“Splendid News!”, says the King.

As the Irish Times reports

The original Anglo Irish Treaty document of 1921 has been made available to the public for the first time today in an online exhibition marking 90 years to the day since its signing.

The Treaty was signed in the aftermath of the truce which ended the 1919-1921 War of Independence.

The original document was acquired by the National Archives of Ireland from the Department of the Taoiseach in 2002 and has never before been made available for public consultation, either in its original form or online.

The online Anglo Irish Treaty exhibition is here, and includes a British Pathé newsreel on the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921, and reflections on the Treaty from a variety of contributors.

Here’s the exhibition’s introduction to the Treaty

The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, signed by the British and Irish delegations in London in such dramatic circumstances, established the Irish Free State as a self-governing dominion with independence in virtually all matters of practical government, together with complete control of its resources. Acquired by the National Archives from the Department of the Taoiseach in 2002, the Treaty has never before been made available for public consultation, either in its original form or online.

Until now.

A high-quality digital reproduction of this seminal document in Irish history is now available in our Document gallery and for an analysis of its physical format and diplomatic characteristics, please consult our ‘Treating the Treaty’ video

Its British counterpart differs in its typesetting and in the reversal of signatures on the signatories page as can be seen in the Document gallery while a high-quality .pdf version of the Treaty is available to download in the Downloads section.

We hope you enjoy consulting this document which has played such a pivotal role in the foundation of our State.

And at the Irish Times’ Politics Blog, Deaglán de Bréadún adds his thoughts.

The standard view now is that the signing of the Treaty was the right thing to do. With the benefit of hindsight, one finds it hard to quarrel with that view. British/English forces were leaving most of the island’s territory and, as Dev himself ironically proved, the means were there to obtain further degrees of independence later. In a strange way, Dav validated the Treaty he had opposed.

However, there were a lot of intelligent and sincere people who could not live with the compromise. They should not be dismissed out of hand as fools and extremists. There were arguments on both sides and everyone – apart from a few  fanatics  – wanted the best for Ireland.

, , , , , , , , ,

  • Los Lobos

    The more things change the more they stay the same. If Adams was the Michael Collins of his day and Paisley the Edwin Carson are we doomed to another 90 years of “puke politics”? Or is it possible that we learn that Nationalism (British or Irish) has no place in a modern democracy? Answers on a betting slip please.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I was musing about something a while ago.

    What the treaty contain over and above what was already in the Government of Ireland Act ?

  • Drumlins Rock

    What If…. Dev had signed the treaty….

    there’s fun speculation, would NI have survived 90 years with a less hostile neighbour, would Ireland have got caught up in WWII?

    The fools and fanatics did win out, possibly north as well as south, and lets not be so generous their own egos and warped ideaologies came before any real Ireland or Ulster, not the fantasy ones in their heads.

  • Alias

    Dev wasn’t hostile to British national interests. While Churchill might have enjoyed seeing a city without a single air raid shelter or any air defences bombed into oblivion by German planes, Dev saw that as a step too far. He didn’t mind paying huge subventions or tariffs to the UK and didn’t mind the Central Bank acting as an offshoot of the British state and buying up British government bonds while refusing to buy Irish bonds and didn’t even mind Guinness refusing to hire catholics in any role other than menial labour despite this sectarian practice persisting until the 60s. The Irish state might have been independent but it never acted independently of British national interests, oddly enough.

  • Cynic2

    “Splendid News” said the King, “We’ve got rid of them at last”

  • Cynic2

    If Adams was the Michael Collins of his day and Paisley the Edwin Carson are we doomed to another 90 years of “puke politics”?

    Adams was no Collins and Paisley was no Carson. Thats exactly why we are condemned to another generation of ‘puke polotics

  • aquifer

    “(Dev) didn’t mind paying huge subventions or tariffs to the UK and didn’t mind the Central Bank acting as an offshoot of the British state and buying up British government bonds while refusing to buy Irish bonds and didn’t even mind Guinness refusing to hire catholics in any role other than menial labour despite this sectarian practice persisting until the 60s.”

    He did not seem to mind thousands leaving for Britain either.
    Or boycotting trade with the North.

    Building the fiction of ourselves alone cost a lot.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    One small aspect I came across once is that the treaty terms covered all of Ireland but that Northern Ireland, as established by the Government of Ireland Act was allowed to ‘secede’ from the Irish Free State. This they did unsurprisingly but it took a couple of days so for a short while in December 1921 the Irish Free State was technically a 32 county entity.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Aquifier, I presume you’re referring to the Dáil’s trade boycott of 1920-22 (of specifically Belfast not ‘northern’ goods) and you also know it was a response to anti-catholic pogroms there and specifically the expulsion of over 7,000 catholics from their jobs in the city in the Summer and Autumn of 1920.

    However if you were to argue that it was counter productive (and largely inefffective) you might very well be correct.

  • Reader
  • Tochais Síoraí

    Fair enough, Reader – it extended later to a wider area (as did the sectarian killings and the workplace expulsions e.g. in 1922 the shipyards were cleared of any remaining catholics as well as ‘communists’ i.e. anyone who objected or might object to the catholics being kicked out).

    But my main point was that the boycott was a response to a desperate situation for the minority population in Belfast. You might argue it was hamfisted or wrong or both and I might agree but we have hindsight.

  • IrelandNorth

    If the Anglo-Irish Treaty, 1921/’2 was just that, what did it have to do with Wales or Scotland? And how come it was ‘moderated’ by a Welshman who was unduly preoccupied with a Dubliner/Leinsterman’s fixation with Irish/Ulster unionism? How binding was an agreement concluded under duress? The core dynamics remain unresolved. Solution: A provincially federated Ireland. In a Confederation of the British-Irish Isles. With an equally federated United Kingdom of Great Britain (UKGB) (England/Wales/Scotland). A United States of Great Britain and Ireland (USGB&I). In a libertine, egalitarian & fraternal Commonwealth of Nations.

  • Cynic2

    It was a wee bit more than 7000 catholics boys but to put it all in context

    ” During 1920 and 1921, the IRA made frequent incursions over the border into Northern Ireland. They often attacked the local Protestants and on one occasion managed to occupy 40 square miles of county Fermanagh for a week.

    Within Northern Ireland many Protestants scapegoated Catholics for the IRA violence and the expulsion of Protestants from their homes in the Free State. This resulted in a dramatic rise in sectarian violence and rioting, particularly in Belfast, although IRA violence was reduced once the Civil War began in 1922.

    Between July 1920 and July 1922, 257 Catholics and 157 Protestants were murdered in sectarian attacks in Northern Ireland. About 11,000 Catholics were forced to leave their jobs in Belfast’s factories due to attacks from Protestant colleagues

    Sorry to interrupt the MOPE but it was all wrong