Southern Ireland Become Independent


After Sinn Fein's victory in the Parliamentary elections of Southern Ireland, negotiations began with the British on Irish independence. An agreement was reached that provided for an independent Ireland having the status of Dominion within the British Empire. The agreement went into effect on anuary 15, 1922

The struggles between the British and the Irish Republican Army had continued throughout 1920 and 1921. The IRA was committed to a fully independent Ireland. Elections were held throughout Ireland in May of 1921. In the predominately Catholic South supporters of the IRA- their political wing, the Sein Fein won the overwhelming majority of the votes. In the predominately Protestant north supporters of a continued union, the Unionists won the clear majority of the votes. It became clear that if there were going to be a solution to Ireland's problems, it would have been a different solution for Northern Ireland and the rest of the land.

The Brtish looked to find a solution, and at the opening of the Belfast Parliament (Northern Ireland), King George V appealed to Irishman to "pause, to stretch out the hand in forbearance and conciliation, to forgive and forget, and to join in bringing for the land which they love a new era of peace, contentment, and goodwill."

The British government called for a ceasefire, which the IRA accepted. The truce went into effect on July 11, 1921. Negotiations then began between the British government and Sein Fien. The British's opening offer to grant southern Ireland dominion status, with Great Britain controlling defense, was rejected by the Irish. They demanded full independence, something that Britain was not willing to agree on. The negotiations broke off for a time, and for a while, it looked like the IRA would return to violence. On December 6, Great Britain and Sein Fien signed the Irish Treaty. Ireland became independent, but Great Britain remained responsible for the defense of both England and Ireland and the seas around. Southern Ireland would remain under the aegis of the British Crown, similar to New Zealand and Canada.