Words Myte Bite

Funny can be whatever you want it to be. The Words and Musings of Paul O'Malley. Sort of a Blog!

Archive for the 'Irish Free State' Category

13 December
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How the RIC saved DeVelera’s Government of the Irish Free State

It is documented that Éamon de Valera or Dev as he was known and his party (Fianna Fáil) turned up to take control of the Dáil (House of Parliament) having won the election in 1932 carrying arms as they expected to be objected to as they had objected to the previous government which lead to the civil war in Ireland about ten years previously. However why they were carrying arms might not be understood within a historical context of excitement, and anger that the side which had objected to the elected body in control of the Irish Free State (as Ireland was known at that point) by way of an armed struggle against the incumbents in the Irish civil war. When that war was over they threw their guns away rather than surrender them to authorities, now the time has moved on. In  1932 they won the vote and were in control of the state. They had carried arms into the Dáil on day one (this is documented elsewhere).

What a lot of people would not know and I have this on the authority of someone who told it to me, my grandfather a former member of the Garda Síochána, Dev and his party had good reason to be afraid.

The night before they took their seats in the Dáil there was a meeting of members of the Garda Síochána in the National Stadium (I have to presume this is the one on the South Circular Road). This meeting was heading towards sedition, the atmosphere was tense. There was a tension in the air as person after person decried the election of Finna Fáil, and it was almost the case that the Gardí within that room were about to leave and arrest deValera. An older man, a sargent I believe, stood up at the back of the room and asked to address the floor. He was well known, it is worth reminding ourselves that the State was only ten years old. This story recounted a similar day about ten years earlier but with a difference. He went on to tell his story*, “he had worked in the RIC*,  and he wanted to relate to the people in the Stadium that a similar situation had occured when the Free State was founded, he had gone to work one day and he was working for the Crown, later that day his allegiance was switched to the Free State. It was his job not to decide government, it was his job to carry out duties in enforcing the law of the land. It most certainly was not his place to object to the will of the people who elected a new body of people to govern.”

The ex RIC man stopped, my grandfather said he never saw so many people exhale a breath and with that breath so the anger that had been building all evening died and they got on with their job.

Bertie as my grandfather was known to us, told me several stories all of them interesting, this one,  was told to me in the nursing home he lived in a couple of months before he died.

RIC* This was the  Royal Irish Constabulary, the police force in Ireland before the creation of the Irish Free State and  loyal to the British Crown. They had been involved in the fight against Irish Independence.

story* Sadly I did not write this account down years ago, the words used do not reflect how eloquently it was told to me.

Additions:

16th Feb Election

This Dail sat on 9th March 1932, so this was the night of the 8th of March.