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A blog about the recent history of Ireland, with a focus on the revolutionary period of the 20th century, including the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War.
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Plunkett’s Gathering: Count Plunkett and His Mansion House Convention, 1917 (Part IV)

Posted August 19th, 2017 at 09:23 AM by Ascendant

Plunkett’s Gathering: Count Plunkett and His Mansion House Convention, 19th April 1917 (Part IV)

On the 19th April 1917, the simmering feud between Count Plunkett and Arthur Griffith, the two most prominent leaders of the burgeoning independence movement, spilled out into public view at the 'Plunkett Convention'.

The Convention, held in the Mansion House, Dublin, was also notable in how it was the first attempt to voice the mood in Ireland since the Rising of the previous year. Due to the lack of elections since the start of the War in Europe, public bodies tended to be full of nominees of the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) who now longer spoke for their constituents or the country as a whole. But, while the IPP was on its way out, what would replace it was by no means certain.

As president of Sinn Féin, Griffith was regarded as a relative moderate who intended to continue with constitutional methods to achieve independence. This was not necessarily seen as a virtue by some, particularly those who had fought in the Rising, and they preferred to rally around Count Plunkett as a more militant alternative.

At the Convention, Plunkett did not disappoint his supporters. "Two things the Irishman could not separate from life were,” said the Count, “first, his reverence and subjection to God, and, secondly, his duty to his fellows in establishing liberty."

He then spoke of the need to form a new organisation, both politically and which would use the young men of the movement to establish "a series of resistance which no government could ignore and which no government could withstand."

This was met with approval from some, caution from others. It was when Seán Milroy, supported by Griffith, spoke of the need to form an alliance of nationalist groups, as opposed to a more centralised society like Plunkett wanted, that the suspicions and hostility between the two factions oozed out into view.

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