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Plans for ‘Ireland Conference’ revealed
The statement made by the Irish Conference Committee made assurances that it was not looking to supplant John Redmond and other the 'Parliamentary leaders' of the Irish Party: 'It is believed, on the contrary, that such a conference, if brought together, could not fail to strengthen the hands of those leaders...' Photo: 'The Lepracaun Cartoon Weekly', DigitalLibrary@Villanova University

Plans for ‘Ireland Conference’ revealed

Dublin, 21 December 1916 - A circular has been sent to various public bodies across Ireland proposing the idea of a conference to find a solution to the ‘Irish Question’.

Its premise is based on the convention which was organised in advance of the passage of the Wyndham Land Act in 1903.

The chairman of the Irish Conference Committee is Dermod O'Brien. The circular, signed by O’Brien, describes the men involved in organising the conference as ‘influential Irishmen’ who are largely active outside the field of full time politics.

O’Brien writes:

‘Before the recent Rising, most Irishmen, watching our country’s heroism in the field, and marking the spirit of comradeship which was growing up between the men from Ulster and the rest of Ireland, had almost come to believe that out of the supreme trials of many stricken fields there would emerge some clue to a political settlement after the war which all Irishmen would accept.’

He noted that the Rising and its consequences had created ‘a cloud of disappointment and discouragement’, but notably it also sharpened the feeling in the country that a means should be found of settling political differences.

Mr O’Brien is adamant that they have no desire or intention of going behind the backs of politicians. Rather, they see their role as seeking an alternative path to political settlement.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

RTÉ

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.