First Meeting of the Third Dáil
Introduction from Chronology
Anti-Treaty deputies do not attend except the aging Laurence Ginnell who asked if he was in Dáil Éireann or a partition assembly. He was ejected. (There was considerable debate among anti-Treatyites about attending but, in the end, they decide against it.)
Cosgrave was elected President of the Dáil. There was much debate as to correct terminology but Cosgrave announces his intention to formally merge Dáil and Provisional Parliament. All the ministers appointed on August 25th (see Aug-25-22/1) are approved by the Dáil.
All members take the oath of allegiance to the Irish constitution and swear fidelity to King George V and his successors. (This is done, not in public, but privately in the office of a minor official.)
Cosgrave appoints a cabinet as follows: Cosgrave – President and Minister of Finance; Desmond Fitzgerald – Foreign Affairs; Ernst Blythe – Local Government; Patrick Hogan – Agriculture; Joseph McGrath – Labour, Industry, Commerce and Economic Affairs; J.J. Walsh – Postmaster General; Eoin MacNeil – Education; Home Affairs – Kevin O’Higgins; Richard Mulcahy – Defense; and two ministers without portfolio – E. J. Duggan and Finian Lynch. There were objections to Mulcahy holding both Minister of Defense and C-in-C but he was soon replaced as C-in-C by Sean McMahon.
Circulars to the press ordered that the government should be referred to as ‘The National Government’ and not ‘The Provisional Government’ and that the Republican opposition, of all shades, should be known as ‘Irregulars’
Dorney argues that the opening of the Third Dáil (with Labour in the role of ‘loyal opposition’) robbed the anti-Treaty side of one of its strongest arguments i.e. that the Provisional Government was an unrepresentative ‘junta’ waging war because of a British ultimatum.