Who was who during the Treaty negotiations

Michael Collins and Winston Churchill just two of the famous names among delegations

Arthur Griffith: (1871-1922): Griffith, the leader of the Irish delegation, was the first to sign the Anglo-Irish Treaty and its most redoubtable advocate afterwards. Griffith became de facto leader of the Provisional Government after de Valera's resignation in January 1922. He shared Michael Collins' view that the Treaty could be used to gain greater freedom. He felt vindicated by the victory of pro or Treaty-neutral candidates in the June 1922 general election and was dismayed by the Civil War which broke out just 12 days later. Griffith died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 51 in August of that year. Many were convinced that the stress of the Treaty negotiations and overwork contributed to his early death.

Michael Collins: (1890-1922): What more can be said about the man many regarded as Ireland's greatest lost leader? He has been the subject of 65 biographies to date despite being killed at the age of 31. Collins' personal endorsement is largely credited with the narrow victory for the pro-Treaty side in the Dáil debates. Collins famously suggested that the Treaty was the freedom to achieve freedom, but he also sought to undermine it secretly by arming the IRA in the North to confront the Northern Ireland state. He was killed at Beal na Bláth just 12 days after Griffith died.

Robert Barton (1881-1975):An English public schoolboy, scion of the Irish landed gentry and first World War veteran, Barton was an unlikely convert to Irish nationalism. He was a reluctant signatory of the Treaty, voted against it in the Dáil and took the Republican side during the Civil War. Barton was shocked when his cousin Erskine Childers, the secretary to the Irish delegation, was executed during the Civil War.

Éamonn Duggan: (1874-1936): Duggan was a solicitor and Sinn Féin TD who went to the Treaty negotiations as one of two legal representatives on the Irish side. He was a Collins loyalist and signed the Treaty willingly while defending it resolutely in the Dáil afterwards. He served in various positions, including chief whip, in the first Irish governments.


George Gavan Duffy (1882-1951): George Gavan Duffy, a constitutional expert, signed the Treaty on the basis he had "no rational alternative". He later emerged as a supporter of Éamon de Valera and went on to become a High Court judge.


David Lloyd George (1863-1945): David Lloyd George, the "Welsh Wizard", was Britain's war-time prime minister who came from modest beginnings yet achieved the highest office by dint of his inexhaustible ability and energy. He used a mixture of coercion and charm to get the Irish to sign the Treaty. He was warmly congratulated at home and abroad for "solving" the Irish problem, but was out of office 10 months later when the Conservative party ended the coalition government he headed. He never held ministerial office again.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965): "What a team it must have been that could relegate to fourth place in its councils Winston Churchill," wrote Frank Packenham in 1935 in his brilliant study of the Treaty, Peace by Ordeal. In the 1930s Churchill was an unpopular figure forever fulminating against the Nazi threat when many in Britain wanted peace with Hitler. He went on to become Britain's inspiring war time prime minister. In 2002 a BBC audience voted him as the greatest Briton of all time.

Austen Chamberlain (1863-1937): It was providential for the Irish side that the temporary Conservative leader during the Treaty talks, Austen Chamberlain, was a moderate and not the indisposed Andrew Bonar Law, an Ulster loyalist by blood and conviction. Chamberlain served as Foreign Secretary and Lord of the Admiralty in later Tory governments. His half-brother Neville Chamberlain became prime minister in 1937.

Frederick Edwin (FE Smith), Lord Birkenhead (1872-1930): Birkenhead was a Conservative politician and supporter of hardline Ulster unionism who became convinced of Irish self-determination during the Treaty negotiations. He famously told Michael Collins that in signing the Treaty, he had signed his "political death warrant". He went on serve as Secretary of State for India, but questions about his character prevented him achieving even higher office. He drank himself to death at the age of 58.

Laming Worthington-Evans (1868-1931): Laming Worthington-Evans, though a Tory MP, was a close confidant of the Liberal prime minister David Lloyd George. He later held cabinet office in Stanley Baldwin's Conservative government.

Hamar Greenwood (1870-1948): Hamar Greenwood was the last chief secretary for Ireland between 1920 and 1922. His hapless defence of the actions of the Black and Tans and Auxiliaries gave rise to the phrase "telling a Hamar" for telling a lie. He never held cabinet office again. Today he is better known as the great-grandfather of model and socialite Cara Delevingne.

Gordon Hewart (1870-1943): Then attorney-general, Hewart helped to draft the Free State constitution in 1922. He is most famous now for coining the phrase, "Justice must not only be done, but seen to be done."