Letter from Tobin & Dalton to Cosgrave

The following is the text of the Tobin/Dalton letter as read into the record of the Dáil on the 11th March. 

To President Liam Cosgrave.


On behalf of the I.R.A. Organisation we have been instructed to present the following Ultimatum to the Government of Saorstát Eireann.

Briefly, our position is this:—

The I.R.A. only accepted the Treaty as a means of achieving its objects, namely, to secure and maintain a Republican form of Government in this country.

After many months of discussion with your Government it is our considered opinion that your Government has not those objects in view, and that their policy is not reconcilable with the Irish people's acceptance of the Treaty.

Furthermore, our interpretation of the Treaty was that expressed by the late Commander-in-Chief, General Michael Collins, when he stated: “I have taken an oath of allegiance to the Irish Republic and that oath I will keep, Treaty or no Treaty.” We claim Michael Collins as our leader, and again remind you that even after the Treaty was signed, that drastic action was taken against enemies of the unity and complete independence of our country. Both in oath and honour bound, it is our duty to continue his policy, and therefore present this Ultimatum to which we require a reply by 12 noon, 10th March, 1924.

We demand a conference with representatives of your Government to discuss our interpretation of the Treaty on the following conditions:—

(a) The removal of the Army Council.

(b) The immediate suspension of Army demobilisation and re-organisation.

In the event of your Government rejecting these proposals we will take such action that will make clear to the Irish people that we are not renegades or traitors to the ideals that induced them to accept the Treaty.

Our Organisation fully realises the seriousness of the action that we may be compelled to take, but we can no longer be party to the treachery that threatens to destroy the aspirations of the Nation.

LIAM TOBIN, Major-General, President of the Executive Council.

C.F. DALTON, Col., Secretary to Executive Council.”