October 1921


The Northern Whig reports Richard Dawson Bates, Minister of Home Affairs in the NI Government, as saying to a group of Unionists that the responsibility for security still lay with British officials in Dublin Castle and they “with the excuse of the Truce, had fettered the hands of the military and police authorities in Belfast”.  There was frustration in Unionist circles about the delay in handing over responsibility for security to the NI Government.  Parkinson notes “At grassroots level, such frustration with the absence of strong measures taken against the perpetrators of violent acts, was difficult to contain.”


Parkinson (2004), pg 165


The RIC’s Constabulary Gazette states that “the force is unsettled and discontent rife for a variety of reasons, chief of which is uncertainty of the future”.

McCarthy (2015), pg 90


Lieutenant Souchon of the 17th Lancers shot and killed when in a car driving past a ceilidh being held in the Town Hall in Galway.  Scuffles had broken out between Auxiliaries and Republican Police and shots were fired.  It is unclear who fired the shots which killed Lieutenant Souchon.

Henry (2012), pgs 232-234


Belfast City councillors meet representatives of Catholics thrown out of work since the July of the previous year.  Few of the expelled Catholics or ‘rotten Prods’ got their jobs back or any alternative employment – many left the city.  The efforts of charity groups such the American Committee for Relief in Ireland were a great assistance to those thrown into poverty.  By October, the White Cross Society had distributed about £100,000 in weekly payment to the families of those evicted in the industrial expulsions of the previous year.

Parkinson (2004), pg 166


Bomb thrown at worshippers leaving a Protestant church in Belfast.

Parkinson (2004), pg 164



British Cabinet approves its delegation to engage in negotiation with the Irish as follows: Lloyd George; Winston Churchill (Secretary of State for the Colonies); Lord Birkenhead (Lord Chancellor); Austen Chamberlain (Leader of the House of Commons); Sir Hamar Greenwood (Chief Secretary in Ireland), L Worthington-Evans (Secretary of State of War) and Sir Gorden Hewart (Attorney General).  Secretaries are Lionel Curtis and Tom Jones (Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet). 

Curran J M (1980), pg 79



Dáil Cabinet meets at which de Valera gives delegation cabinet instructions as mentioned above.  Cabinet instructions state that all major decisions and final text of Treaty have to referred back to Irish cabinet in Dublin.  (See Macardle for text of both the delegation’s credentials and the cabinet instructions.)  However, as cabinet could not limit powers conferred by Dáil, these instructions were nothing more than suggested guidelines, and in this sense Griffith accepted them. 

Cabinet also discussed ‘Draft Treaty A’ – this is a confidential document in (very much) outline form with many articles still to be written.  The key item is that Ireland agrees to become an “external associate of the states of the British Commonwealth” in return for recognition of Ireland as a sovereign state (and implicitly unified).  The text of ‘Draft Treaty A’ is given as Appendix 16 in Macardle.  A clause concerning the Six Counties was to be forwarded to the delegation in London.  Macardle notes that Barton was vague about external association meant “The definition of the term was vague and even the Delegates had a hazy conception of what would be its final form”.

Macardle (1999), pgs 528-530


Irish delegation arrives in London to huge crowds at Euston station.  They take up residence in Cadogan Gardens and 22 Hans Place. 

Macardle (1999), pgs531


In his situation report, GOC of the British Army in Ireland (General Neville Macready) said that “advantage had been taken of the truce to convert the IRA, which was three months ago little more than a disorganised rabble, into a well-disciplined, well-organised and well-armed force”.

McCarthy (2015), pg 91


John Buchanan, who is the Master of an Orange Lodge, is shot dead near Derry City.

Ozseker (2019), pg 159


De Valera issues a proclamation saying that “it is the duty of all Irishmen to stand together for Ireland now”

Gallagher (1953), pgs 322-323


1st meeting of Conference starts at 11.00am on Tuesday 11th October.  In the next almost two months, there would be seven plenary sessions; 24 sub-conferences and 9 meetings of special committees.  (In addition, there were nine informal interviews between Tom Jones and Arthur Griffith – sometimes accompanied by Collins or Duggan)

At first two plenary meetings (both on 11th October), subcommittees set up on defence, financial relations and observation of the truce.  Also discussion of the July 20th proposals. More Detail  

Curran J M (1980), pgs 81-82; Macardle (1999), pg 532


Eamon Corbett (see end of September) returns to Mayo and stays in Straide which is in the North Mayo Brigade area.  Men from the East Mayo Brigade surround the house in which he is staying.  The O/C of the North Mayo Brigade orders the East Mayo men out of his area.  Commandant Reynolds, from Galway arrives with his Intelligence Officer, P. Fahy, and they rescue Corbett but when they are waiting at the railway station in Kiltimagh, shooting breaks out in which a civilian is badly injured.  Subsequently, the entire IRA Kiltimagh Company is suspended.

