925 the Boundary Commission issued its final recommendations for the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. After much delay and negotiation following the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921, it was not until November 1924 that the commission met for the first time. The committee comprised of Eoin MacNeill (representing the Irish Free State), J. R. Fisher (representing Northern Ireland), and South African Supreme Court Justice Richard Feetham (for Britain), who was also the chairman. In the summer of 1925 the commissioners retired to London to write their eagerly anticipated report.

    However, a leak in the British Morning Post newspaper on 7 November 1925 suggested that the commission would recommend only minor alterations to the existing border. For the Irish government the leak was deeply troubling as it also suggested that the commission's report would recommend that the Free State cede territory to Northern Ireland. The disclosure led to the resignation of Eoin MacNeill as Irish boundary commissioner on 20 November. As a result, negotiations between the Irish, Northern Irish, and British governments were held to find an impasse. By an agreement signed in London on 3 December 1925 by representatives of the three governments, the Boundary Commission was revoked and its report shelved. The border between the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland remained as it had stood since partition in 1920. A week later the agreement came before Dáil Eireann and passed, by seventy-one votes to twenty, after a heated debate. The finalised agreement was later lodged with the League of Nations as an international treaty.

    Irish Independent 03.December.1925 Boundary Commission

    Irish Indo 04.Dec.1925 Boundary Commission

    Source: / Irish Independent, 4 December 1925, page 7

  • Kilmichael Ambush 28 November 1920

    Kilmichael Ambush Belfast Newsletter

    Kilmichael Ambush

    Cork was one of the most active counties in Ireland during the War of Independence, and the scene of the biggest number of casualties inflicted on the British army during the war. On 28 November 1920 an ambush at Kilmichael between Dunmanway and Macroom, seventeen auxiliaries were killed by an IRA flying column led by Tom Barry. Three IRA volunteers - Pat Deasy, Michael McCarthy and Jim Sullivan, were also killed following what was later claimed to have been a ‘false surrender’ by some of the auxiliaries.

    Having marched to Kilmichael in the early hours of the 28th, Barry’s column waited until just after 4 pm when a scout relayed the news that the auxiliaries were approaching in two Crossley Tenders. The first Crossley Tender carrying nine Auxiliaries, came round the bend into the ambush position moving fairly quickly. According to his own account, Tom Barry, dressed in a military-style uniform stepped onto the road from behind a low wall, put his hand up and the lorry slowed. When it was about thirty-five yards from his command post he threw a Mills bomb into the open cab of the Crossley tender. He also blew a whistle blew to signal his men to open fire.

    The Kilmichael Ambush was a pivotal moment in the War of Independence and in December 1920 martial law was declared in the four Munster counties of Cork, Kerry, Limerick, and Tipperary. In 1949 the Kilmichael ambush took center stage in Tom Barry’s autobiography, Guerrilla Days in Ireland. The issue of the ‘false surrender’ would come to dominate the debate over the Kilmichael Ambush and it remains a contentious issue within the study of the Irish War of Independence. In 1966 during the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising a memorial was unveiled at Kilmichael, the inscription on which read:

    They shall be spoken of among their people. The generations shall remember them and call them blessed.

    Irish Archives Newspapers

    Source newspaper: Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, Wednesday, December 01, 1920; Page: 6

  • Irish Volunteers formed Dublin 25 November 1913

    On 25 November 1913 the Irish Volunteers were formed in Dublin

    Inaugural Meeting of the Irish Volunteers 25.November.1913

    On 25 November 1913 the Irish Volunteers were formed in Dublin, a significant moment in the story of the Irish revolution of 1912 to 1923. Newspaper reports estimated the crowd to be in excess of 7,000 at the Rotunda meeting where speakers included Eoin MacNeill, Patrick Pearse, and the veteran Irish nationalist Michael Davitt. The genesis of the meeting was the publication of Eoin MacNeill’s article entitled ‘The North Began’ which laid the basis for the formation of volunteers in the south of Ireland, mirroring what their counterparts in Ulster had done the previous year.

    Importantly attendance at the meeting was drawn from every section of Irish nationalism, including members of the Gaelic League, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Sinn Féin. The speakers, representing the different sections of Nationalist opinion, declared that the movement was not an aggressive one, but was intended to unite Irishmen, and preserve, their rights and liberties. They swore to drill and to build a disciplined army, but to use it only for defensive and protective purposes, and not to seek to dominate. When Michael Davitt addressed the meeting he was ‘most enthusiastically cheered’ claiming that the new movement would include ‘people of every denomination, class and creed and shade of politics’.

    The meeting was an overwhelming success and Irish Volunteer company’s sprung up all over the country. To arm the volunteers weapons were smuggled into Ireland in the summer of 1914 during an incident known as the ‘Howth Gun-Running’. By the summer of 1914, the Irish Volunteer strength was estimated to have been close to 175,000. However, the intervention of the Frist World War and John Redmond’s call for Irishmen to fight as far as the firing line extended in Europe decimated the numbers. When the Easter Rising broke out two years later the Irish Volunteers numbered less than 10,000 in the country as a whole.

    Irish Independent 25.November.1913         Freemans Journal 25.November.1913

    Source newspaper:

    Irish Independent 1905-current, Wednesday, November 26, 1913; Page: 5:

    Freeman’s Journal 1763-1924, Wednesday, November 26, 1913; Page: 9;

  • Death by firing squad of Erskine Childers 24 November 1922

    death by firing squad of Erskine Childers

    Death by firing squad of Erskine Childers

    The death by firing squad of Erskine Childers on 24 November 1922 was one of the most high-profile and controversial executions of the Irish Civil War. The Free State government executed 77 anti-Treaty prisoners during the Civil War in a vicious and escalating campaign of reprisal killings. Childers, the man responsible for bringing the weapons to Ireland during the summer of 1914 for Irish Volunteers, was the home of his cousin, Robert Barton, in county Wicklow. Found to be in possession of a weapon, reputedly given to him by Michael Collins, Childers was sentenced to death.

    Childers, a vocal opponent of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, led an interesting and varied life. Born in London in 1870, in 1898 he enlisted and served in the Boer War in South Africa. As a writer he was best known for his novel The Riddle of the Sands in 1903.

    Childers settled in Dublin in 1919 and was elected to the Dáil in 1921 as a member for Wicklow. He was appointed Minister for Propaganda and was the secretary to the Irish delegation during the negotiations for a Treaty with Britain in 1921. Childers was sentenced to death and was executed at Beggars Bush Barracks on having first shaken hands with each member of the firing squad.  He is buried in the republican plot in Glasnevin Cemetery. His eldest son, also named Erskine, went on to become the fourth President of Ireland.

    Source newspaper: Nationalist and Leinster Times 1883-

    Source newspaper: Nationalist and Leinster Times 1883-current, Saturday, December 02, 1922; Page: 2

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