The World at War

Ireland 1922 - 1937

Ireland Timeline

1922December 6 The Constitution of the Irish Free State goes into effect. William T. Cosgrave becomes President of the Free State Executive Council (Prime Minister). Timothy M. Healy is appointed Governor General replacing the last Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Viscount Fitzalan of Derwent, as His Majesty’s representative.
December 7 Free State Deputy Sean Hales is killed and Deputy Padraic O'Malley is wounded in a Dublin shooting.
December 8 Justice Minister Kevin O’Higgins orders the summary execution of four Republicans taken prisoner at the Four Courts; Rory O’Connor, Liam Mellows, Richard Barrett and Joseph McKelvey, in retaliation for the murder of Free State deputy Sean Hales. The Cosgrave government executes 76 republican prisoners during the next six months.
December 12 Governor General Timothy Healy reads the Throne Speech to the Dail Eireann. The address calls for an amnesty of acts committed by British troops in Ireland prior to the truce ending the Anglo-Irish War.
1923February 1 Republican chief of staff Liam Lynch threatens retaliatory assassinations if the Free State continues to execute prisoners.
February 8 The Free State Defense Minister General Richard Mulcahy announces a 10 day amnesty intended to bring about a Republican surrender.
February 9 An explosion destroys a Dublin printing plant that was producing propaganda posters for the Free State Government.
February 11 Republican leaders announce their intention to continue the war until the country’s independence is recognized.
February 12 The father of Home Affairs Minister Kevin O’Higgins is murdered in Dublin.
February 16 Republican forces destroy a railway bridge and burn houses in Dublin.
February 22 Republicans attempt to burn down the office of the Free State’s revenue department in Dublin.
March 6 Free State forces capture Republican strongholds in County Cork after fierce fighting.
March 7 Eight republican prisoners are executed by use of a mine at Ballyseedy, County Kerry.
March 24 The Republican Executive meets in Waterford to discuss de Valera’s peace proposal. Chief of Staff Liam Lynch leads the opposition and the proposal fails on a 6 to 5 vote.
March 24 Catholic pub owner Owen MacMahon, his six sons and a barman are shot dead in Belfast.
March 28 The Irish Free State abolishes the workhouse system.
April 8 William Cosgrave founds Cumann na nGaedheal, a pro-Treaty political party.
April 9 The Shadow of A Gunman Sean O’Casey’s drama set in the tenements of Dublin during the Anglo-Irish War premiers at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.
April 10 Liam Lynch is shot and fatally wounded in a skirmish with Free State forces in the Knockmealdown Mountains of County Tipperary. Frank Aiken becomes Republican chief of staff.
April 14 Free State forces capture Austin Stack, Secretary of Sinn Fein and a member of the Republican Executive.
April 20 The Republican Executive authorizes Eamon de Valera to declare a temporary ceasefire effective April 30th. The Free State refuses to make concessions.
April 30 Republican chief of staff Frank Aiken declares a unilateral ceasefire.
May 14 The Republican Executive meets with the Army Council and decides against resuming the war.
May 19 Shots are fired at government offices during a Republican riot in Dublin. Free State forces use machine guns to suppress the violence.
May 24 Republican chief of staff Frank Aiken orders his troops to cease fire and dump arms. Eamon de Valera concedes defeat, “Military victory must be allowed to rest for the moment with those who have destroyed the Republic.” Free State forces roundup 11,316 Republicans for internment. The Civil War ends leaving over 927 people dead including 77 executed by the Free State.
May 28 The Government introduces a land reform bill in the Dail Eireann calling for the expenditure of £125,000,000 to allow tenant farmers to purchase their lands.
June 22 The Northern Ireland Education Act establishes non-denominational schools. The Act is opposed by Presbyterians and boycotted by Catholics.
July 16 The Irish Free State establishes a film censorship board.
August 8 The Free State establishes the Garda Siochana (Civic Guard) as an unarmed police force.
August 14 Eamon de Valera is arrested while campaigning for election to the Dail Eireann in Ennis, County Clare. Patrick Rutledge takes over as head of Sinn Fein while de Valera is held in Kilmainham Jail.
August 27 General election – William Cosgrave’s Pro-Treaty Cumann na nGaedheal wins 63 seats in the Dail Eireann. Republicans win 44 seats but refuse to take the Oath of Allegiance and are not permitted to take their seats.
CUMANN na nGAEDHEAL - 39.0 - 63
REPUBLICANS - 27.4 - 44
FARMERS - 12.1 - 15
LABOUR - 10.6 - 14
September 10 The Irish Free State is admitted to membership in the League of Nations.
November 14 William Butler Yeats is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, “for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation.”
December The Irish Free State releases 3,481 Republican prisoners in Christmas amnesty but 1,866 including five members of the Dail Eireann remain in custody.
Republican protestors occupy the chancery of Dublin’s Catholic archbishop.
During the Year James Larkin is paroled from a New York prison where he served 3 years of 10 year sentence for criminal syndicalism. Larkin returns to Ireland and is expelled from the Irish General and Transport Workers’ Union after campaigning for a more forceful effort on behalf of socialism. Northern Ireland makes primary school attendance compulsory.
