George Gavan Duffy and the legal consequences of the Anglo Irish Treaty, 1921–1923

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Thomas Mohr


George Gavan Duffy, Anglo Irish Treaty, Irish Free State, 1922 Constitution, Constituent Assembly, King, oath, Privy Council, popular sovereignty


George Gavan Duffy (1882–1951) was a signatory of the 1921 ‘Anglo Irish Treaty’. In the 1930s he enjoyed a notable judicial career and would rise to the position of President of the High Court of Ireland. This article examines a more neglected period of Gavan Duffy’s career. It focuses on his brief parliamentary career as a TD in the early 1920s and, in particular, his involvement in the creation of the Constitution of the Irish Free State. This analysis also examines the reasons for the divergence of Gavan Duffy’s position from that held by other signatories and supporters of the 1921 Treaty. By late 1922 Gavan Duffy had emerged as a determined critic of the Provisional Government and of the draft Constitution of the Irish Free State that emerged from negotiations in London. This analysis focuses on Gavan Duffy’s attempts to amend provisions of the draft Constitution that he believed went further than the strict legal demands of the 1921 Treaty. The conclusion assesses Gavan Duffy’s attitude towards the legal consequences of the 1921 Treaty and his attempts to mitigate their impact on the 1922 Constitution of the Irish Free State.

Abstract 133 | NILQ 74.2.5 Mohr Downloads 47