First Dáil


First Dáil

The First Dáil (] Of the remainder 35 were described as being "imprisoned by the foreign enemy" ("fé ghlas ag Gallaibh") and 4 as being "deported by the foreign enemy" ("ar díbirt ag Gallaibh"). Two names are left unstated as to their attendance or otherwise. The remaining 37 members not present were drawn mainly from the northern six counties that would later form Northern Ireland. There included all MPs elected to sit for Belfast city, Counties Londonderry, Down, Antrim, Armagh, and Fermanagh, and two out of three MPs for County Tyrone. For the portion of the country that would later become the Irish Free State, MPs did not sit for Waterford city or the Dublin University constituency (although members did attend for the National University of Ireland constituency). In other places, attendance was not universal:
* Dublin city (1 out of 9 absent)
* Cork city (1/2)
* County Cork (2/7)
* County Kilkenny (1/2)
* County Roscommon (1/2)
* County Donegal (1/4)

Irish War of Independence

On precisely the same day as the Dáil's first meeting two members of the Royal Irish Constabulary were ambushed and killed at Soloheadbeg, in Tipperary, by members of the Irish Volunteers. This incident had not been ordered by the Dáil but the course of events soon drove the Dáil to recognise the Volunteers as the army of the Irish Republic and the ambush as an act of war against Great Britain. The Volunteers therefore changed their name, in August, to the Irish Republican Army, and swore allegiance in August 1920 to both the Republic and the Dáil. The dual nature of this oath did not become apparent until much later. The Soloheadbeg incident is thus regarded as the opening act of the Irish War of Independence, though the Dáil did not formally declare war on Britain until 1921. From its first meeting the Dáil also set about attempting to secure "de facto" authority for the Irish Republic throughout the country. This included the establishment of a parallel judicial system known as the Dáil Courts.

In September 1919 the Dáil was declared illegal by the British authorities and thereafter met only intermittently and at various locations. The First Dáil held its last meeting on 10 May 1921. After elections on 24 May the Dáil was succeeded by the Second Dáil which sat for the first time on 16 August.

Legacy

The First Dáil and the general election of 1918 have come to occupy a central place in Irish republican mythology. The 1918 general election was the last occasion on which the entire island of Ireland voted in a single election held on a single day until elections to the European Parliament over sixty years later. The landslide victory for Sinn Féin was seen as an overwhelming endorsement of the principle of a united independent Ireland. Until recently republican paramilitary groups, such the Provisional IRA, often claimed that their campaigns derived legitimacy from this 1918 mandate, and some still do.

Today the name "Dáil Éireann" is used for the lower house of the modern Oireachtas (parliament) of the Republic of Ireland. Many commentators, including, recently, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, have suggested that despite the ambitious aspirations of the First Dáil, Irish independence only "really" began in 1922 with the foundation of the Irish Free State. Nonetheless, successive "Dála" (plural for Dáil) continue to be numbered from the "First Dáil" convened in 1919. The current Dáil, elected in 2007, is as a result, the "30th Dáil".

Seán MacEntee, who died on January 10, 1984 at the age of 94, was the last surviving member of the First Dáil.

Prominent members

*Éamon de Valera
*Michael Collins
*W. T. Cosgrave
*Count Plunkett
*Eoin MacNeill
*Arthur Griffith
*Cathal Brugha
*Kevin O'Higgins
*Constance Markiewicz

ee also

*Members of the 1st Dáil
*Government of the 1st Dáil
*Second Dáil
*Third Dáil

Footnotes

External links

* [http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/en.toc.dail.html Historical Dáil debates] from official [http://www.oireachtas.ie Oireachtas website] .


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