Northern Ireland makes Ether drinking a criminal offence.
1924January 16 The Public Safety Act is reauthorized until 31 January 1925. The Government of the Irish Free State is empowered to suspend the right of habeas corpus.
February 1 The British and Free State members of the Irish Boundary Commission meet for the first time. Northern Ireland ignores the Anglo-Irish Treaty and refuses to appoint a commissioner insisting that it is entitled to the six counties under the Government of Ireland Act of 1920. The Free State claims the counties of Tyrone and Fermanagh, the city of Derry and the southern portions of counties Down and Armagh where Catholics and Nationalists are in the majority. The Commission adjourns after a month of fruitless negotiations.
March The Free State Army continues demobilization. The ranks fall to 20,000 men.
March 6-19 The Free State Army, “mutinies”, dissident officers demand the suspension of demobilization to alleviate unemployment. Two Government ministers and three senior officers resign following the arrest of some mutineers.
April The Constitutional Republican opposition forms in the Dail Eireann under the leadership of former Minister of Industry and Commerce Joseph McGrath who resigned in support of the army mutiny.
June The British Government appoints a justice of the South African Supreme Court to chair the Irish Boundary Commission and refers the question Northern Ireland’s refusal to appoint a commissioner to Judicial Committee of the Privy Council for adjudication.
July 16 Eamon de Valera is released from internment by the Free State government.
August Northern Ireland appoints a member to the Irish Boundary Commission after the British Government introduces legislation in the House of Commons authorizing it to appoint a member on behalf of Northern Ireland.
September 15 The first radio broadcasting station in Ireland,2BE,is opened in Belfast by the British Broadcasting Corporation.
October 25 The Northern Ireland Government orders the expulsion of the Sinn Fein candidate for West Belfast’s seat in the British House of Commons, Eamon de Valera.
October 29 Joseph McGrath, leader of the Constitutional Republicans, resigns his seat in the Dail Eireann.
November 4 British general election - Unionists sweep the 13 Northern Ireland seats at stake and sit with the Conservatives in the Westminster House of Commons.
November Eamon de Valera is arrested for illegally entering Northern Ireland and held in solitary confinement at Belfast Prison for a month.
December 8 The Dail Eireann approves the amalgamation of all internal railways under a single operating entity, the Grand Southern Railway.
December Northern Ireland’s member fails to appear for a meeting of the Irish Boundary Commission after Prime Minister James Craig rejects the Free State’s contention that the Anglo-Irish Treaty authorizes the commission to make major changes in the boundary. During the Year
The Free State issues the first Irish passports.
Influenza kills 2,073 people in the Irish Free State .
Ernest Blythe (Free State Minister for Finance) grants £1,000 to the Abbey Theatre, making it the first state-funded theatre in the English-speaking world.
A Davis Cup tennis team is the first international sporting team to compete for the Irish Free State.
1925March 11 By-elections are held in the Irish Free State to fill the vacancies created when 9 members of the Dail Eireann resigned to protest a perceive weakness on the part of the Cosgrave government in its dealings with Great Britain. The government candidates win 7 of the 9 contested seats.
April 3 General election in Northern Ireland – James Craig’s Unionist Party retains power despite a loss of 7 seats. Members are elected by portional representation under the single transferable vote system for the last time. Two constituencies, accounting for 11 of the 52 seats, do not vote because they have the same number of candidates as seats.
July 20 Edward O'Brien arrives in Dún Laoghaire at 4.30 p.m becoming the first Irishman to circumnavigate the globe in his own yacht. The trip ends two years to the day after O’Brien left intending to go only to New Zealand to join a mountaineering party.
December 3 The Irish Free State and Great Britain agree to accept the boundary between the Free State and Northern Ireland as fixed in the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty and to shelve the Report of the Boundary Commission. The agreement relieves the Irish Free State of responsibility for debts and pension liabilities arising from the First World War and relieves Great Britain of any responsibility for damages arising from disorders in the Irish Free State after January 21, 1919.
December 10 George Bernard Shaw is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, “for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty.”
During the Year The Treasonable Offences Act aka, “the Murder Bill”, is passed by the Dail Eireann with the abstention of Sinn Fein members. The Act prescribes the death penalty as punishment for, “levying war against the State.” Construction of the Ardnacrusha hydroelectric project on the River Shannon begins.
Peadar O'Donnell begins a campaign to abolish land annuities.
The Dublin Metropolitan Police merges with the Gárda Síochána
1926January 1 Douglas Hyde opens the Irish Free State’s first broadcasting station, 2RN, in Dublin. The radio service is operated by the Department of Posts and Telegraph and finance by a license fee of £1 per receiver.
February 11 The Plough and the Stars by Sean O’Casey premiers at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre. The audience led by Hanna Sheehy Skeffington erupts in riotous disapproval of O’Casey’s portrayal of Patrick Pearse and the Irish Citizen Army. William Butler Yeats tells the audience, “You have disgraced yourselves again.”
March 11 Eamon de Valera calls on Sinn Fein to accept the Free State constitution and return to electoral politics contingent on the abolition of the Oath of Allegiance. The party congress defeats the proposal by a vote of 223 to 218 and de Valera resigns as party president.
