1921 – The Dáil votes to appoint plenipotentiaries to negotiate with Britain regarding Ireland’s independence.

In what would turn out to be a momentous decision, de Valera opted NOT to be one of the negotiators stating that the Irish parliament “recognised themselves but no one else did. He really believed it was vital at this stage that the symbol of the Republic should be kept untouched and that it should not be compromised in any sense by any arrangements which it might be necessary for our plenipotentiaries to make. He was sure the Dáil realised the task they were giving to them – to win for them what a mighty army and navy might not be able to win for them. It was not a shirking of duty, but he realised the position and how necessary it was to keep the Head of the State and the symbol untouched and that was why he asked to be left out.”

Dáil Éireann met in a private session in the Mansion House, the following Plenipotentiaries were unanimously ratified:

Mr. Arthur Griffith, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Chairman.

Mr. Michael Collins, Minister of Finance.

Commandant R.C. Barton, Minister of Economic Affairs.

Mr. E.J. Duggan, representative of Meath and Louth.

Mr. George Gavan Duffy, Irish Envoy at Rome, representative of Dublin County.


Photo: Arthur Griffith, Robert Barton, Michael Collins at Treaty Negotiations


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