UNBROKEN CONTINUITY

Unbroken Continuity 1918 - present day

In 1918 the British called a General Election. The whole of Ireland was at that time still a part of the 'United Kingdom'.  Sinn Féin stood in that election on the basis that, if elected, they would not send their representatives to a British parliament, but would establish an independent parliament in Ireland.

Winning the support of a majority of the Irish people, the Sinn Féin TD's met in Dublin and established the First Dail.  It should be noted that the actual number of votes for Sinn Féin in the general election belied the full support enjoyed by the Republicans, since in one quarter of the constituencies Sinn Féin candidates were opposed by other parties, because of the futility of denying the massive support Sinn Féin enjoyed, and were awarded the seats without a vote.

The First Dail Eireann was "illegal".  But whose law was being quoted?  The Irish people had overwhelmingly backed Sinn Féin who had openly announced their intentions before the elections. Throughout this time the Dail operated unevenly.  It enjoyed success in the Republican courts which, in areas, were able to gain the confidence of the people and drew support away from the judicial pillar of the British State.  It was also successful in establishing a Republican police force and establishing a local government structure. Of course it was a difficult to operate this time as the two parallel States, the Republican and British, competed for support and the armies of the two States were at war. A Truce was called in 1921 and a period of negotiations began. These culminated on December 6, 1921 when the "Treaty" was signed by the Irish delegation in London. The Treaty set out that an "Irish Free State" would exist covering 26 counties.

The Treaty was an acceptance of the British-imposed partition of Ireland into separate States in the 1920 Government of Ireland Act and a betrayal of the all Ireland Republic endorsed by the Irish people in two general elections, in 1918 and 1921.  In Dílseact: The Story of General Tom Maguire and the Second (All-Ireland) Dail, Ruairí Ó Bradaigh wrote: "Griffith was elected President of Dail Éireann (the Government of the Irish Republic) on January 10, 1922.  Two days later in his capacity as Chairman of the Delegation to London which signed the Treaty he summoned a meeting of the 'Parliament of Southern Ireland' for January 14.  This was a partitionist body for 26 counties only, created by the British Government of Ireland Act of 1920 which was rejected by the people in May 1921 when they elected their deputies to the All-Ireland Dail.  Griffith was head of Dail Éireann and yet he called into existence a rival parliament, surely an action without precedent in history.  Likewise Mulcahy in the very last words spoken in the Dail on January 10 said: "It is suggested that I avoided saying the Army will continue to be the Army of the Irish Republic.  If any assurance is required the Army will remain the Army of the Irish Republic". (Applause) "In the name of the Republic was the Republic betrayed..." Earlier that day Griffith had said "The Republic of Ireland remains in place until the Free State comes into being ... Whatever position the President (De Valera) occupied, if I am elected I will occupy the same until the people have the opportunity of deciding for themselves .... If I am elected I will keep the Republic in being until after the Free State is established when the people can decide for and against.... I want the Republic kept in being until the people can have a free election and give their votes ". There were express undertakings to maintain the Republic, yet these means subsequent actions totally belied their words.

The IRA fought a civil war against the new Free State army but eventually had to end hostilities. They did this by dumping their arms, they did not surrender!  For Republicans the legitimate government of Ireland continued to be the Second (All-Ireland) Dail, the Government of the All-Ireland Republic. The Second Dail continued to function in the shadows, largely ignored, until December 8, 1938 when it passed on its powers as the Government of the Republic of Ireland to the Army Council of the IRA.

In a statement on December 8, 1938 the surviving members of the Second Dail announced the Decision: Dail Eireann In consequence of armed opposition ordered and sustained by England, and the defection of elected representatives of the people over the period since the Republican Proclamation of Easter 1916 was ratified, three years later, by the newly inaugurated Government of the Irish Republic, we hereby delegate the authority reposed in us to the Army Council, in the spirit of the decision taken by Dail Eireann in the spring of 1921, and later endorsed by the Second Dail. In thus transferring the trust of which it has been our privilege to be the custodians for twenty years, we earnestly exhort all citizens and friends of the Irish Republic at home and abroad to dissociate themselves openly and absolutely from England's unending aggression's and we urge on them to disregard England's recurring war scares, remembering that our ancient and insular nation, bounded entirely by the seas, has infinitely less reason to become involved in the conflicts now so much threatened than have the neutral small nations lying between England and the Power she desires to overthrow. Confident, in delegating this sacred trust to the Army of the Republic that, in their every action towards its consummation, they will be inspired by the high ideals and the chivalry of our martyred comrades, we, as Executive Council of Dail Eireann, Government of the Republic, append our names. Sean O Ceallaigh (Ceann Comhairle) , George Count Plunkett , Professor William Stockley, Mary Mac Swiney , Brian O hUiginn , Tom Maguire , Cathal O Murchadha.

In December, 1969, following a split in the Republican Movement over the issue of the recognition of and participation in the Partition and Westminster parliaments, Thomas Maguire, as the sole surviving member of the Executive of the Second Dail Eireann recognised the Provisional Army Council, which remained true to the Irish Republic as the lawful Army of the Thirty-two County Irish Republic.

In a statement dated December 31, 1969 Thomas Maguire said: An IRA convention, held in December 1969, by a majority of the delegates attending, passed a resolution removing all embargoes on political participation in parliament from the Constitution and Rules of the IRA.

