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22 December 1922: Patrick Hogan’s memorandum on land seizures

Read Heather Laird’s essay on “Containing the Land War” on Century Ireland.

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, features 50 essays from leading international scholars that explore a turning point in history, one whose legacy remains controversial a century on. Building on their own expertise, and on the wealth of recent scholarship provoked by the Decade of Centenaries, each contributor focuses on one event that illuminates a key aspect of revolutionary Ireland, demonstrating how the events of this year would shape the new states established in 1922. Together, these essays explore many of the key issues and debates of a year that transformed Ireland.

In collaboration with Century Ireland we are making the 50 essays freely available online. Today’s essay is by Heather Laird and it covers Patrick Hogan, minister for agriculture in the Irish Free State issuing a memorandum on land seizures.

On 22 December 1922 Patrick Hogan, minister for agriculture in the Irish Free State government, sent a Cabinet memorandum on ‘seizures of land’ to William Cosgrave, president of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State, Kevin O’Higgins, minister for home affairs, and Richard Mulcahy, minister for defence. Six days later the memorandum was again sent to Mulcahy, this time from the president’s office, with an accompanying letter stating that the president ‘thinks this matter is of importance’.1 The content of this memorandum, in particular the assertion that the ‘Land War is very widespread and very serious’, may surprise those who associate agrarian unrest in Ireland with the late nineteenth century and who assume that the Irish land question had by this point in time been answered by land purchase acts such as the Wyndham Act of 1903.2 As indicated by Hogan’s memorandum, however, outbreaks of land agitation occurred in Ireland well after the events of 1879−82 that are generally termed the land war. Continue reading (you will be redirected to the website of Century Ireland)

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, is published by the Royal Irish Academy with support from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 programme. Watch an address by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, T.D. to mark the publication of this book (30 November 2022).


Ireland 1922