Post by The Chief Post by Donald4564 Post by The Chief
Election of Dev, the Sinn Fein candidate, on 12th July, 1917 in East Clare!
Oh to be sure, not dat day would not be a sayin' dat day did jit for day didn't do it loike any odders did and it doesn't mean da same ting as der odders did so day didn't do it did dey?
Ha ha. But can't we be serious for once? Dev did have a strong case. He did not recite an oath, and it was not read to him. He held no Bible, and raised no hand. There was no oath in front of him. He simply entered his name in a ledger.
On that basis, he consistently denied having taken an oath of allegiance to a foreign power. In any case he - and all the rest of them - had previously sworn allegiance to the Republic. It is tragic to think that the Civil War could have been averted if only the plans for the "Oath" had been explained in some detail. For it is clear that even the pro-Treaty party did not actually want to take the "Oath," and arranged things such that it was in reality avoided.
1. This reminds me of Tony Benn's comments after he had become one of Her Majesty's Privy Counsellors - in a procedure which was presumably in place in De Valera's day. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200203/cmselect/cmpubadm/642/3041003.htm Question 4 - "As a privy councillor—and this would have happened to William—they read the oath to me and I said, "I have not agreed to it," and they said, "We have administered the oath." I never knew until that moment the meaning of the administration of an oath."
2. The Irish Civil War was indeed tragic/a tragedy.
3. http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/please-excuse-our-swearing-26198069.html refers to "the tortuous machinations by which Fianna Fail, under De Valera, entered first the Dail and then Government" That article also points out that "The original Republican objection had been not just to the oath but to the very existence of the Free State Dail, but, in 1926, De Valera suggested to the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis that if the oath was removed it would become a matter of policy rather than principle whether to enter the Dail or not. Having lost the argument he resigned to found Fianna Fail". And to this day Republican Sinn Fein's policy is that it would not take seats in the Dail if it had any. Academic/making a virtue out of necessity.
4. On 6th December 1922, the Irish Labour leader Thomas Johnston said something which Dev was to echo some years later "We recognise the act of taking an “Oath of Allegiance” as a formality, a condition of Membership of the Legislature, implying no obligation other than the ordinary obligation of every person who accepts the privileges of citizenship." http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/dail1922120600003?opendocument