Tag Archives: Hayden Talbot

January 1922: U.S. press on Irish newspaper news

American newspapers at the outset of 1922 contrasted the debut of an Irish republican weekly opposed to the Anglo-Irish Treaty with the Dublin dailies that supported the agreement. The first issue of Poblacht na h-Éireann (The Republic of Ireland) newspaper appeared days before Dáil Éireann voted on the proposal, announced Dec. 6, 1921.

“The question of outstanding interest in the Irish situation discussed by the Dublin newspapers this morning is the effect the expression of public sentiment in favor of ratification … will have on their opponents,” the Associated Press (AP) reported in a Jan. 2 story widely circulated in U.S. papers. It cited opinions from the Freeman’s Journal, the Irish Independent, and the Irish Times. AP quoted the Freeman’s view that, “No sophistry, however fine spun, can disguise the fact to thwart this will would betray a sacred trust.”[1]”Ireland Absorbed in Treaty’s Fate”, Evening Star, Washington, D.C., Jan. 2, 1922, and other U.S. papers, from “The New Year”, Freeman’s Journal, Dublin, Jan. 2, … Continue reading

Poblacht na h-Éireann debuted the following day from the presses at Cahill & Co. on Ormand Quay, Dublin.[2]Page 1 announcement, Freeman’s Journal, Dec. 30, 1921. Dáil TD Liam Mellows edited the paper with the assistance of established journalist Frank Gallagher.[3]The Dictionary of Irish Biography entries for Mellows and Gallagher do not mention this publishing venture. Mellows was executed by the Free State government in December 1922. Gallagher’s … Continue reading Contributors included Cathal Brugha, Countess Georgina Markievicz, and Erskine Childress. “Virtually all of the protagonists of the Republican party except Mr. (Éamon) de Valera himself are represented on its staff or board of directors,” AP told American readers.[4]”Republic The Demand of Dail Extremists, They Establish a Newspaper to Carry on Fight”, Associated Press, The New York (N.Y.) Herald, Jan. 3, 1922.

Small, partisan papers were a familiar feature of Ireland’s revolutionary period. Many were suppressed by British authorities at Dublin Castle. Sinn Féin launched The Irish Bulletin in November 1919 to publicize the Dáil and report the war activities of the Irish Volunteers. Gallagher was active on the staff. The Royal Irish Constabulary began to publish The Weekly Summary in August 1920 to counter republican propaganda as the island’s police force weathered attacks from the separatists. Both papers disappeared by January 1922, though some contemporaries described Poblacht na hÉireann as a successor to the Bulletin.

Since the July 1921 truce, Arthur Griffith’s Young Ireland had existed as the only republican Sinn Fein paper, AP reported. It “had taken no strong line on either side” of the treaty “in accord with the entire attitude of Mr. Griffith and Michael Collins who … have been careful to avoid any controversial public utterances.” Griffith and Collins helped negotiate the deal in London while de Valera remained in Dublin.

The first editorial in Poblacht na h-Éireann declared:

The Republic of Ireland stands for neither party nor person. … The supreme principal on which we take out stand is the declared independence of the Irish people, and we shall use all our influence and effort without rancor or facetiousness to prevent the surrender of that independence. … We oppose the treaty, not because we want war but because we want peace and the treaty makes peace impossible.

American journalist Hayden Talbot described a second editorial in the new paper, headlined “The Daily Press and the Treaty,” as a “scathing denunciation,” with “every Irish daily suffering equally for supporting ratification–the obvious intent being to make it appear that the entire Irish press has been bought by English money.”[5]”New Republican Organ”, Universal Service Special Cable Dispatch, The Anaconda (Montana) Standard, Jan. 4, 1922 Talbot would  interview Collins in March, then produce an early book about the Irish Free State leader after his assassination in August 1922. More on Talbot and Collins later this year.

The Dáil narrowly approved the treaty on Jan. 7, 1922. Poblacht na h-Éireann appeared in several iterations over the following year: the original 4-page weekly published through June 1922; a “War News” bulletin or broadside printed on “one side of a large sheet of paper, yellow or pink or white,” which “bitterly arraigns all enemies of the Irish Republic, British or Free State, and encourages the (anti-treaty) Irregulars” through at least January 1923;[6]”The Irish Republic Speaks”, The Nation, Aug. 2, 1922, p. 132-134. The magazine published facsimiles of two issues, dated June 30 and July 1, 1922. and an 8-page “Scottish edition” printed in Glasgow from about September 1922 through January 1923. The republican paper disappeared as the Irish civil war concluded later in 1923.

Additional resources:

  • Villanova University’s Falvey Digital Library holds a limited collection of 37 issues of Poblacht na h-Éireann “War News.” University College Dublin Digital Library offers 18 issues of the paper’s larger Scottish edition. 
  • My American Reporting of Irish Independence centenary series contains dozens of journalism-focused stories, including: ” ‘Likely to cause disaffection to His Majesty’, the Seizure of Irish newspapers, September 1919″ about small press suppression.

References

References
1 ”Ireland Absorbed in Treaty’s Fate”, Evening Star, Washington, D.C., Jan. 2, 1922, and other U.S. papers, from “The New Year”, Freeman’s Journal, Dublin, Jan. 2, 1922.
2 Page 1 announcement, Freeman’s Journal, Dec. 30, 1921.
3 The Dictionary of Irish Biography entries for Mellows and Gallagher do not mention this publishing venture. Mellows was executed by the Free State government in December 1922. Gallagher’s writing and political career continued until his death in 1963.
4 ”Republic The Demand of Dail Extremists, They Establish a Newspaper to Carry on Fight”, Associated Press, The New York (N.Y.) Herald, Jan. 3, 1922.
5 ”New Republican Organ”, Universal Service Special Cable Dispatch, The Anaconda (Montana) Standard, Jan. 4, 1922
6 ”The Irish Republic Speaks”, The Nation, Aug. 2, 1922, p. 132-134. The magazine published facsimiles of two issues, dated June 30 and July 1, 1922.