Partition headline wide of the mark
Sir, – I was perplexed by the headline on the first of a series of articles being published in this newspaper to mark the centenary of the partition of Ireland. The article in question was by historian Charles Townshend and had the headline “Sinn Féin negotiated treaty that cut Ireland in two” (Weekend Review, April 10th).
Ireland was partitioned, or “cut in two”, by the Government of Ireland Act 1920 that passed its third reading in the British parliament at the end of November 1920 and received the royal assent in early December, 1920, almost a full year before a Sinn Féin delegation signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty. Elections to the new Northern Irish parliament took place in May 1921 and that parliament was inaugurated by George V in June, 1921, almost six months before the signing of the treaty.
It is therefore patently inaccurate to state, as the headline does, that the Sinn Féin delegation negotiated a treaty that partitioned Ireland, and I was glad to see that Charles Townshend is much too good an historian to make such a claim in his article. – Yours, etc,