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Micheál Martin on the Free State centenary: To call Ireland a failed state is to ignore the facts

Even in the face of civil war and partition, Ireland was the only new state to remain democratic when the extremes of the right and left were destroying Europe, writes the Taoiseach

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo by Gerry Mooney

Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo by Gerry Mooney

Irish soldiers after taking over the Curragh camp from the British in 1922. Part of the Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI collection

Irish soldiers after taking over the Curragh camp from the British in 1922. Part of the Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI collection

Free State soldiers fighting against Republican forces at O'Connell Bridge in Dublin during the Irish Civil War. Photo by Brooke via Getty Images

Free State soldiers fighting against Republican forces at O'Connell Bridge in Dublin during the Irish Civil War. Photo by Brooke via Getty Images

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo by Gerry Mooney

On December 6, 1922, the first anniversary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the Irish Free State formally came into existence. While the provisional government had been in place since January, for much of the year its sovereignty had been far from complete. The remaining British forces continued to be a factor and the London government maintained an ongoing threat to intervene if its preferred policies were not followed.

Once the new constitution came into effect, there was no more doubt where the power lay. The new state was fully in place.


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