Please Note:  The chronology for 1924 and 1925 does not try to give the comprehensive month by month detail that is attempted for the previous five years.  In particular, no attempt is made to chronicle the various issues that arose in the construction of the two new states in the North and South of Ireland (on which there is now a quite extensive literature).  Rather they follow two major 'left-over' issues from the revolutionary period, which are the Army Mutiny of 1924 and the working out of the Boundary Commission. 


The Boundary Commission starts to conduct formal hearings throughout NI, particularly along the border.  They hear from many local people.

Meetings were held in Rostrevor, Warrenpoint, Armagh, Newcastle and Newry. 

See Apr-22-25/1.


Phoenix (1994), pg 316; Matthews (2004), pg 216


Craig announces election to NI parliament to be held on April 3rd.   According to Craig, he deliberately called the election while the Boundary Commission was holding formal meetings in NI to demonstrate NI’s continued and overwhelming support for partition.

See Mar-21-25/1.

Phoenix (1994), pg 317; Matthews (2004), pg 210


Craig writes to Churchill demanding that the unemployment insurance funds of NI and GB be amalgamated.  He (again) threatened to resign if this was not done.

See Mar-13-25/1.


Matthews (2004), pg 214


In private correspondence, Churchill admits that the provision of social services depends on a “sufficiently large area and large numbers of trades” and that Northern Ireland, on its own, could not match those in the rest of the United Kingdom. 

(The Government of Ireland Act 1920 gave NI responsibility for funding social services and Unionists had tried to match UK social services since the founding of NI.)

See Mar-14-25/1.


Matthews (2004), pg 212


Writing to Lord Londonderry, Andrews (Minister of Labour in NI government) says that the “plain truth is that we cannot carry on as a Government here unless our working classes enjoy the same social standards as their brother Trade Unionists in Great Britain”.

See Mar-20-25/1.


Matthews (2004), pg 213


The British cabinet agrees that “on the grounds of equity” Britain should assist NI in its “difficulties” with its unemployment insurance fund.  Churchill pledges £650,000 to the NI unemployment fund.

However, there were problems with the re-amalgamation of the British and NI unemployment insurance fund.  As Sir John Anderson pointed out to the British cabinet on May 28th, re-amalgamation would be “a departure from the spirit, if not the terms, of the [Irish] Treaty”.  Churchill agreed that it would involve a substantial modification of the 1920 Government of Ireland Act but that it would be a good thing if it gave the southern Irish “an object lesson in the value of the British connection”.

Eventually a committee of civil servants under Sir John Anderson devised a complex arrangement which essentially gave a major underwriting, with British Exchequer funding, of NI’s unemployment insurance fund. This became the basis of the 1926 Unemployment Insurance Agreement which became law in March 1926. 

(Matthews comments “Elaborate measures were taken to ‘shorten Parliamentary discussion’ of the proposed legislation”.  The reason was that the Baldwin government knew that it might “face a revolt from its own backbenchers who, despite economic hardship throughout Britain, were being told that prudence required continuing reductions in government spending”.)


Matthews (2004), pgs 214-216 & 225


Twenty-seven delegates attend nationalist convention in the Grand Metropolitan Hotel in Belfast to discuss the forthcoming election in NI.  Pro-Treaty Sinn Féin led by Healy, Donnelly and Michael Lynch while nationalists led by Devlin, O’Neill, Leeke, Harbison and Nugent.  McCartan attended on behalf of the Free State government. 

They decided to maintain the1921 pact with each side putting forward six candidates.  Eventually 11 candidates were put forward as the nationalists decided not to contest Down (as they did not want to highlight unionist majority in the county). 

On the contentious issue of abstention, it was decided that Devlin and his colleagues from Co. Antrim could take their seats as soon as the Boundary Commission had reported and that other constituencies were free to decide at local conventions.  Separately, anti-Treaty Sinn Féin put forward six candidates (including de Valera in Down).


Phoenix (1994), pgs 318-319


The Executive Council of Free State orders all civil servants declare “full and true allegiance” to the Free State as established by law.


Kissane (2005), pg 168


Cornelius ‘Con’ Neenan is appointed by the anti-Treaty army as their Intelligence Officer in Britain.

McMahon (2008), pg 208





The election to the 52 seats in the NI parliament results in 32 Unionists; 10 nationalists (pro-Treaty Sinn Féin and old nationalists); 3 NILP; 4 Independent Unionists; 2 anti-Treaty Sinn Féin and 1 UTA (Unbought Tenants’ Association). 

This represented a reduction in the number of Unionist seats to 12 (from 40 to 32).  For this reason, this was the last election for the NI Parliament using PR.)