March 23 De Valera establishes his own constitutional party, Fianna Faill (Soldiers of Destiny).
April 18 A census of the Irish Free State reports its inhabitants number 2,971,922, a decline of 167,766 (5.3%) since the previous census in 1911.
The Irish Free State’s residents include 2,751,269 Roman Catholics, 164,215 Anglicans (Church of Ireland), 32,429 Presbyterians, 10,663 Methodists and 13,416 members of other faiths. The Protestant population has declined by 106,000 (32.5%) since the 1911 census. A census of Northern Ireland reports its inhabitants number 1,256,561 an increase of 5,791 (0.46%) since the previous census in 1911.
Northern Ireland’s residents include 420,428 Roman Catholics, 393,374 Presbyterians, 338,724 Anglicans (Church of Ireland), 49,554 Methodists and 54,481 members of other faiths.
September 12 The National Labour Party is established under the leadership of William Redmond.
November 24 Eamon de Valera is elected president at the first convention of the Fianna Fail Party.
During the Year Amhran na bhFiann (A Soldier's Song) words by Peadar Kearny with music by Patrick Heeney is adopted as the Irish National Anthem.
Easter lily commemorations are initiated by Cumann na mBan.
Primary school attendance becomes compulsory in the Irish Free State.
Betting shops are introduced in the Irish Free State.
1927June 9 General election: Prime Minister Cosgrave’s ruling Cumann na nGaedheal remains the largest party in the Dail Eireann with 47 seats. Eamon de Valera’s Fianna Fail Party wins 44 seats in its first electoral contest but the members refuse to take the Oath of Allegiance to the Crown and are ejected from the chamber.
CUMANN na nGAEDHEAL - 27.4 - 47
FIANNA FAIL - 26.2 - 44
LABOUR - 12.6 - 22
FARMERS - 8.9 - 11 NATIONAL LABOUR - 7.3 - 8
SINN FEIN - 3.6 - 5
June 23 The new Dail is organized without incident. Cosgrave forms a coalition cabinet with members of the Farmers Party. The government introduces a measure requiring future candidates for elective office to affirm their willingness to take the Oath of Allegiance prior to being placed on the ballot.
July 10 The Irish Free State’s Minister of Justice, Kevin O’Higgins, is assassinated near his home in Blackrock, Dublin while walking to church.
July 15 Constance Markievicz dies in Dublin at age 59
August 11 Fianna Fail members agree to take the Oath of Allegiance and their seats in the Dail Eireann.
The Irish Free State Electricity Supply Board is established.
August 12 Eamon de Valera leads Fianna Fail members into the Dail Eireann. He signs the book containing the Oath but declares, “I am not prepared to take an oath. I am not going to take an oath. I am prepared to put my name down in this book in order to get permission to go into the Dail, but it has no other significance.”
August 16 The Cosgrave government survives a no confidence resolution by a vote of 71 to 70 with the Speaker cast the deciding vote.
September 15 General election: Cumann na nGaedheal gains seats at the expense of its coalition partners but falls short of a majority. Fianna Fail makes gains at the expense of the other opposition parties.
CUMANN na nGAEDHEAL - 38.6 - 62 - +15
FIANNA FAIL - 35.2 - 57 - +13
LABOUR - 9.1 - 13 - -9
FARMERS - 6.4 - 6 - -5
NATIONAL LABOUR - 1.6 - 1 - -7
October 12 The Dail Eireann reelects William Cosgrave as prime minister by a vote of 76 to 70.
During the Year De Valera presents a petition calling for a referendum on abolition of the Oath of Allegiance. The petition has more than enough signatures under article 48 of the constitution but is rejected by the government.
Frederick A. Sterling, the first American Minister to Ireland, arrives in Dublin. The Board of Works rents the former residence of the British Chief Secretary for Ireland to the United States Government for a penny a year. The Phoenix Park home built in 1776 houses both minister’s residence and legation offices until 1949 when the mission is upgraded to ambassadorial status and separate embassy offices are built.
1928February 1 James McNeill takes office as Governor General of the Irish Free State.
April 12 Colonel James C. Fitzmaurice of Dublin and German aviators Captain Herman Koehl and Baron Ehrenfreid Guenther Von Huenefeld take off from Baldonnel Airport in the single engine Junkers W-33 monoplane Bremen at 0538 GMT bound for New York.
April 13 The Bremen crash lands at 1808 GMT on frozen lake on Greenly Island, Canada several hundred miles short of its original destination but nevertheless completing the first east to west crossing of the Atlantic by air.
May 3 Fianna Fáil presents a petition calling for referendum on the Oath of Allegiance issue. The Government rejects it and amends the Constitution to eliminate the plebiscite clause.
July 30 Hammer thrower Pat O'Callaghan becomes the first person to win an Olympic gold medal while representing Ireland.
October 9 The Currency Commission of the Irish Free State issues its first banknotes. The £1, £5 and £10 notes designed by Sir John Lavery feature a portrait of his wife, Lady Hazel Martyn Lavery, posing as Cathleen ni Houlihan an allegorical figure representing Ireland. Lady Lavery’s portrait appears on Irish currency for the next half century.
