The first Dáil January 21, 2013Posted by doctorfive in Irish History.
Tags: Irish History, Oireachtas
Perhaps a fitting anniversary given discussion on the merits of (extra) parliamentary activity here lately. The first meeting of Dáil Éireann took place in the Round Room of the Mansion House on 21 January 1919.
Ninety four years ago today.
A revolutionary assembly by all accounts.
The Proclamation was ratified & Declaration of Irish Independence adopted
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 ensure peace at home and good will with all nations, and to constitute a national policy 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 ourselves 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.
You can add or subtract a few words there for a more contemporary feel. Now in it’s 31st incarnation, the Dáil has arguable more power, for now at least. 1919 also marks the first step on Gombeen man’s long journey to TD of course.
Cathal Brugha was elected Ceann Comhairle though replaced by Seán T. O’Kelly the following day. After fourteen or so sittings Dáil Éireann was declared a dangerous association by the British Government.
The RTÉ archive have uploaded a 1969 lecture from Professor Kevin B. Nowlan on the 50th anniversary and a short clip of Ernest Blythe, Robert Barton and James Ryan recalling how they were chosen as Sinn Féin candidates for the landmark 1918 election.
Conor McCabe shows how we got on since.