Newspapers report on the debate in the Dáil and feelings across Ireland on whether or not the Anglo-Irish Treaty should be ratified.
The Dáil had adjourned for the Christmas recess on 22 December 1971. However, the question of the ratification of the Treaty continued over Christmas and newspapers covered the debate during this period with voices in favour and against ratification.
The Irish Independent came out strongly in favour of ratification on 2 January 1922.
Ratify and unite is the keynote of the great majority of resolutions adopted by public bodies, Sinn Féin Chomharli Ceanntair, farmers' organisations and other bodies who register a strong demand to have the Pact approved.
The following day, The Irish Independent reported statements by two of the Irish hierarchy. Cardinal Logue speaking at Armagh Cathedral said it would be a terrible calamity for Ireland if the Treaty were rejected. The Most Rev Dr Harty addressed a large congregation at Thurles Cathedral and spoke in favour of ratification.
The people of Ireland by a vast majority are in favour of the Treaty and in a democratic country the will of the people is the final court of appeal.
During this period of the debate, sniping and terror were the order of the day in Belfast and the growth of civil disorder was also evident in the south. Evidence of this could be found in The Irish Times on 3 January which reported on protests against partition.
The Dáil reconvened on 3 January and newspapers published evidence of a growing national demand for ratification of the Treaty. The following days saw the Dáil debate a wide number of issues. The main issues could be categories under the headings: The Oath and Common Citizenship; North-East Ulster; Alternatives or lack of alternatives to the Treaty; Bias of the Press; the obligations of Members to Constituents; Southern Unionists; the effects of Acceptance; The Women of Ireland; The Army; Document Number 2; The Questioning of Mr Collins' position; and The Resignation of the President.
On the question of the Oath, Countess Markievicz Minister of Labour described it as dishonourable.
When you swear that oath, the English people believe you mean it. Now, personally, I being an honourable woman would sooner die than give a declaration of fidelity to King George or the British Empire.
Ernest Blythe raised the question of whether or not the Oath was obligatory. On the other hand, Michael Colivet had no doubts about the meaning of the Oath saying,
I will never willingly become a subject of the British Empire.
'The Treaty Debate' [December 1921-Jan 1922] was broadcast on 3 January 1972. The narrator is Derek Young.
To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty in 1971 RTÉ broadcast 'The Treaty Debate' a series of five programmes from 14 December 1971 to 7 January 1972 which presented in condensed form the debate on the Treaty between Britain and Ireland, signed in London on 6 December 1921.
In an RTÉ Guide article of 10 December 1971 (p.5), producer Dónall Farmer described the object of this series,
To show what the discussion was about, not in a second-hand version, but in the words of the protagonists themselves...absolute care has been taken in the editing to ensure that the sense of the speeches is unaltered, that a fair and accurate picture of what the speakers were saying is represented…
The process of editing the test of the debate was the task of writer GP Gallivan. Professor Kevin B Nowlan, Associate Professor of Modern History, University College Dublin who was appointed as series advisor also edited the script, to ensure that accuracy had been preserved and that it remained impartial and without bias.
Each programme is introduced by narrator Derek Young, who provides background information where necessary and links the contributions of the speakers. A group of seven actors reenact the speeches so that in any one programme an actor may be seen as three or more persons. No effort is made to personate the character of the actual man or woman who made the speech.