During the Year The Northern Ireland Government foregoes annual renewal of the Special Powers Act of 1922 in favor of a 5 year renewal, “to save legislative bother”.
Whiskey production in the Irish Free State drops 36.6% to 560,000 barrels. Beer, Ale and Stout production in the Irish Free State drops 8.2% to 1,956,000 barrels.
1929January 9 Micheal MacWhite is appointed Minister to Washington by the Irish Free State.
February 5 Eamon de Valera is arrested in Armagh for violating the Northern Ireland Government’s exclusion order and spends a month in prison.
February 22 The Dail Eireann ratifies the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact over the opposition of the Fianna Fail Party.
April 16 Northern Ireland abandons proportional representation in parliamentary elections. Prime Minister Craig declares that people do not understand the danger of making mistakes under the system. Critics charge that the change is designed to allow the regime to secure its hold on power through gerrymandering of electoral districts.
May 22 General Election in Northern Ireland: Members are elected single member districts except for 4 representatives of Queen’s University who continue to be chosen by proportional representation.
July 16 The Censorship of Publications Act requires that all books, newspapers and periodicals entering or published in the Irish Free State to be submitted for censorship by a 5 member board appointed by the Minister of Justice. Publications advocating birth control are specifically prohibited along with others found by the board to be, “indecent, obscene or likely to corrupt or deprave.” September
The Irish Free State pledges itself to accept the jurisdiction of the Permanent International Court of Justice at The Hague as arbitrator of international disputes. Signing the optional clause of the World Court statute is seen as a preliminary step to abolishing appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
October 21 The Electricity Supply Board’s £4,350,000 Ardnacrusha hydroelectric station on the River Shannon goes into operation. Household current is supplied to residential costumers for fixed amount based on the assessed value of the home.
During the Year The Irish Free State appoints Charles Bewley as its envoy to the Holy See.
1930January 15 Governor General James McNiell receives the credentials of the first Papal Nuncio appointed to Ireland in over 300 years.
February 12 The first Irish Free State Censorship Board is appointed.
March 27 The Cosgrave government is defeated by 2 votes when Fianna Fail and Labour Party members combine to defeat the Old Age Pensions Act in the Dail Erieann.
May 13 The Free State Censorship Board bans 13 books by English and American authors. Birth control is the subject of nine of the prohibited publications.
April 2 The Cosgrave government is returned to power after Fianna Fail and Labour refuse to form a coalition cabinet.
November 17 The Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes holds it first drawing. Three Belfast men share a prize of £208,792.
November 23 A guard at the home of Micheal Hayes, Speaker of the Dail Eireann, is shot by two men in civilian clothes. The Government attributes the attacks to resentment over the disbanding of the Defense Association, an army reserve organization.
December 31 The Mayo County Council is dissolved by ministerial order in the midst of a controversy over the appointment of a librarian. Opponents of the appointee object to the candidate’s lack of Gaelic language skills and Protestant religion as well as the Council’s disregard for local patronage practices.
During the Year The Irish Free State opens a consulate in New York.
The Irish Labour Party and Trade Union Congress is divided into separate distinct political and collective bargaining organizations, the Labour Party and the Irish Trade Union Congress.
Northern Ireland extends free general practitioner treatment and medicines to all insured workers.
1931May 1 The Land Act gives 150,000 tenant farmers full ownership of their land. The Government issues £10,000,000 in bonds to compensate former landlords.
September 5 The Irish Press, a daily newspaper funded by Eamon de Valera’s Fianna Fail Party appears for the first time. September 26
Saor Eire, a Marxist-republican party, founded by Peadar O'Donnell and Dave Fitzgerald and supported by the leftwing of the Irish Republican Army holds its inaugural conference in Dublin. The 120 delegates approve a manifesto calling for the abolition, “without compensation” of, “landlordism in lands, fisheries and minerals” and public ownership of transportation.
October 16 The Dail Eireann passes the Public Safety Act of 1931 by vote of 83 to 65. The Act authorizes the Government to establish military tribunals to try political crimes and to impose the death penalty for such crimes. Membership in Saor Eire, the Irish Republican Army and affiliated organizations is declared illegal.
October 18 The Roman Catholic bishops issue a pastoral letter declaring that the Irish Republican Army and Saor Eire are, “sinful and irreligious and no Catholic can lawfully be a member of them.” The excommunication order is extended to members of all organizations outlawed under the Public Safety Act. October 20
The military tribunal created under the Public Safety Act is established. The Government declares 12 organizations including Cummann na Mbam (IRA women’s organization), Friends of Soviet Russia, the Irish Labour Assembly, the Workers’ Revolutionary Party, the Irish Working Farmers’ Committee and the Women’s Dissent League illegal.
November 6 The Irish World, a republican newspaper, is suppressed by the military tribunal for publishing seditious articles.
December 10 The British House of Commons approves the Statute of Westminster granting legislative autonomy to the dominions.
During the Year The Electricity Board of Northern Ireland is established.
The value of Irish Free State exports declines by 18.6% to £36,276,000.
