Liam Cosgrave gives a speech at a ceremony marking the anniversary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921.

Liam Cosgrave delivered an address at the Fine Gael commemorations to mark 50 years since the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

Commenting on the 1922 Constitution, he said that the present Constitution which replaced it 1937 introduced distinctions of a sectarian kind which now bedevil the development of a better understanding between Irishmen of different creeds and stand as a barrier to Wolfe Tone's ideal of substituting the common name of Irishmen in place of Catholic, Protestant and dissenter.

Arthur Griffith had defended the rights of minority groups and religions to have full representation in the councils of their country. Speaking of his conference with the leaders of the former Unionist Party, Arthur Griffith said,

I met them because they are my countrymen and because if we are to have an Irish nation, we want to start with fair play for all sections and with understanding between all sections.

Liam Cosgrave describes this statement as the cornerstone of the doctrine enshrined in the 1922 Constitution.

Following his speech, Liam Cosgrave laid a wreath at the Cenotaph, Leinster Lawn a monument which commemorates three founding figures of Irish independence, Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins and Kevin O'Higgins.

The ceremony was attended by fifty old IRA men.

On 6 December 1921, following months of negotiations, the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed marking the end of the Irish War of Independence.

The Treaty was to give Ireland a 26 county Free State and was an agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland and representatives of the Irish Republic.

Negotiators on the British side included Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Lord Birkenhead, Austen Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Sir Laming Worthington-Evans, Sir George Hewart and Sir Hamar Greenwood. The Irish negotiators were Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, Robert Barton, Eamonn Duggan and George Gavan Duffy.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 5 December 1971.