'The gravest danger of a rash and violent lead...', 15 February 1922

This month's document to commemorate one hundred years since the end of the War of Independence in Ireland and the start of the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations of 1921, is a letter from Stephen Mary O’Mara (1883-1959), Lord Mayor of Limerick, to Harry Boland dated 15 February 1922.  

O’ Mara took up the position of Lord Mayor in March 1921. The previous two Lord Mayor’s were murdered on 7 March 1921 by Royal Irish Constabulary Auxiliaries; Michael O’Callaghan held the seat from 1920-1921 and George Clancy was the sitting Lord Mayor at the time of his shooting. O’Mara was a supporter and member of Sinn Fein from a young age. In July 1921, Eamon De Valera appointed him a fund-raiser and special envoy to the USA where he raised thousands of dollars for the republican movement.

De Valera and O’Mara were lifelong friends and when the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in December 1921, De Valera heard the news whilst in O’Mara’s house in Limerick. O’Mara was opposed to the Treaty, as this document illustrates. In his letter, which can be read below, O’Mara emphasised to Boland the urgency for Anti-treaty supporters to issue a policy on their position; 

"You yourself are well aware that unless a policy is formulated and announced at once there is the gravest danger of a rash and violent lead from the Country which would force your hands from perhaps in the wrong direction."

UCDA P150/1131. Papers of Eamon De Valera. Letter from Stephen Mary O'Mara, Lord Mayor of Limerick, to Harry Boland, 15 February 1922. Reproduced by kind permission of UCD-OFM Partnership.