The Irish Free State ’s leading exports are: live cattle £12,669,504; beer, ale and porter £4,687,370; eggs £2,227,452; butter £2,086,035; horses £1,960,595 and bacon £1,216,430. 1932
February 9 The Army Comrades Association, later known as the Blue Shirts, is formed by Free State veterans of the Irish Civil War.
February 16 General election: Eamon de Valera’s Fianna Fail becomes the largest party in the Dail Eireann. De Valera forms a government with the support of the Labour Party. Pro-treaty forces fall into opposition for the first time since the establishment of the Free State.
FIANNA FAIL - 44.5 - 72 - +15
CUMANN na nGAEDHEAL - 35.2 - 57 - -5
LABOUR - 7.7 - 7 - -6
FARMERS - 2.0 - 4 - -2
March 10 The Irish Free State releases Irish Republican Army prisoners.
March 18 Provisions of the Public Safety Act of 1931 outlawing the Irish Republican Army in the Irish Free State are repealed.
May 20 American aviatrix Amelia Earhart completes the first solo transatlantic flight by a woman, flying from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland to Derry, Northern Ireland.
June 30 The Irish Free State defaults on a £1,500,000 land annuity payment due the British exchequer. The de Valera government notes that the 1920 Government of Ireland Act had authorized the end of annuity payments and that Northern Ireland had already discontinued them. The British cite Anglo-Irish financial agreements signed by the Cosgrave government in 1923 and 1926 as the basis for its continuing claims.
July 15 The Anglo-Irish Economic War begins. Great Britain imposes a 20% tariff on agricultural imports from the Free State in retaliation for the default on land annuity payments. Great Britain purchases 92% of Ireland’s exports. The value of Irish exports to the United Kingdom drops 60% over the next several years.
July 26 The Irish Free State imposes a 5 shilling per ton tax on imports of British coal and a 20% tariff on British cement, machinery, electrical goods, steel and iron.
July 30 – August 13 The Olympic Games are held in Los Angeles. Pat O'Callaghan retains his Olympic hammer-throwing title. Bob Tisdall wins the gold medal in the 400 m hurdles.
September 26 Prime Minister de Valera opens the 13th Assembly of the League of Nations in Geneva. The Irish Free State assumes the League presidency.
September The Irish Academy of Letters is founded William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and George Russell. The membership includes several authors whose publications are banned from circulation in the Irish Free State.
October 3 King George V accepts the resignation of Governor General James McNeill effective October 31st.
October 4 Unemployed Belfast Catholics and Protestants temporarily unite in strikes, marches and protests against inadequate unemployment compensation.
October 11 -12 Belfast police charge into a banned hunger march by Catholics on the Falls Road. Protestants on the Shankill Road riot in support of their Catholic fellow unemployed.
October 12 The number of unemployed workers in the Irish Free State totals 88,376 an increase of 291% during the preceding 18 months.
October 13 The British Government has collected £503,000 in retaliatory duties on Irish exports during the first 3 months of the Economic War. The Irish Free State has withheld £564,000 in land anuity payments during the same period.
October 14 The Government of Northern Ireland raises unemployment relief payments in order to avert a general strike.
British Labor leader Tom Mann is deported from Northern Ireland.
November 11 Armistice Day commemorations are countered by an Irish Republican Army march that ends in clashes with the Dublin police.
November 16 The Prince of Wales dedicates the Northern Ireland Parliament buildings at Stormont.
November 26 Donal Buckley, a fervent republican and supporter of de Valera, is appointed Governor General of the Irish Free State.
November William Bourn an Irish-American donates a 10,000 acre estate including the Lakes of Killarney to the Irish Free State for use as a national park.
December 24 The Pearse-Connolly Hall on the farm of Leitrim Communist Jim Gralton is destroyed by arsonists. Gralton is served with a deportation order as an undesirable alien but goes on the run, and addresses several meetings asking for a fair trial.
During the Year William Norton is elected leader of the Labour Party under Norton the Party breaks with the Second International and seeks to reconcile its program with Catholic social teachings.
Louie Bennett becomes the first female president of the Irish Trade Union Congress.
The Control of Manufactures Act requires Irish citizens to control the majority of shares in manufacturing companies operating in the Free State.
The value of Irish Free State exports decline by £10,473,194 (28.9%). Export earnings from cattle drop 31%, beer, ale & porter 15.7%, eggs 24.9%, horses 34%. Export earnings from butter increase 3.3%.
1933January 1 The Labour Party withdraws its support for the de Valera government to protest a cut in civil service salaries.
January 8 Several thousand Republicans breakup a meeting of William Cosgrave’s Cumann na nGaedheal despite the presence of 700 Blue Shirts.
January 24 General election: Fianna Fail consolidates it hold on government. Cumann na nGaedheal remains the official opposition, Frank McDermott and James Dillion’s National Center Party wins 11 seats in its first election.
FIANNA FAIL - 49.7 - 77 - +5
CUMANN na nGAEDHEAL - 30.4 - 48 - -9
NATIONAL CENTER - 9.2 - 11 - +11
LABOUR - 5.7 - 8 - +1
February 22 General Eoin O’Duffy is dismissed as commissioner of the Garda Siochana. The new commissioner, Eamon Broy, recruits an armed auxiliary from the Republican ranks.
