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The IRA in Britain, 1919-1923'In the Heart of Enemy Lines'$
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Gerard Noonan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380260

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380260.001.0001

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Truce, Treaty and Dissension, July 1921–June 1922

Truce, Treaty and Dissension, July 1921–June 1922

(p.186) Chapter 4 Truce, Treaty and Dissension, July 1921–June 1922
The IRA in Britain, 1919-1923

Gerard Noonan


This chapter deals with the trials of the republican movement in Britain during the eleven-and-a-half months that elapsed between the end of the war of independence and the outbreak of the civil war. Problems experienced by the IRA during this period are explored: Volunteers suffered unemployment, tensions existed in the movement in London and insubordination rocked the Scottish Brigade. Nevertheless, gunrunning continued as usual and plans were made for the resumption of hostilities in the event of the peace talks between the British government and Sinn Féin collapsing. In fact, however, the negotiations led to an agreement, the treaty. The arguments of people closely associated with events in Britain in favour and against the treaty are noted. The dissension among republicans in Britain is traced and continued gun-smuggling is studied. The assassination of Conservative MP Sir Henry Wilson in June 1922 by two members of the London IRA is examined in detail. The author concludes that the killing hastened the outbreak of the civil war in Ireland but did not cause it.

Keywords:   Cumann na mBan, Gunrunning, Hostilities, Irish Republican Army, Sir Henry Wilson, The Treaty, Unemployment

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