Córas na Poblachta
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The idea for a new party was discussed at a meeting in Dublin on 21 February 1940 attended by 104 former officers of the pro- and anti-Treaty wings of the Irish Republican Army. The inaugural meeting of the new party took place on 2 March 1940. Simon Donnelly, who had fought in Boland's Mill under Éamon de Valera in 1916, the former leader of the Dublin section of the IRA, and former chief of the Irish Republican Police, was elected as president of a central committee of fifteen members. Other leaders were Seán Fitzpatrick, another Irish War of Independence veteran; Con Lehane, who had lately left the IRA; Séamus Gibbons; Tom O'Rourke; Seán Dowling, one of Rory O'Connor's principal lieutenants in the Irish Civil War; Colonel Roger McCorley, one of the principal IRA leaders in Belfast during the War of Independence who had taken the Irish Free State side in the Civil War; Frank Thornton, one of Michael Collins' top intelligence officers; Roger McHugh, a lecturer in English at University College Dublin and later professor; Captain Martin Bell and Peter O'Connor. Also in attendance at the first meeting was Seamus O'Donovan, Director of Chemicals on IRA Headquarters Staff in 1921 and architect of the IRA Sabotage Campaign in England by the IRA in 1939–40. Indeed, O'Donovan proposed several of the basic resolutions.
The main aim of Córas na Poblachta was the formal declaration of a Republic. It also demanded that the Irish language be given greater prominence in street names, shop signs, and government documents and bank notes. It proposed to introduce national service in order that (male) citizens understood their responsibilities. The party’s economic policy was the statutory right to employment and a living wage. It proposed breaking the link with the British pound, the nationalisation of banks and the making of bank officials into civil servants. In the area of education, the party espoused free education for all children over primary age as a right, and university education when feasible. It also called for the introduction of children’s allowances.
Ailtirí na hAiséirghe
The party had close ties with the Irish nationalist and pro-fascist party Ailtirí na hAiséirghe. There was talk of a merger however the three most prominent leaders Simon Donnelly, Sean Dowling and Roger McCorley opposed one due to the fear that the party would be submerged in a joint organisation.
The party was not successful and failed to take a seat in a by-election held shortly after the party’s foundation. The party slowly fell apart, and Tim Pat Coogan notes that: “Dissolution occurred because people tended to discuss the party rather than join it.” Importantly, the party was not supported by the hardcore of republican legitimatists, such as Brian O'Higgins, who viewed the IRA Army Council as the legitimate government of an existing Irish Republic. Indeed, in March 1940, O'Higgins published a pamphlet entitled Declare the Republic lambasting the new party.
1943 General Election
Córas fielded candidates in the 1943 General Election, none getting elected and receiving a total of 3,892 votes between them.
|Denis J. O'Driscoll||Tipperary|
|Simon Donnelly||Dublin South|
|Sean Dowling||Dublin South|
|Martin Bell||Dublin North-East|
- Summary of policy, Dublin: Córas na Poblachta Central Committee, 1940.
- The republican plan for the new Ireland, Dublin: Córas na Poblachta Central Committee, 1942.
- Aicein: voice of the Irish Youth Movement, Córas na Poblachta, ca. 1941.
- "50 Years Ago Córas na Poblachta", Saoirse, August 1997.