Pro-Treaty Sinn Féin and old nationalists got 91,452 votes as compared to 20,615 for the anti-Treaty Sinn Féin candidates.


Phoenix (1994), pgs 320-321; Walker (1992), pgs 47-48; Matthews (2004), pg 211; Parkinson (2020), pgs 257-259

Apr-22 to May-06-25/1

From April 22nd until May 6th the Boundary Commission holds meetings in Fermanagh and Tyrone.  


Phoenix (1994), pg 322





During May and early June, the Boundary Commission held meetings in Derry and then moved onto Omagh and held meetings until early July.


Phoenix (1994), pgs 322-323





Two prominent anti-Treaty officers (Sean Russell and Pa Murray) travel to Moscow to seek arms and ask to train with the Soviet Air Force.  They meet with Stalin but their requests are not granted.  However, they do carry out some espionage work for the Soviets in London.


McMahon (2008), pg 207


James O’Connor (a former Lord Justice of Ireland) in his book History of Ireland, 1998-1924 (published in 1925) writes that “I doubt if … any civilised community in modern times can show anything which for cowardice, wickedness, stupidity and meanness can equal the handling of the British Government of the situation created for them by a couple of thousand Irish peasants and shop-boys”.

According to McMahon, this is another example of the unreconciled unionists and the British right wing trying to deny that Irish nationalists had the support of the vast majority of the people of Ireland. 


McMahon (2008), pg 165


 Last meeting of the Boundary Commission in Omagh. After this meeting, the Boundary Commission works in near total isolation for nearly four months. 

See Sep-11-25/1.


 Matthews (2004), pg 216 & 219



In a confidential memo to the Minister of Defence, the new Chief of Staff of the Free State army, Gen Peadar MacMahon, warned that there was the possibility of armed resistance from loyalists to any transfer of territory to the Free State by the Boundary Commission. 


Phoenix (1994), pg 326


 After a visit to Ireland, a BA officer wrote “The feeling towards England is very friendly and I was assured by all classes that, in a secret ballot, 95% of the population would vote for the return of the British”. 


 McMahon (2008), pg 167


The chair of the Boundary Commission (Feetham) sends the other two members of the Commission (MacNeill and Fisher) a ‘Chairman’s Memorandum’ in which he outlines a very restrictive view of the Commission’s work under Article 12 of the Treaty.  Strangely, MacNeill raises no serious objections to this memorandum.


Matthews (2004), pgs 219-221


IRA Captain Patrick McNamara from Co. Clare dies of the effects of an earlier hunger strike. 

Ruairc also names two other IRA men – Volunteers J. Glynn and Andrew Rynne – who died on active service and killed in action respectively - but gives no dates.)


Ó Ruairc (2009), pg 327


Agreement reached by Boundary Commission in private on the changes to the border.  ‘Rectification’ won out.  180,290 acres were to be moved to Free State (mostly in South Armagh) and almost 50,000 acres were to be moved to Northern Ireland (mostly in East Donegal).  Balance of population movement was 31,319 to Free State and 7,594 to NI.  No major towns are transferred – not even Newry.

Fisher is delighted with results.


Phoenix (1994), pg 328; Matthews (2004), pg 221


In a report on the security position in NI, the Inspector General of the RUC (Charles Wickham) states that “at the present time no actual [IRA] military organisation can be said to have any real existence in Northern Ireland”.  He continued by doubting if the IRA could mobilise 300 men and states that no arms dumps of significance had escaped discovery.


McMahon (2008), pg 158


The secretary of the Boundary Commission (Bourdillon) writes to Maurice Hankey saying that the Commission was about to publish its report.


 Matthews (2004), pg 222


The Morning Post publishes a leak of the Boundary Commission proposals with an accompanying map.  The leak, which was accurate, proposed only minor changes to the border (transferring small parts of Fermanagh and south Armagh to the Free State and parts of east Donegal to Northern Ireland). 

It causes dismay among border nationalists and Free State supporters (particularly in East Donegal) and leaves Cosgrave’s government very exposed.


Phoenix (1994), pg 329; Fanning (2013), pg 349


Following a letter from Cahir Healy to Kevin O’Higgins on November 9th which asked (a) if MacNeill was going to submit the proposed new boundary to Executive Council for approval; (b) would the Executive Council endorse any boundary that did not transfer ‘substantial areas’ to the Free State and (c) would border nationalists be consulted before any final decision was arrived at.  The Executive Council decided that the signing of the report was a ‘matter for Dr MacNeill’s sole discretion’ and accordingly it did not require to be informed of the proposals beforehand.


