Week Thirty-One - 18/8/19 - 24/8/19

The Irish Volunteers formally become standing army of the Irish Republic , the Irish Republican Army (IRA)

From Dáil Éireann debate records; https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/1919-08-20/12/

The SECRETARY FOR DEFENCE moved:

"Every person and every one of those bodies undermentioned must swear allegiance to the Irish Republic and to the Dáil:

1. The Deputies.

2. The Irish Volunteers.

3. The Officers and Clerks to the Dáil.

4. Any other body or individual who in the opinion of the Dáil should take the same Oath."

He pointed out that it was no new proceeding for a Government to require that the Elected Representatives, the Defence Forces, and the Officers and Clerks of Parliament, should subscribe to an Oath of Allegiance to the State. He suggested the following form of Oath, which was an adaptation of the Oath subscribed to by Congressmen, Senators and other persons who aspired to become American Citizens. The American form of the oath as adopted to suit their requirements would read:—

"I, A.B., do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I do not and shall not yield a voluntary support to any pretended Government, authority or power within Ireland hostile and inimical thereto, and I do further swear (or affirm) that to the best of my knowledge and ability I will support and defend the Irish Republic and the Government of the Irish Republic, which is Dáil Eireann, against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, so help me, God."

An Oath of Allegiance was administered to every existing Government in the world. An affirmation might be made by anyone who had scruples about taking an Oath. The object aimed at was to unify the whole body in this country. The present Constitution governing the Irish Volunteers prevented them from being subject to any other body but their own Executive. At the next Convention they proposed to ask them as a standing army to swear allegiance to the Dáil, and it was but fair and just that all Members of the Dáil, and all officials of the Dáil, should likewise subscribe to an Oath of Allegiance.

T. MACSUIBHNE (Cork, Mid) seconded the motion.

Alderman T. KELLY (St. Stephen's Green) asked if there was any necessity for this Oath? What had occurred in the past six or seven months to make it necessary now? Was it that any of their members wished to go to the London Parliament and perform there? He believed that a man who would not keep his word would not keep his oath. It had been said that one object of it was to get the Irish Volunteers to become subject to the Dáil. In his opinion the two bodies should remain separate. He reminded them of the fate of the Volunteers of 1782. A time might come when a military demonstration might be necessary. It was a species of coercion to force this issue.

Dr. CUSACK (Galway, East) pointed out that every civilised Government required an Oath of Allegiance from members of any foreign country desiring to become citizens, and it was recognised on all sides as a perfectly just procedure. He thought the Minister would be justified in carrying it further than he proposed, and requiring every individual to subscribe to it. If they had all their people banded together they would be absolutely unbeatable. Such an Oath would mean that every one of them was pledged to maintain the Republic.

Mr. J. MACBRIDE (Mayo, West) was opposed to the Oath. If a man conscientiously took this Oath he could not serve on a local body, and Ald. Kelly and Mr. Cosgrave should leave the Dublin Corporation. In fact he could not vote for a representative of any kind under English law.

Mr. W. SEARS (Mayo, South) thought that there was an obligation on every member to be loyal to the Republic. Even the Quakers in America took the Oath of Allegiance. As to the Volunteers, he regarded it as a very unfortunate thing if the Dáil had no control over them.

LIAM DE ROISTE (Cork City) pointed out that the question was raised at the first Session of the Dáil and that members were required to sign a pledge, which he considered quite sufficient.

LIAM T. MACCOSGAIR (Kilkenny, North) had conscientious scruples about taking an oath unless it was absolutely necessary. He considered that any military organisation in this country should be under the control of the Dáil. If it were considered necessary that the Volunteers take an Oath of Allegiance that was a matter for them. He would subscribe to such an Oath if adequate reasons were put forward.

Mr. D. KENT (Cork, East) pointed out that it was not a question of a suspicion of the trustworthiness of members that was at stake. They required to band all Republicans together, and he believed that the Irish Volunteers should be under the control of the Dáil.

The ACTING-PRESIDENT stated that he was astonished at finding that the Members had not taken an Oath of Allegiance at their first meeting. Every person elected there should pledge his or her allegiance to the standing Government of Ireland. If they were not a regular Government then they were shams and impostors. The Army and the Government of a country could not be under separate authority. While there might be a question as to the form of the Oath there could be none as to the necessity for taking the Oath. They should realise that they were the Government of the country. This Oath would regularise the situation. If they were a regularly constituted Government there could be no question about the taking of an Oath of Allegiance. The taking of the Oath did not preclude one from serving on the Local Boards and doing his best to forward the interests of the country in such a capacity. He was absolutely in favour of the motion.