Price (2012), pg 183


At a meeting of the Truce observation committee an agreement drawn up on disputed items and agreed that 72 hours had to be given on any termination of the Truce.   The members of the committee were Collins, Barton, Duggan and Art O’Brien (on the Irish side) and Worthington Evans, Greenwood, Anderson, Cope, Macready and Tudor (on the British side).

Macardle (1999), pgs 540


3rd plenary session of British and Irish delegations: Started on arguments about truce violations but mostly spent on fiscal and industrial matters.  Curran says that “Sinn Féin’s strategy was to show a genuine desire for agreement and dispose of as many troublesome details as possible before arguing basic principles”.  The two biggest issues were Crown and Ulster.  However, the Irish side still did not have the clauses omitted from ‘Draft Treaty A’ on Ulster and Griffith wrote to de Valera on this day saying that “unless we can get in our Treaty proposals by Monday [October 17] … we must fight them on ground of their own choosing”


Curran J M (1980), pgs 82-83; Macardle (1999), pgs 532-533


RIC Constable Henry Morgan commits suicide.

Abbott (2019), pg 410


4th plenary session; mostly on Ulster - a boundary commission and local opts-out were discussed but Griffith was playing for time as he did not yet have de Valera’s proposal on Ulster.  (However, Griffith did write to de Valera later in the day saying that the British were “remarkably ignorant of the facts – this is not play-acting though they tried this also.  Their knowledge geographically and statistically of the province is very poor.”)  The conference ended with Chamberlain pointing out the political risks the conference entailed for the British delegates.  In a letter to de Valera, Griffith did acknowledge that, while they did exaggerate them, these risks were real because of the ‘Morning Post’ party.

On same day, de Valera wrote to Griffith with Cabinet's proposal on Ulster.  Basically, it put forward an opt-out based on existing constituencies to Northern Ireland Parliament but with the over-riding powers reserved to Westminster in the Government of Ireland Act being transferred to Dublin.  Full text of clause in this proposal regarding government of ‘North-East Ulster’ given in pages 543-544 of Macardle.


Curran J M (1980), pg 83-84 & 308; Macardle (1999), pgs 543-544


5th plenary session: This session was again mostly on Ulster. Griffith argued on the basis of carefully prepared maps and statistics for five of Ulster’s nine counties should be governed from Dublin.  However, Griffith did not put forward the Dáil Cabinet proposal but asked Britain stand aside while Sinn Féin made the unionists a fair offer.  If agreement was not reached then the Six Counties must be allowed to decide on its future by local option.  Significantly, none of the Irish delegates insisted on the hard-core Unionist areas being brought into the Irish state against their will.  However, the British countered that local option was impractical and offered exclusion on a nine-county (i.e. all of Ulster) basis.  There was no agreement.


Curran J M (1980), pg 85; Phoenix (1994), pgs 150-151


After a report sent to GHQ by Capt T. Burke on this date, the 3rd Western Division of the IRA was set up comprising five brigades:  North and South Sligo, North Leitrim, North Roscommon and East Mayo.  Liam Pilkington is appointed Divisional O/C; Frank Carty is appointed O/C South Sligo Brigade and Seamus Devins is appointed O/C North Sligo Brigade.  Brian MacNeill (son of Eoin MacNeill) is also appointed to the divisional staff.

Farry (2012), pg 84


At only meeting of the finance committee, they agreed to exchange memoranda on the 22nd.  The British side calculated Southern Ireland’s liability for debt and pension charges at £153 million sterling.  Collins countered that on the basis of past over taxation since the Union and retardation of Ireland’s development, the charge should be about £3 billion sterling on Britian.

Curran J M (1980), pg 308


Pope Benedict XV sends a telegram to the UK’s King George V rejoicing at the resumption of Anglo-Irish negotiations.  King George, in his reply, says that a settlement “may initiate a new era of peace and happiness for my people”

Macardle (1999), pgs 535-536; Curran J M (1980), pg 86; Gallagher (1953), pg 326


The Governor of Wormwood Scrubs prison writes a memo of compliant about Michael Collins’s visit to the prison the previous day along with two companions to see Irish prisoners (N. Kerr, R. Stack and L. Breen).  According to the Governor, he was drunk and truculent.  The Governor also said that he boasted “about all the loyal people he has shot”.