Phoenix (1994), pg 329


Cosgrave says in the Dáil “So far as territory now within the jurisdiction of Saorstát Eireann is concerned, the contention of the Executive Council is that the provisions of Article 12 of the Treaty cannot be construed as empowering the Commission to transfer to Northern Ireland any of that territory, and representations, oral and written, have been made to that effect to the Commission. I am aware that a large volume of evidence as to the wishes of the inhabitants in the border areas has been placed before the Commission”.


Dáil Debates Vol 13 (11th Nov 1925), col. 113-114;


Dáil passes motion approving the Executive Council’s representations made to the Boundary Commission that Article 12 of the Treaty cannot be construed as empowering the Commission to transfer to Northern Ireland any of the territory currently in the Free State.


Dáil Debates Vol 13 (19th Nov 1925), col. 609-641


Cosgrave receives nationalist Tyrone delegation who expressed concerns about the border changes being leaked from the Boundary Commission.  They stress that there should be no report from the Boundary Commission rather than a bad report.  “If a bad report, MacNeill should not sign.  This view is generally held.”  Similar views expressed by delegations from Strabane and Keady. 


Phoenix (1994), pg 329


MacNeill resigns from the Boundary Commission and, at O’Higgins’s instigation, he is forced out of the Free State cabinet as well.

The Free State government hoped that the resignation of MacNeill would mean that the remaining two members could not issue the Boundary Commission report but the two remaining commissioners said that the resignation was not valid and said that they would soon be delivering their report. 


Phoenix (1994), pg 330; Matthews (2004), pg 222


In a speech to the Dáil, MacNeill says “There was at no time any debate between the members of the Commission as to the principles of interpretation … The details came before us in a very gradual and a very piecemeal manner and it may be contended that I was at fault, that I was remiss, that I failed to appreciate the circumstances, failed to see what I might be ultimately up against, when I did not demand, require and challenge, at the earliest convenient stage, a discussion of the general principles of interpretation and a decision upon those principles.  That may be so. I think it is probably true that a better politician and a better diplomatist, if you like, a better strategist, than I am would not have allowed himself to be brought into that position or difficulty. We worked on in that way without decision until a complete boundary line had been presented to us, and after that we entered on the consideration of how and in what form an award ought to be issued and communicated. That is to say, a draft award was actually in existence. I cannot, from my recollection, give the date, but I think the date mentioned in the statement of Messrs. Feetham and Fisher, the 17th October, is probably the date. After that time we were engaged in discussing details with regard to the issue and publication of the award. In the time that intervened I did come to the conclusion that when those parts of the award were put together and regarded as a whole, that is, as an award, it would not be possible for me to defend them, that they would be indefensible as a right interpretation of the Treaty, that they would be indefensible as giving effect to that franchise which was denied in the case of the Act of 1920, that they would be indefensible as not being consistent, one part of the award with another. I did not come to that conclusion rapidly or suddenly or without reluctance. I did desire, if it were possible, that we should have an award which all three Commissioners could sign, and it was not until it was clear to me that that was not going to be possible and that there was no likelihood of its possibility, that I decided to withdraw from the Commission.”   MacNeill  resigns as Minister of Education. 


Dáil Debates Vol 13 (24th Nov 1925), col. 802-803


In an interview, de Valera says that the Boundary Commission exposed the fallacy of placing faith in the Treaty.  He went on to say that, if anyone was still foolish enough to believe in the Treaty, they would finally be disillusioned when “that other Commission provided for in the Treaty – the Financial Commission – is set up and comes to deliver its award”.

This is a reference to Article 5 of the Treaty which would settle by arbitration the Irish contribution to the public debt of the United Kingdom and to war pensions. 

See Dec-03-25/1.


Matthews (2004), pg 228


Cosgrave opens direct consultations with British Prime Minister Baldwin in an effort to suppress the Feetham-Fisher report.


Phoenix (1994), pg 330


A week of intensive negotiations between the British, Free State and NI governments start. 

Cosgrave has a meeting with Baldwin, Austen Chamberlain (Foreign Secretary), William Joynson-Hicks (Home Secretary), Leo Amery (Colonial Secretary) and Tom Jones in London on November 26th.  Cosgrave points out the danger of violence and handing power to de Valera if the Commission’s report is issued.  However, his request to suppress the Commission’s report is rejected by the British. Instead, they offered to ask Craig to meet with Cosgrave.