COUNT PLUNKETT (Roscommon, N.) said that they were asked to perform a constitutional act in taking this Oath.

SEAN ETCHINGHAM (Wicklow, East) was of opinion that the Oath should be extended to every individual who supported the Republican Government in Ireland.

Mr. J. O'MAHONY (Fermanagh, Sth.) inquired of the Minister for Defence if he would get the next Irish Volunteer Convention to acknowledge that the Dáil is the Government of the country and have the Constitution of the Irish Volunteers amended to conform to that?

The MINISTER FOR DEFENCE replied that he regarded the Irish Volunteers as a standing Army, and that as such they should be subject to the Government. There had been no argument advanced against the Oath. The ordinary man thought more of his obligations under an Oath than where only his word was given. No doubt, a man who would break his word would break his Oath, but that was not the question. The important thing was that the Irish Volunteers under their present Constitution owed allegiance to their own Executive. Since the Dáil had come into existence there had been no Volunteer Convention, but one would be held as soon as possible. It was necessary to have this matter adjusted. He did not think it necessary that persons outside those mentioned should be required to take the Oath.

LIAM DE ROISTE (Cork City) moved, as an amendment:

"That this Oath be not applied to members of the Dáil who have already pledged themselves not to recognise the British Government in this country by the Declaration signed at the first meeting of the Dáil in January last."

The amendment was not seconded.

On a division on the original motion, 30 voted for and 5 voted against. The motion was accordingly declared carried, and the suggested form of the Oath was adopted.

From Irish Independent, 17th August 1919

LIBERTY HALL TWICE RAIDED

(As Passed by Censor.)

Two raids were made at Liberty Hall, headquarters of the I.T.G.W. Union, yesterday. Detectives and police made the first between 4 and 5 a.m., Patrick Ennis (caretaker) and Chris. Quigley, a man whom the union officials do not know, being arrested. They are detained at the Bridewell and no charge was preferred against them, A military rifie, automatic pistol, cartridges, and khaki uniforms of an officer and chaplain are stated to have been seized.

The officials, who deny knowledge of the articles found, were unaware of the occurrence till, arriving as usual at 9 a.m., they saw evidence of a thorough search. Some boxes had been forced open, and flooring in one room was torn up, but nothing was missing. At noon detectives, under an inspector, arrived; and while the former wore within police at the door prevented anyone entering or leaving.

Lined up on the quay were 50 soldiers, who came on two lorries. Mr. William. O'Brien, gen. treas., was informed by the inspector that they wanted to examine certain trade union boxes. These, it was found, were locked.

BOXES REMOVED.

When the keys, which were in the possession of the officials concerned, were not produced, the police intimated their intention of removing the boxes. Mr. O’Brien objected, asking that the boxes be opened in his or some, other official's presence, but the police' insisted, and took away the boxes. While the raid proceeded, a notice " Join the Police Union " was exhibited at a SecondStory window, and leaflets issued by the Union of Police and Prison Officers were handed to the police. Withdrawing after 45 minutes, the military and police were derisively cheered by a small crowd gathered outside.

STRIKE LITERATURE.

A Press Association message says literature seized included an 8-page pamphlet"50 Points on Industrial Unionism," urging workers to discard the present sectional unions and unite in one big union, and advocating "every method which will help us to win." One great weapon, it says, is sabotage, and it declares the I.W.W. has developed the lightning strike, the irritation strike (coming out, and going back, and so continuing); the staying-in strike (folding arms while on the job), and other unique but effective weapons.

Leading Laois Volunteer brought before Court-Martial

The decision will be promulgated of a court martial, at which Major Baubez presided, at Ship St. barracks, on Laurence Brady, Ballycarnon, Maryborough, charged with having an automatic pistol, 4 rounds of rifle ammunition, revolver ammunition, 7 other small rounds, and 2 sticks of gelignite. Const. D. Taylor, R.I.C., gave evidence of going to accused's house at midnight on July 26, when Lt. Covordale (who corroborated) found the pistol and ammunition in the bottom of a wardrobe in Brady's room. When arrested at 5.30 a.m. on July 28, accused said: "I was expecting this; I will go with you."

The prisoner objected on principle to being tried by the soldiers of a foreign Power. If he admitted their right, ho would lie admitting the right of the German Empire to set up military tribunals in Belgium to try Belgians, lie declared he had no intention of alienating himself from the cause of human liberty, for which millions had died, and would cheerfully accept any punishment given him in the hope that the Irish people, the last race held in subjection, might be allowed to choose its own government.