March 3 The Irish Free State informs Great Britain that land annuities previously withheld and placed in escrow will henceforth be used for the normal requirements of the Irish exchequer. The annuities in question amount to £4,660,000.
May 3 The Irish Free State abolishes the Oath of Allegiance to the Crown.
July 20 Eoin O’Duffy assumes leadership of the Army Comrades Association, renames it the National Guard and introduces the uniform that gives the movement its nickname “Blue Shirts”.
July 22 The Government of Northern Ireland declares General O’Duffy’s National Guard an illegal organization. August
General O’Duffy announces plans for Blue Shirt march past the graves of Free State martyrs Collins, Griffith and O’Higgins in Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery and on to Leinster House (Parliament). The Government invokes the Public Safety Act to ban the parade. De Valera suspects O’Duffy of planning to emulate Mussolini’s March on Rome and stage a coup d’etat.
August 10 Leitrim Communist leader Jim Gralton is deported to the United States.
August 11 The National Guard merges with Cumann na nGaedheal and the National Center Party to form Fine Gael (Family of Gaels). General O’Duffy is elected president of the new party. August 20
The Irish Free State invokes the Public Safety Act to ban the National Guard.
October 23 Charles Lindbergh arrives in Ireland to inspect sites for a seaplane base on Pan American Airways proposed North Atlantic route.
October The Royal Ulster Constabulary arrests 34 men for alleged membership in the Irish Republican Army. No charges are laid against them, but after they are detained for several days the Northern Ireland Government enacts regulation 22b making it an offence not to answer questions put to one by a Resident Magistrate in private. The men are then charged and convicted of not answering questions previously put to them.
The Northern Ireland Government re-imposes an entry ban on Eamon de Valera following his nomination as a candidate for the local House of Commons from South Down.
November 16 The Irish Free State abolishes Appeals to the Privy Council and introduces a program of unemployment assistance.
November 30 General election in Northern Ireland: Unionists retain power. The Prime Minister of the Irish Free State Eamon de Valera is elected to the Northern Ireland commons from South Down but announces that he will not take the seat. Only 19 seats are contested.
IRA 1 Police in the Irish Free State raid the homes and offices of Fine Gael leaders seeking evidence of treasonable activity.
December 1 The Blue Shirts defy the Government ban to stage a march in Kenmare, County Kerry.
December 8 The Government bans the Young Ireland Association of the Fine Gael Party. The Young Ireland Association was formed by General O’Duffy to circumvent the ban on the Blue Shirts. December 17
General O’Duffy is arrested during an address to his supporters at an open air rally in Westport, County Mayo. December 21
General O’Duffy’s attorneys obtain a writ of Habeas Corpus and the Dublin High Court orders his immediate release. The Government then charges O’Duffy with incitement to murder Prime Minister de Valera and continues to hold him in custody.
During the Year The Northern Ireland Special Powers Act of 1922 is declared, “in force until Parliament otherwise determines.” Charles Bewley is appointed Minister to Germany by the Irish Free State. Bewley an outspoken admirer of National Socialism, virulent anti-Semite and Anglophobe uses his position to deny or delay visas to Jewish refugees seeking travel to Ireland.
1934January 15 Irish journalist and diplomat Sean Lester is appointed League of Nations High Commissioner for the Free City of Danzig.
February General Eoin O’Duffy is unanimously reelected as president of the Fine Gael party.
March The Dublin High Court frees General O’Duffy who is being held on charges of sedition and incitement to murder the Prime Minister. The Court upholds the right of the Military Tribunal established under the Public Safety Act to try members of the Blue Shirts accused of membership in an illegal organization.
March 21 The Fine Gael controlled Senate rejects the Government’s legislation restricting the wearing of private military uniforms and badges.
May 25 The Dail Eireann passes a measure to abolish the Senate.
May An explosion destroys the war memorial in Armagh, Northern Ireland. Police blame the bombing on the Irish Republican Army.
June 1 The Senate rejects the Government’s legislation calling for its abolition.
July The Free State Government declines an invitation to participate in the celebration of the Silver Jubilee of King George V’s coronation.
August Farm leaders organize mass resistance to the de Valera government’s economic self-sufficiency program. Farmers blame the virtual closure of British markets to Irish agricultural products on the protective tariff policy enacted by the Free State and refuse to pay their land annuities.
August General O’Duffy announces the formation of a Northern Ireland branch of the Blue Shirt movement to promote Irish reunification.
August 13 Cork police fire on a crowd of farmers attempting to stop a tax sale.
August 19 A Fine Gael conference adopts a resolution sponsored by the Blue Shirts pledging the membership to withhold payment of land taxes until the Government ends the economic war with Great Britain.
August 25 The Government of Northern Ireland bans General O’Duffy and the Blue Shirts from its territory.
August 30 Fine Gael’s Cosgrave faction forces a retraction of the Blue Shirt tax resistance resolution.
