Book released on ‘forgotten’ men and women of Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations

Book details the lives of 70 people bound up in the talks

A new book on the men and women who negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty 100 years ago has been released.

The book entitled Men and Women of the Anglo-Irish Treaty Delegations 1921 details the lives of 70 people, from both the British and Irish sides, who negotiated the treaty.

Joint editor Eda Sagarra, a granddaughter of Irish delegation member TA Smiddy, described the book as "an important record, as it highlights the identity of a largely forgotten group of men and women who made such a valuable contribution at a critical time in our history.

“The identities of some 70 delegation members and their descendants were traced in various ways: through personal knowledge, painstaking trawls through archives, histories of the period, genealogical websites, census records, obituaries and death notices. Access to military archives allowed the identification of those, such as security personnel, whose identity would have been a closely guarded secret in 1921.”

The book was launched by Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and the British ambassador to Ireland, Paul Johnston. The Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland attended the launch at the Kings Inn.

Signatories

There were 12 signatories to the treaty, seven British and five Irish. They included David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, Lord Birkenhead and Austen Chamberlain on the British side, and the five main members of the Irish delegation: Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, Robert Barton, George Gavan Duffy and Eamonn Duggan.

The book focuses mainly on the 65 or so other men and women who played an important role in supporting the treaty discussions.

This includes the five women in the Irish delegation, Kathleen McKenna, Elizabeth (Lily) O'Brennan, Gerty Conry, Ellie Lyons and Alice Lyons, who played a key role as the secretariat to the negotiations.

Mr Johnston said he was pleased the British embassy was able to support the project.

He said: “It is a work full of interest and insight, and charts the personalities and contributions of people both well-known and little-known who contributed to the treaty negotiations. Their descendants have created a fitting tribute to the dedication and public service of those delegates.”

Mr Coveney described the book as a “well-researched, engaging and inclusive collection”.

There is also a website published with the volume.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times

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