Dolan and Murphy (2018), pgs 98-99


De Valera writes to Pope Benedict saying that the ambiguities in the letter from King George may not mislead him “into believing that the troubles are ‘in’ Ireland, or that the people of Ireland own allegiance to the British King”.  Rather the troubles had sprung from Britain’s attempt to impose its will on a people who had declared their independence.  British newspapers branded de Valera’s action as irresponsible.

Macardle (1999), pg 536; Curran J M (1980), pg 86; Gallagher (1953), pg 327


6th plenary session:  This session was mostly on defence - Collins put forward a paper arguing for neutrality but Churchill said that Britain could not be sure that Ireland would remain neutral and that, even if it did, it would pose great problems for Britain in wartime.  Collins said that a friendly and neutral Ireland would be better than a hostile one.  Chamberlain said that neutrality would put it outside the Empire but Collins contended that the British Empire was developing into a nation of free and independent states without centralised control.  Lloyd George admitted this but said that Britain could still not be sure of Irish neutrality.  He said that in the future Ireland might move towards full Dominion status but that he would consider it irresponsible for it Britain to give Ireland the neutrality option at this stage.  There was also heated discussion on breaches to the Truce (in particular the discovery of a bomb factory in Cardiff and guns in Hamburg destined for Ireland – see October 28th on the latter) and de Valera's letter to the Pope where he stated that the Irish people owed no allegiance to Britain's king.  It was agreed that the Irish side would present its proposals on Crown, Empire and defence on the 24th.

Curran J M (1980), pg 87; McCarthy (2015), pg 93


The Derry Journal says that forty poitín stills had been discovered in the previous fortnight by the IRA in the Inishowen Penninsula in Co. Donegal.  This was part of the IRA’s drive against poitín making.

Ó Duibhir (2011), pg 31


7th plenary session: Irish delegation present Draft Treaty A - according to this "Ireland would adhere for all purposes of agreed common concern to the British Commonwealth"   On inquiries from Llyod George, Griffith said that Ireland would not be members of the Empire but would be represented in the Imperial Conference and would accept its decision in matters of common concern (an agreed list of which would be included in the treaty).  There would also seem to be agreement that Britain would occupy a number of ports (making the Irish insistence on neutrality somewhat tenuous).  The British felt that substantial progress had been made.   Full text of Draft Treaty A given as Appendix 17 in Macardle.  At a sub-conference later the same day (with only Llyod George, Chamberlain, Griffith and Collins present), the British side pressed that peace was impossible unless Ireland accepted the Crown.  Griffith said he would recommend "some form of association with the Crown" if all else was settled satisfactorily (including British agreement to essential unity on Ulster).   The success of the sub-conference led the British to adopt this way of working for the rest of the negotiations.

Curran J M (1980), pgs 88-90


When de Valera found out that Griffith had offered some form of association to the Crown, he writes to Griffith saying that "there can be no question of asking the Irish people to enter an arrangement which would make them subject to the Crown or demand from them allegiance to the British King.  If war is the alternative, we can only face it." 

Curran J M (1980), pg 90


Meeting between de Valera (along with his cabinet) and IRA GHQ staff at which it was agreed to re-administer an Oath of Allegiance (see August 20, 1919) to IRA men.  However, this was not done.  In addition, a move was made at this time to issue new commissions to all IRA officers but this got bogged down in appropriate titles.  Comment See November 16th

O’Donoghue (1954), pg 199; Curran J M (1980), pg 96; Macardle (1999), pg 549


Collins and Griffith meet Chamberlain and Hewart and discuss Ulster.  The Irish suggest opt out on the basis of the 1918 parliamentary constituencies with those constituencies who voted for exclusion keeping the powers conferred the Government of Ireland Act but under the authority of the national Irish parliament.  The British side rejected this but put forward, tentatively, the six counties are left intact with the powers conferred the Government of Ireland Act and under the authority of the national Irish parliament.  Griffith refuses (but privately with Collins thought it might form the basis of an agreement). Griffith states again that any association with the Crown was contingent on Ulster’s agreement to essential unity.

Curran J M (1980), pgs 92-93


Reacting strongly to de Valera’s letter of the previous day, the full Irish delegation writes to de Valera saying that his letter was inconsistent with their powers and limited their freedom of discussion.  More specifically they stated that "Obviously any form of association necessitates discussion of recognition in one form or other of the head of that association."  Collins wanted to resign raging that the Dáil cabinet wanted him to do its dirty work.  Comment


Curran J M (1980), pg 91


De Valera writes back saying that there had been a misunderstanding; that he was only keeping them informed as to Cabinet views as Cabinet would have to decide on policy when the delegation returned to Dublin. The delegation seems to have accepted this curtailment of their plenipotentiary powers as Griffith wrote back to de Valera the same day expressing his gratitude.  (Also, slightly odd that de Valera was saying that he was keeping the delegation informed of the Cabinet’s views given that three of the seven members of the Cabinet were in the Treaty Delegation.) 


