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Sinn Féin ‘diplomats’ and the Irish revolution, 1919-23


Thursday, September 19, 2019, 13:00   |  


Royal Irish Academy


Free and open to the public

Join John Gibney for the first lecture in the lunchtime series on 100 years of Irish foreign policy.

There was an Irish foreign policy before there was an independent Ireland. Since before the Easter Rising of 1916 Irish republicans had anticipated Ireland making a claim for the recognition of its independence at a post-war peace conference, and the new ministry was intended to that, with a mission being established to lobby the peace conference in Paris. Yet it also sought to bring international attention to bear on the situation in Ireland by disseminating multilingual propaganda on British policy in Ireland internationally, and by seeking to mobilise the support of key diaspora communities in Britain and especially the United States. The ‘diplomatic service’ made use of a wide range of agitators and propagandists scattered across Europe and farther afield to disseminate anti-British propaganda, to lobby politicians, raise money and even obtain weapons for the IRA. This lecture will explore this often-overlooked aspect of the struggle for independence.

John Gibney is co-author of our forthcoming book Ireland: a voice among the nations. The book will be published in late October; however, lecture attendees will have the opportunity to purchase the book ahead of publication.

About the book:
Ireland had a foreign policy and a diplomatic service before there was an internationally recognised independent Irish state. The origins of the modern Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade lie in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs established as one of the first four government departments of the first Dáil in January 1919. This richly illustrated book is a history of Irish foreign policy, rather than an institutional history of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade itself (though the two obviously go hand in hand). It explores how a small state such as Ireland has related to the wider world, by examining how Irish diplomats and politicians responded to the challenges presented by the upheavals of the twentieth century and how this small European state engaged with the world, from the Versailles peace conference of 1919 to the globalisation of the twenty-first century.

This is a centenary project of the Royal Irish Academy, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the National Archives.

Lecture series marking 100 years of Irish foreign policy:
26 September, 1 p.m.: Kate O'Malley, ‘Radicals to statesmen: relations between Ireland and India, 1919-64’.
3 October, 1 p.m.: Michael Kennedy, 'Women in Irish diplomacy'.


Tabhair tacaíocht do thodhchaí an léinn in Éirinn

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