Shared History Conference – Ireland 1922

Ireland in1922 Conference

From Treaty to Civil War and Partition

The conference ‘Ireland in 1922: from Conflict and Civil War to Partition’ took place in Omagh Library on Wednesday 21 September. The conference explored the key historical events of 1922 with eminent guest speakers Dr Russell Rees, Jim McDermott and Dr Frank Costello. Approximately 100 people attended the conference including pupils from Sacred Heart College, Omagh High School and Devenish College, Enniskillen.

Few years were as seminal in the shaping of the modern island of Ireland than 1922 – a year of political and violent turmoil, North and South, as the fledgling governments in Dublin and Belfast sought to establish themselves against seemingly impossible odds. In the emergent Irish Free State the Treaty Split and the subsequent divide in the IRA marked the slow, inexorable descent into Civil War.

In the new Northern Ireland political uncertainly fuelled the flames of sectarian violence in both Belfast and on the border involving the IRA (loyal to Michael Collins) the Ulster Special Constabulary (USC) and British troops. Brutal atrocities shocked Belfast while British troops used artillery against the IRA on the Fermanagh-Donegal border.

Against this background, Winston Churchill, the British Minister in charge of Irish affairs, brokered important agreements between Collins and James Craig in 1922, aimed at ending the violence and achieving stability. However, these fragile pacts were soon ‘washed away in a torrent of blood’ and Collins supported Northern nationalists and the Northern IRA in their campaign against partition while Craig relied on draconian special powers and internment. In June the assassination of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson- Craig’s Military Advisor- was to trigger the by now inevitable Civil War. It was only then that peace was gradually restored to Northern Ireland. Both states faced minority problems but while the Southern Protestants adjusted to the new state, the one-third minority in the North remained sullen and resentful.

The conference promoted understanding and respect in the spirit of this year’s Good Relations Week motto of ‘Change Starts with Us’.

#GRW2022 #FODC #EverybodyBelongs