Republican Cease-Fire Order

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Republican Cease-Fire Order

28 April 1923

The republican's cease-fire brought to an end a war that they had no chance of winning; the cease-fire was made possible by the death in combat of Irish Republican Army's chief of staff Liam Lynch. His successor Frank Aiken was much closer to Eamon de Valera and much more willing to agree to a cease-fire. De Valera tried to negotiate peace terms, but the government was not prepared to make any compromises, and on 24 May, Frank Aiken issued an order to "cease fire and dump arms." De Valera, Aiken, and other leaders were arrested shortly afterward.

SEE ALSO Civil War; de Valera, Eamon; Irish Republican Army (IRA); Political Parties in Independent Ireland; Politics: Independent Ireland since 1922


The government of the Republic, anxious to contribute its shares to the movement for peace, and to found it on principles that will give governmental stability and otherwise prove of value to the nation, hereby proclaims its readiness to negotiate an immediate cessation of hostilities on the basis of the following:—

  1. That the sovereign rights of this nation are indefeasible and inalienable.
  2. That all legitimate governmental authority in Ireland, legislative, executive and judicial, is derived exclusively from the people of Ireland.
  3. That the ultimate court of appeal for deciding disputed questions of national expediency and policy is the people of Ireland—the judgment being by majority vote of the adult citizenry, and the decision to be submitted to, and resistance by violence excluded, not because the decision is necessarily right or just or permanent, but because acceptance of this rule makes for peace, order, and unity in national action, and is the democratic alternative to arbitrament by force. Adequate opportunities and facilities must, of course, be afforded for a full and proper presentation to the court of all facts and issues involved, and it must be understood that 1 and 2 are fundamental and non-judicable.
  4. That no individual or class of individuals who subscribe to these principles of national right, order, and good citizenship can be justly excluded by any political oath, test, or other device from their proper share and influence in determining national policy, or from the councils and parliament of the nation.
  5. That freedom to express political or economic opinions, or to advocate political or economic programmes, freedom to assemble in public meeting, and freedom of the press are rights of citizenship and of the community which must not be abrogated.
  6. That the military forces of the nation are the servants of the nation and, subject to the foregoing, amenable to the national assembly when freely elected by the people.

We are informed that many in the ranks of our opponents will accept these principles as we accept them. If that be so, peace can be arranged forthwith.

We hope that this advance will be met in the spirit in which we make it, and that it will be supported by all who love our country, and who desire a speedy and just ending to the present national troubles.

As evidence of our own goodwill, the army command is issuing herewith an order to all units to suspend aggressive action—the order to take effect as soon as may be, but not later than noon Monday, April 30th.

Eamon de Valera, President.

Dublin, April 27th, 1923.

Óglaigh na h-Éireann

(Irish Republican Army) . . .

General Headquarters, Dublin,

April 27th, 1923 . . .

To: O.C.'s Commands and Independent Brigades.

Suspension of Offensive

1. In order to give effect to decision of the government and army council, embodied in attached proclamation of this date, you will arrange the suspension of all offensive operations in your area as from noon, Monday, April 30th.

2. You will ensure that—whilst remaining on the defensive—all units take adequate measures to protect themselves and their munitions.

Frank Aiken, Chief of Staff.

Irish Times, 28 April 1923.

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Republican Cease-Fire Order

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