Curran J M (1980), pg 91


British send Irish delegation a memorandum asking, inter alia, if the Irish would maintain allegiance to the Crown and acknowledge the common citizenship and full partnership in the Empire it entailed? They also asked about defence facilities and free trade.  Curran says that “a republic associated with the Empire, or even inside it, was just not practical politics in the 1920s”

Curran J M (1980), pg 94


Sinn Féin Ard Fheis on 27th and 28th. De Valera re-elected President.  In his speech, talking about the on-going negotiations, de Valera said “One question, the allegiance question, is closed from our point of view.  The question of some form of association with the States of the British Empire is open.  There is no reason why this nation should not associate itself with other nations provided that association was one that a self-respecting nation might enter.”  In the same speech, referring to the possible outcomes of the negotiations “I am anxious that you should realise the difficulties that are in the way, and the fact that the best people might legitimately differ on such a scheme.  The worst thing that could happen would be that we should not be tolerant of honest differences of opinion.”


Macardle (1999), pg 548; Gallagher (1953), pgs 328-329


Robert Briscoe, who had been sent by Michael Collins to Germany in late 1920 to purchase arms, had bought a small tug called the Frieda and, on this date, it left the port of Hamburg with 300 guns and 80,000 rounds of ammunition on board under the command of Charlie McGuinness from Derry City (and a German crew who spoke no English).  Its destination was Helvick Head in Co. Waterford. Briscoe sent a pre-arranged telegram to Liam Mellows, the IRA’s Director of Purchases who alerted Pax Whelan, O/C Waterford Brigade, who put a watch on Helvick Head for the approach of the Frieda.  Mellows came from Dublin to join the watch but, after a week, with no sign of the Frieda, they concluded that it must have sunk.  See 10th November.

McCarthy (2015), pg 93


Before sending their reply to the British memorandum of the 27th, Collins and Griffith meet with Llyod George and Birkenhead and Griffith understood that the British said that if Sinn Féin would accept the Crown then they would send for Craig and “force Ulster in”.  The Irish delegation send a memorandum saying that they would recommend that “the elected Government of a free and undivided Ireland, secured in the absolute and unfettered possession of all legislative and executive authority, should, for the purposes of the association, recognise the Crown as symbol and accepted head of the combination of signatory states".  (Macardle says that the latter formulation was drawn up by John Chartres.)  British disappointed with Irish memorandum.  Ultra-Unionists in Westminster had just proposed a resolution condemning the negotiations. 

Curran J M (1980), pg 90 & 94; Macardle (1999), pg 547


Griffith and Collins meet with Lloyd George, Birkenhead and Churchill.  In a private meeting between the two of them, Griffith promises Lloyd George a personal letter of assurance on the issues of Crown and Ulster (i.e. he would recommend recognition of the Crown if he was satisfied on other matters) for his use against conservative opponents in the House of Commons.  Griffith reported to de Valera saying that with these personal assurance that Llyod George “would fight on the Ulster matter to secure essential unity”.

Curran J M (1980), pg 95; Macardle (1999), pgs 553-554


Ultra-Conservative motion of censure defeated in House of Commons by 439 to 43 (with Labour and Liberal opposition supporting Government).  Llyod George argued that the only alternative to talks was the imposition of terms on Ireland and suppression of dissent – before they could get the support of the British people for this they must be sure that they cannot be a settlement via talks.  However, according to Macardle, Llyod George also promised Unionists that he would immediately take steps to have the powers conferred on the Northern parliament by the Government of Ireland Act transferred to it.  Comment 

Curran J M (1980), pg 95-; Macardle (1999), pg 554


W. Coen from Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo dies.

O’Farrell (1997), pg 104


Four Cumman na mBan members escape from Mountjoy Jail.  They were Eithne Coyle, May Burke, Aileen Keogh and Linda Kearns.  (One of the people aiding the escape is Dr St John Gogarty.)

Ó Duibhir (2011), pgs 33-36


A sheriff’s officer, Bernard Mailey, is killed in Raphoe, Co. Donegal.

Ozseker (2019), pg 186


Belfast Brigade had gone from 998 pre-Truce to 1,506 by October – in addition they were bringing in considerable number of arms and, by May 1922, had brought in 600 rifles and 5 Thomson machine guns.  

McDermott (2001), pg 106

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