September 18 General Eoin O’Duffy resigns as president of Fine Gael. September 21
Prime Minister de Valera proposes formulation of an international human rights convention during an address to the League of Nations.
September 27 General O’Duffy announces that the Blue Shirts will reorganize outside Fine Gael and continue under his leadership. A portion of the movement transfers it allegiance to E. J. Cronin and remains within Fine Gael. September 28
Printers end a 10 week strike against Dublin’s newspapers. September
The Irish Free State supports the Soviet Union’s application for membership in the League of Nations.
December 19 The Dail Eireann approves the Irish Free State Citizenship Act abolishing the status of British Subject for residents of the Free State. The measure is approved despite the objection of the British Secretary of State for Dominions J. H. Thomas who maintains that the Dail lacks the authority to make such a decision.
During the Year Frank Ryan, Peadar O’Donnell and George Gilmore establish the short lived Republican Congress after IRA Army Convention splits between socialist and non-socialist factions. The Republican Congress calls for the establishment of a workers’ and farmers’ republic under Marxist leadership.
1935February 28 The Irish Free State bans the sale and importation of contraceptives and raises the age of consent from 16 to 17.
March 3 The Roman Catholic bishops issue a Lenten pastoral letter reminding the faithful that membership in the Irish Republican Army is forbidden by the Church.
March 24 The Government orders the Army to transport passengers in its trucks as the Dublin transit workers strike enters its fourth week. The Irish Republican Army offers to join forces with striking Dublin transit workers.
March 26 Prime Minister de Valera orders the arrest of 80 IRA and Sinn Fein leaders under provisions of the Public Safety Act following the wounding of two policemen in Grafton Street, Dublin.
The Government bans publication of the Sinn Fein party newspaper An Phoblacht (The Republic).
April Death of Cuchulainn, a sculpture by Oliver Sheppard is installed in the Dublin General Post Office as a memorial to the 1916 Rising.
May 17 The Dublin transit workers strike ends after 11 weeks.
May General Eoin O’Duffy organizes the National Corporate Party and calls for the establishment of a Fascist state on the Italian model.
June 6 The Privy Council rules that under the Statute of Westminster dominions are no longer subject to British law. The Irish Free State is free to abrogate the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 or the Constitution of 1922 at will under the ruling.
July 12 – 19 Gunfire kills two marchers in the annual Belfast parade celebrating the victory of William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. A Protestant mob breaks through police lines and invades the city’s Catholic district forcing 3,000 people to flee their homes. Eleven people are killed, 574 injured and claims for property damage filed with the city top £100,000 by the time order is restored. July
British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin rejects a call by the Roman Catholic bishop of Belfast for an official inquiry into conditions in Northern Ireland which sparked sectarian rioting in the city.
September Prime Minister de Valera supports Great Britain’s call for League of Nations sanctions against Italy for invading Ethiopia declaring it a necessary measure to maintain the League as an effective guardian of the rights of small nations. Fine Gael leader William Cosgrave criticizes de Valera for not demanding compensation in return for his support. Frank McDermott resigns from Fine Gael to protest the party’s attack on de Valera’s Ethiopia policy.
November 8 The Dail Eireann approves sanctions against Italy with only 2 dissenting votes.
1936February 19 The Anglo-Irish trade accord signed in 1935 goes into effect allowing resumption of Irish cattle exports to Britain which have been almost completely shut off for since the Irish Government’s repudiation of land annuity payments in 1932. March 23
Retired Vice-Admiral Henry Somerville is murdered at his country house in County Cork. The killers leave cards stating that Somerville was assassinated for helping Irish youths to enlist in the British forces.
March The Irish Government adopts a policy of non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War. The Roman Catholic bishops issue a pastoral letter declaring that General Franco’s Nationalists are, “fighting the battle of Christendom against the subversive powers of communism.”
May 23 A Commission of Inquiry appointed by the British National Council for Civil Liberties declares that the Government of Northern Ireland has used the Special Powers Act of 1922 to suppress representative government and abrogate, “the rule of law and the liberty of subject.” The Commission further declares that the Government had used self-conferred powers, “toward securing the domination of one particular political faction and, at the same time, curtailing the lawful activities of its opponents.”
May 26 Northern Ireland Home Affairs Minister Sir Dawson Bates characterizes the report of the National Council for Civil Liberties as inaccurate and misleading. Bates declares his government’s use of the Special Powers Act a necessary means to end, “a state of anarchy and an organized criminal overthrow all lawful authority” by “various disloyal, illegal organizations”.
May 27 A six seat De Havilland 84 Dragon biplane, EI-ABI, is named “Iolar” (eagle) makes the first Aer Lingus flight from Dublin's Baldonnel airfield to Bristol, England.
May 28 The Dail Eireann overrides a Senate veto to approve a bill abolishing the later chamber.
June The Irish Republican Army announces that it will hold an armed demonstration at the grave of Theobold Wolfe Tone in Bodenstown, County Kildare.
June 19 The Government of the Irish Free State declares the Irish Republican Army an illegal organization under the Public Safety Act. IRA chief of staff Maurice Twomey is sentenced to 3 years in prison for membership in an illegal organization.