POWERS DELEGATED IN 1938: The effect of the resolution is the abandonment of what is popularly termed the "Abstentionist Policy”.  The “Abstentionist Policy" means that the Republican candidates contesting parliamentary elections in Leinster House, Stormont or Westminster give pre-election pledges not to take seats in any of those parliaments.  The Republican candidates seek election to the 32-county Parliament of the Irish Republic, the Republican Dail or Dail Eireann, to give it its official title he declared objective is to elect sufficient representatives to enable the 32-County Dail Eireann to be reassembled.  In December 1938, the surviving faithful members of the latest 32-county Republican parliament, the Second Dail, elected in 1921, delegated their executive powers of government to the Army Council of the IRA.  This proclamation of 1938 was signed by Sean O Ceallaigh, Ceann Comhairle, George Count Plunkett, Professor William Stockley, Mary Mac Swiney, Brian O hUiginn, Cathal O Murchadha and myself Tomas Maguire.

NEITHER RIGHT NOR AUTHORITY: The majority of the delegates at the December, 1969, IRA Convention, having passed the resolution referred to above, proceeded to elect an Executive which in turn appointed a new Army Council, committed to implement the resolution. That convention had neither the right nor the authority to pass such a resolution. Accordingly, I, as the sole surviving member of the Executive of Dail Eireann, and the sole surviving signatory of the 1938 Proclamation, hereby declare that the resolution is illegal and that the alleged Executive and Army Council are illegal, and have no right to claim the allegiance of either soldiers or citizens of the Irish Republic.

Provisional Army Council: The delegates who opposed the resolution, together with delegates from units which were not represented at the Convention, met subsequently in Convention and repudiated the resolution. They re-affirmed their allegiance to the Republic and elected a Provisional Executive which in turn appointed a Provisional Army Council.

Lawful Executive and Council: I hereby further declare that the Provisional Executive and the Provisional Army Council are the lawful Executive and Army Council respectively of the IRA and that the governmental authority delegated in the Proclamation of 1938 now resides in the Provisional Army Council and its lawful successors. I fully endorse their call for support for Irish people everywhere towards the realisation of the full freedom of Ireland. Dated the 31st of December, 1969. Signed: Thomas Maguire, Comdt. Gen. (Tomas Mac Uidhir).

In 1986 there was another split in the Republican Movement and again it was over the issue of recognition of the 26 County State.

In a statement dated October 22nd 1986 Thomas Maguire wrote: There is no difference between entering the partition parliament of Leinster House and entering a partition parliament of Stormont. I speak as the sole surviving Teachta Dala of the Second Dail Eireann and as the sole surviving member of the Executive of the Second Dail Eireann. In December, 1969, as the sole surviving member of the Executive of the Second Dail Eireann, I recognised the Provisional Army Council, which remained true to the Irish Republic as the lawful Army of the Thirty-two County Irish Republic. I do not recognise the legitimacy of any Army Council styling itself the Army Council of the Irish Republican Army which lends support to any person or organisation styling itself as Sinn Féin and prepared to enter the partition parliament of Leinster House. The majority of delegates to a recent IRA convention purported to accept the Leinster House partition parliament, and in so doing broke faith and betrayed the trust placed in their predecessors in 1969. The Irish Republic, proclaimed in arms in Easter Week 1916 and established by the democratic majority vote of the people in the General Election of 1918, has been defended by Irish Republicans for several generations.

Many have laid down their lives in that defence.  Many others have suffered imprisonment and torture.  I am confident the Cause so nobly served will yet triumph.  "If but a few are faithful found, they must be all the more steadfast for being but a few" (Terence Mac Swiney, Principles of Freedom).   Dated the 22nd day of October, 1986. Signed: Thomas Maguire Tomas Maguidhir Comdt. General.

On the 25th of July 1987 Thomas Maguire issued another statement declaring the Continuity IRA as the lawful Army of the Thirty Two County Irish Republic.  In it he wrote: I refer to my statement, dated 22nd of October, 1986, and I speak again, as the sole surviving Teachta Dala of the Second Dail Éireann, and the sole surviving member of the Executive of the Second Dail. In that statement, I referred to my recognition in December, 1969, of the Provisional Army Council of the IRA, which had remained true to the Irish Republic, as the lawful Army of the Thirty Two County Irish Republic. I also stated on 22nd October, 1986, that I did not recognise the legitimacy of an Army Council, styling itself the Army Council of the Irish Republican Army, which lent support to any person or organisation styling itself Sinn Féin, and prepared to enter the partition parliament of Leinster House. I referred, as well, to the IRA Convention, which had taken place shortly before the 22nd October, 1986.  The Executive of the IRA had, by a majority, opposed entering Leinster House. The faithful members of that Executive, in accordance with the IRA Constitution, filled the vacancies in the Executive, and that Executive continues as the lawful Executive of the Irish Republican Army.  The Continuity Executive has appointed an Army council of the IRA.  I quote the following extract from my statement of 31st December 1969: 'In December, 1938, the surviving faithful members of the latest 32 County Republican Parliament, the Second Dail elected in 1921, delegated their executive powers of government to the Army Council of the IRA.

This Proclamation of 1938 was signed by S.S. O Ceallaigh (Sceilg), Ceann Comhairle, Mary Mac Swiney, Count Plunkett, Cathal O Murchu, Brian O'Higgins, Professor Stockley, and myself, Tomas Maguire'.  I hereby declare that the Continuity Executive and the Continuity Army Council are the lawful Executive and Army Council respectively of the Irish Republican Army, and that the governmental authority, delegated in the Proclamation of 1938, now resides in the Continuity Army Council, and its lawful successors.

Dated the 25th day of July 1987

Signed: Thomas Maguire
Tomas Maguidhir Comdt. General

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