Friday 15 December 2017

Black and Tans were recruits

Sir -- Daniel McConnell's interesting article on the events leading up to the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty ("A family at war", Life, June 26, 2011) merits correction on a few points.

Firstly, his reference to the Black and Tans and Auxiliaries as "rogue forces, separate from the regular army" gives the impression that these were paid mercenaries instead of police recruits whose story is told in the forthcoming book, The Black and Tans: British Police and Auxiliaries in the Irish War of Independence, 1920-1921 (Oxford University Press, August 2011) by David Leeson.

Secondly, McConnell's conclusion that "De Valera voted against the Treaty and walked out of the Dail, having resigned as president, thus plunging Ireland into civil war" is grossly inaccurate. De Valera's decision to leave the Dail was prompted by the election of Arthur Griffith as president of Dail Eireann. Instead of the country being plunged into civil war, the Dail adjourned until later that same day when De Valera and his followers re-entered parliament -- which continued to sit until June 8, 1922.

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