"History is past politics, and politics present history." John Robert Seeley

"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see." Winston Churchill

"What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing." Aristotle


Pursuit of Sovereignty & Impact of Partition 1932 – 1949

‘Dismantling the Treaty’ & The ‘Emergency’

Click here for a detailed Anglo-Irish Relations Timeline

‘Dismantling the Treaty’ – Anglo-Irish Relations 1932 – 1938ppt

Neutrality, Isolation & Declaration of Republic 1939 – 1949

Fianna Fáil in Government (Election 1932)

DeValera’s Cabinet

When Fianna Fáil came to power in 1932, DeValera appointed a Cabinet where he himself occupied the post of Minister for External Affairs. Clearly, DeValera wanted to retain the role of Foreign Affairs for himself so that he could control Irish Foreign Policy to a large extent.
DeValera targeted the Land Annuities Payments from the outset, refusing to continue paying them to the British Government, as set out in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. When he refused, the British placed tariffs on Irish exports to Britain, thereby beginning the Anglo-Irish Economic War of 1932 to 1938.



Eucharistic Congress Seal

(click on title for PowerPoint Presentation)

The Eucharistic Congress of June 1932 was a significant moment in the political & cultural identity of the State. The ability to stage an international event, attended by Catholics of many nations, served to underline the recognition of the Irish Free State as an independence country.

The ‘Diaspora’, particularly the Irish-American Catholics, were a significant part of the attendance at the Congress. With 25% of the Irish Free State present at the Congress in the Phoenix Park, this event certainly copper-fastened the Catholic identity of the State.

Bishop John Charles McQuaid was central to the planning of the Congress and his close  relationship with DeValera would be forged by this event. The Irish Air Corps, performing a fly-by in the shape of the Cross on the arrival of the Papal Legate, Cardinal Lorenzo Lauri, served to underline the State’s complete commitment to a Catholic Identity.





Timothy Healy

Ua Buachalla

Abdication Letter

Bunreacht na hEireann



Between 1932 & 1938, DeValera & the Fianna Fáil Government set out to expand Irish Sovereignty wherever and whenever possible. Domhnall Ua Buachalla was appointed as the Governor-General in 1932 on DeValera’s advice to the King of England. However, Ua Buachalla was then instructed by the Irish Free State Government to refrain from public appearances and fulfill only his most basic duties.

When the Abdication Crisis occurred in Britain in 1936, DeValera used the opportunity to rush through legislation to remove all references to the King of England from Irish Statutes. This resulted in the External Relations’ Act (1936), which was made possible by the seminal Statute of Westminister (1931)

In 1937, DeValera published his new Constitution: Bunreacht na hEireann, which stated that the name of of the State was ‘Éire’. It adopted the Tricolour of Green, White & Orange as the national flag and declared that a President (Uachtarán na hEireann) was its Head of State. ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ was adopted as the National Anthem and Irish was identified as the first language of the State.

Articles 2 & 3, however, would prove to be quite controversial and definitive of the relationship between North & South for the next sixty years. Only amended in 1998, the original Articles 2 & 3 claimed Northern Ireland as part of the “national territory” and claimed the allegiance of all people of the island of Ireland to the State.

Ireland (Éire) was almost now effectively a completely independent state. However, one issue remained that prevented Ireland from adopting complete independence in domestic and foreign policy: the three Treaty Ports of Cobh, Berehaven & Lough Swilly which had been left with the British under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921)



Anglo – Irish Economic War 1932 – 1938



DeValera & The League of Nations 1932 – 1939

League of Nations







Return of the Treaty Ports (1938) & Emergency Powers’ Act (1939)


Treaty Ports









World War II & Ireland: The ‘Emergency’

Army Checkpoint

Winston Churchill

DeValera Broadcast

Sir John Maffey

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