After some difficulties, Baldwin gets Craig to meet Cosgrave.  Craig and Cosgrave meet and Cosgrave agrees to leave the border as it was if Craig agreed to release nationalist prisoners.  Craig would agree to release only 30 prisoners and Cosgrave went back to Dublin to place this offer before his cabinet.  This offer is rejected and O’Higgins is sent to London to discuss the issues with Craig and Baldwin.  See Nov-28 to 30-25/1.

The British Colonial Secretary, Leo Amery, was to write in his diaries that a curse hung over the Irish and continued “To unravel it would be like the tale of Atreidae but I fear that the starting point is a fault in the blood, some element of ape-like savagery which has survived every successive flood of settlers”.  Such Hibernophobic attitudes towards the Irish were common in the British Conservative Party.


Phoenix (1994), pg 330; Matthews (2004), pgs 224-227; McMahon (2008), pg 171

Nov-28 to 30-25/1

At discussions in London, O’Higgins told the British government that his government might be able to accept no change to the border if they could point to substantial improvement in the position of nationalists in NI.  In particular, he points to the existence of 45,000 Specials; the abolition of PR and the gerrymandering of electoral divisions to disenfranchise nationalists.

When Craig joins the talks, he is obdurate on concessions to the minority.  However, he intimated that in return for dissolution of the Council of Ireland that he would give on two minor points (a) give a verbal assurance on the reduction of the Specials and (b) allow the British Prime Minister to settle the question of the release of prisoners.  Craig also said that he would assist the Free State government having Article 5 of the Treaty set aside. (This is the article which would settle by arbitration the Irish contribution to the public debt of the United Kingdom.)


Phoenix (1994), pg 331; Matthews (2004), pgs 227-229


Lord Beaverbrook writing to an American said that there were three difficulties which may have developed fatally for Baldwin’s new government (since it took over in November 1924).  Of the three, the “far more dangerous risk for the Conservative Ministry was the Report of the Boundary Commission”.  He said that if the report had turned out as it should “the Ministry would have fallen”.  Instead, he wrote “a miracle happened”.


Matthews (2004), pg 9




Dec-01 to 02-25/1

Cosgrave joins the three government talks in London.  O’Higgins’ suggestion to Craig that PR should be restored was not supported by Cosgrave who endorsed Craig’s objections to the system.  Cosgrave would seem to have accepted that Craig could not “deliver the goods” on improving the conditions of northern nationalists and the talks focused on Article 5 of the Treaty. 

The British side wanted a moratorium on payments by the Irish until 1933 but Cosgrave persuaded them that, such was his country’s economic plight, the Irish government was in no position to make payments. This was accepted by the British side.


Phoenix (1994), pg 332; Matthews (2004), pgs 230-231


Tripartite Agreement signed by the British, Free State and NI governments. 

The essence of this agreement is (a) the Boundary Commission’s report is to be suppressed (this occurred after pressure was put on Feetham not to release the report); (b) boundary between Free State and NI was to remain unchanged; (c) the cases of republican prisoners in NI would be reviewed by British officials and their decisions would be accepted by Craig; (d) Free State to be released from Article 5 of Treaty which had left it liable for a share of the British public debt with Dublin agreeing to repay compensation payments made by the British government during the WoI ; (e) powers of the Council of Ireland were to be transferred to the NI government and (f) the two Irish governments were to “meet together, as and when necessary, for the purpose of considering matters of common interest”. 

(Last clause was never invoked and Cosgrave and Craig were never to meet again.  Also, the release of prisoners took longer than anticipated by Cosgrave.)

Fanning quotes Maureen Wall as follows: “Ambiguities were now at an end.  This time the unionists had got all they wanted, and the agreement bore the signatures not only of the British and Free State representatives, but, for the first time, the signatures also of the representatives of Northern Ireland”.

McMahon comments that despite fears of terrible consequences “the crisis [over the Boundary Commission] was resolved surprisingly easy when British financial generosity allowed the three governments to come to an agreement that buries the commission’s findings”.

Writing to Lord Reading on this day, Birkenhead said that both the NI and Free State governments “developed a friendly and competitive enthusiasm in the task of plundering us”. 

The Boundary Commission report was not released until January 1st 1968.


Phoenix (1994), pg 332; Fanning 92013), pg 350; Matthews (2004), pgs 231-233 & 243; Parkinson (2020), pgs 261-262; McMahon (2008), pg 193


Speaking in Westminster, Winston Churchill says “The Irish question will only be settled when the human question is settled”.


Bew (2016), pg 1


The Irish News remarked that “Money decided the great Boundary Question at last” and exhorted nationalists to organise themselves to recover their civil rights.


Phoenix (1994), pg 334


The debate on the Tripartite Agreement starts in the Dáil.

