Cumman na nGaedheal Meeting

At this meeting, McGrath states that mutiny was a faction fight between the Old IRA and the IRB.  He said he tried to be a bridge between the two groups but failed.  He goes onto say that the government had misinterpreted the March 6th letter from Tobin and Dalton saying that all they wanted was a meeting “to discuss what they considered a departure from the real Treaty position”.  Valiulis points out that McGrath ignored that a number of meetings had taken place between the Old IRA and government ministers since the previous summer and  she goes on to say that “More importantly, it glossed over the fact that the mutineers were demanding power within the army and threatening armed rebellion if the government did not acquiesce”.  In the letter of the 6th March, the Old IRA were seeking power within the army but there is no explicit threat of armed rebellion.  There is rather the ominous threat to “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”.  It does go on to say that “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.”  By any measure this is serious insubordination.  McGrath tries to justify their action by saying that “the rebellious officers were old friends, former comrades … and hence could not be expected to adhere to a strict disciplinary code”.  Mulcahy did not intervene extensively in the party debate.  Valiulis suggests that this may have been because (1) he did not want to discuss army affairs at a party meeting; (2) he did not want to reveal the extent of discussions with the mutineers since last summer or (3) there were current discussions with the mutineers which he did not wish to jeopardise.  McGrath later said that that it was agreed at this meeting that “That the men concerned in the recent trouble in the Army undertake to undo, so far as they can, the mischief created by their action, and on their so doing the incident will be regarded as closed.”  However, this was disputed by others present, in particular O’Higgins.  One effect of the mutiny was to strengthen the hand of those within the cabinet (such as O’Higgins and Hogan) who wanted changes to the army, particularly to route out the influence of the IRB, especially among GHQ staff.

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