June 30 The Irish Free State’s population numbers 2,965,854. The census counts 2,773,920 Roman Catholics, 145,030 Anglicans (Church of Ireland), 28,067 Presbyterians, 9,649 Methodists and 11,754 others. November
Prime Minister de Valera publicly thanks the Royal Navy and the British Consular Service for its assistance to citizens of the Irish Free State endangered by the civil war in Spain.
November 13 General Eoin O’Duffy’s Irish Brigade of 750 men leaves Dublin for Spain where it fights in support of Franco’s Nationalists as the XV Bandera Iralandesa de Terico of the Spanish Foreign Legion.
December 12 The Dail Eireann accepts the abdication of Edward VIII but does not proclaim the succession of George VI. The British Crown is retained only for diplomatic purposes under the External Relations Act. The office of Governor General is abolished with his consent and the domestic functions of the sovereign are undertaken in various parts by the chairman of Dail Eireann Frank Fahy and by the president of the Executive Council Eamon de Valera.
December 16 Frank Ryan leads the Connolly Column, a contingent of 277 Irishmen leaving for Spain to join the International Brigades fighting for the Loyalists.
During the Year The Irish Free State rejects Lufthansa’s request for permission to use Galway Bay as a base for a proposed transatlantic airmail service to compete with that of Pan American and Imperial Airways. Government policies designed to promote self-sufficiency with high tariffs and subsidies to industry keep prices of manufactured goods in the Irish Free State about 25% higher than in Great Britain or Northern Ireland.
1937February 24 The Dail Eireann passes a bill prohibiting citizens of the Irish Free State from volunteering for military service in the Spanish Civil War.
February 28 The population of Northern Ireland numbers 1,279,753. The census reports that of these 428,290 are Roman Catholics, 390,931 Presbyterians, 345,474 Church of Ireland, 55,135 Methodists and 59,915 other faiths.
February Poet Charles Donnelly and 18 other members of the Connolly Column of the International Brigades are killed while fighting for the Spanish Loyalists at Jarama. The contingent’s leader, Frank Ryan, is wounded. March 15
George Bernard Shaw calls for a representative commission of enquiry into the Casement diaries in a letter to the Irish Press.
May 11 Anti-British demonstrations protesting the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth are broken up by Dublin police. People wearing British colors are attacked on the streets and movie theaters are warned not to show full length newsreels of the ceremonies in London.
May 12 The Government of the Irish Free State boycotts the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and the Imperial Conference in London.
May 13 An explosion destroys the equestrian statue of King George II on Saint Stephen’s Green, Dublin. May
General O’Duffy’s Irish Brigade is withdrawn from the Madrid front by the Nationalist army of General Francisco Franco. June 14
The Dail Eireann approves a proposed new constitution drafted by Eamon de Valera by a vote of 62 to 43.
June 21 General O’Duffy’s Irish Brigade returns to Ireland after service with Francisco Franco’s Nationalist forces in the Spain. July 1
General election: Prime Minister de Valera’s Fianna Fail remains the largest party in the Dail Eireann. CUMANN na nGAEDHEAL renamed Fine Gael remains the official opposition.
FIANNA FAIL - 45.2 - 69
FINE GAEL - 34.8 - 48
LABOUR - 10.3 - 13
OTHERS - - 8 De Valera’s new constitution is approved in a national referendum. YES 685,105 NO 526,945
July 5 Commercial air service across the Atlantic begins. The Pan American Airways S-42B flying boat Clipper III piloted by Captain Harold Gray departs Botwood, Newfoundland for Foynes, Ireland and Southampton. The Imperial Airways S.23 flying boat Caledonia piloted by Captain A. S. Wilcockson departs Foynes for Botwood, Newfoundland and New York. Prime Minister de Valera is on hand to greet the Pan American clipper on its arrival 12 hours later.
July 25 The Garda Siochana arrests Irish Republican Army leader Tom Barry in connection with the murder of Admiral Henry Somerville in March, 1936.
July 28 The visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Belfast is interrupted when bomb explodes a in a street a short distance from the royal reception party. The Government of Northern Ireland invokes the Special Powers Act to detain suspects without trial.
November 11 An explosion destroys a sculpture of the Royal Arms over the entrance to a government building and damages several nearby structures in Dublin.
December 14 The Dail Eireann approves the appointment of a Minister to Rome despite opposition from Labour. The move is viewed as defacto recognition of Italian sovereignty over Ethiopia.
December 29 The new constitution written by Eamon de Valera comes into effect. The Irish Free State is officially renamed Eire in Gaelic and in English simply, Ireland. The charter abolishes the Oath of Allegiance to the Crown, replaces the office of Governor General with a President, makes Gaelic the first official language, recognizes the special position of the Roman Catholic Church as the guardian of the faith professed by the great majority of the citizens. (also recognizes the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Religious Society of Friends in Ireland, as well as the Jewish Congregations and the other religious denominations existing in Ireland), prohibits the state from granting divorce and claims the whole island of Ireland and surrounding waters as the national territory.
A Presidential Commission headed by Frank Fahy is appointed to exercise the functions of the office until an election can be held to fill the office.
Return to Index

UP - Homepage - Timeline Index