In a speech in Dublin, de Valera called the Agreement a “mediated crime” and that the Free Staters has “sold our countrymen for the meanest of all considerations – a money consideration”.  However, de Valera does not lead his 47 abstentionist Sinn Féin TDs into the Dáil. 

See Dec-10-25/1.


Matthews (2004), pg 235


After meeting in Omagh, a number of leading pro-Treaty figures in west Ulster (including Healy and Lynch) issued a statement declaring that border majorities had been “callously betrayed”.  Several other border leaders, including Harbison, held an ‘Anti-Pact’ meeting in Dublin presided over by de Valera.  This meeting was also attended by Labour Leader, Tom Johnson, Sinn Féin TDs and William Magennis.

See Dec-10-25/1.


Phoenix (1994), pg 333; Matthews (2004), pg 236


The British House of Commons gathered to ratify the Tripartite Agreement.  Few spoke against the agreement and it was ratified in the evening. 

Churchill reminded the British House of Commons that “only a year ago this boundary question very nearly became a disastrous and dominating issue in our political life”.


Matthews (2004), pgs  6 & 233-234


The Tripartite Agreement is unanimously approved by the NI parliament.  Craig announced the disbandment of the ‘A’ and ‘C-1’ Specials but said the British had contributed an additional £1.2m towards demobilisation of the force.  (Between 1921 and 1925, 91% of the £7,420,000 spent on the Specials was met by British grants.)

He also said that British government officials would review the cases of political prisoners.  He would not assure McAllister (a nationalist MP) that PR would be retained for parliamentary elections and asserted that the minority had no real grievances.


Phoenix (1994), pg 334; McMahon (2008), pg 189


After four days of debate, the Tripartite Agreement is passed by the Dáil by 71 votes to 20.  William Magennis and few other Cumann na nGaedheal TDs voted against the Agreement.

On December 7th, Cosgrave had told the Dáil that it was time “to put the barren question of the boundary behind us for once and for all”.  He also said that the Boundary Commission was never meant to “do more than relieve the situation of some of its difficulties”.  

Winding up the debate, Cosgrave urged northern nationalists to attend the NI parliament and said “if they make their case and if they do not receive justice, then it is time enough for [the Dáil opposition] to say to me that there has been no success in this, that there was no good feeling and good-will [between the two countries]. But until that time comes, every good Irishman who loves this country, every man who wishes to see this country placed on a sound foundation, everyone who looks to the nation instead of to the individual or party, must, if he is an honest man, support this [Agreement] as the best thing that could be done under the circumstances.” 

Cosgrave was later to describe the Tripartite Agreement as a “damned good bargain”. 


Dáil Debates Vol 13 (10th Dec 1925), col. 1768; Matthews (2004), pgs 235-236;


 The editor of the pro-Treaty Ulster Herald declared that the desertion of the border nationalists by the Free State government would be “classed … as one of the blackest chapters in Irish history”. 

On the same day in the same paper, Cahir Healy wrote “It was a merit of the Treaty that it retained this Council of Ireland.  It was an all-Ireland body, and with it disappears the last hope of unity in our time”.  In an article titled “Callously Betrayed”, the Cosgrave government was accused of throwing Northern Nationalists “unceremoniously to the wolves”.

In a letter to the editor of the Irish Statesman just over a year later (on December 18th1926), Cahir Healy said “The Free State leaders told us that our anchor was Article 12 [of the Treaty]; when the time of trial came, they cut our cable and launched us, rudderless, into the hurricane, without guarantee or security, even for our ordinary civil rights.


Phoenix (1994), pg 333; Matthews (2004), pgs 200-201


After a long legal battle, the Irish Supreme Court rules against Stephen O’Mara and unanimously upheld the decision of a lower court (See Jul-24-24/1) that the Free State government had the right to appoint new trustees to the Dáil Loan. 

Despite this ruling the Free State government could not access the Dáil Loan funds held by the Trustees (de Valera, Fogarty and O’Mara) as de Valera “refused or neglected” to co-operate with the Supreme Court decision.  Eventually, in February 1927, the Supreme Court appointed William Norman to replace de Valera as one of the three trustees and the Free State government got access to the funds held in the Dáil Loan accounts.

(By this stage, the Free State government had got a law enacted – the Loans and Funds Act – in 1924 to prepare for the repayment of the Loan. A group was set up to prepare a list of “authentic” loanees and they were repaid in 1927 with a 40% return on their investment.  Bringing the Loans and Funds Act before the Dáil, Ernst Blyth said on December 13th 1923 “If it had not been for the generosity and faith of the people who subscribed to the Loan, there would be no Free State today”).

O’Sullivan Greene (2020), pgs 175-177