Sinn Féin Rejects British Government Proposals

Weekly Dispatch, 4 September 1921

In September 1921, the Weekly Dispatch printed a statement released by the Press Association, which reported Sinn Féin’s rejection of Dominion Status for Ireland. Three months before the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, it speculated that this decision might create an impasse in future negotiations.

Grave Report of Impasse with Sinn Fein

The Press Association, which is frequently the vehicle for official and semi-official Government communications, issued the following message this morning:—

It is understood that the Sinn Fein reply is regarded in Government circles as a definite rejection of the Government proposals of Dominion Status for Ireland.

The situation is considered as extremely grave.

It will be recalled that on the occasion of the receipt of the first reply by de Valera to the Government’s offer, indications were given to the Press, before the text of his letter was published, that it amounted almost to a refusal of the terms.

The remarkable step of summoning a Cabinet Council to meet in Inverness may be taken to show that the situation urgently calls for a decision by the Government.

Suspense in Dublin

Feeling in Dublin since the truce began has been persistently a shade more optimistic than elsewhere, says our Irish correspondent. At the moment, however, one has to chronicle a note of deepening anxiety, perhaps the natural outcome of suspense.

It is recognised that a crucial period in the negotiations has been reached. If the Sinn Fein leaders have overstepped the mark and created a position which restores the impasse there will be profound disappointment throughout the country.

I am informed on authority that I have always found trustworthy that the Dail reply will express readiness to negotiate peace, not in the form of Dominion Home Rule or any other grant from the British Parliament, but in the shape of a treaty of alliance and defence between Ireland and Great Britain, and that, on the basis of government by the consent of the governed, it calls attention to the counties of Tyrone and Fermanagh, kept in the Ulster territory against the wish of the majority of their inhabitants.