Ireland's Address to the Free Nations of the World, 1919

Ireland’s Address to the Free Nations of the World was one of four documents adopted by An Chéad Dáil Éireann when it met on January 21st, 1919. It was a call from the Sinn Féin TD’s assembled in Dáil Éireann to the governments around the world to give official recognition to the newly declared Irish Republic.

The Address was aimed at the nations gathering at the Paris Peace Conference which had opened just three days earlier. This conference would soon produce the Treaty of Versailles and establish the League of Nations. The decisions and agreements made there would shape the direction of world events throughout the 20th century. The Sinn Féin deputies were acutely aware of the importance of winning over potential allies at the conference and took the opportunity to make their case. We reproduce both versions here, firstly as Gaeilge, then in English.

 

DO NAISIÚNAIBH AN DOMHAIN!

BEATHA AGUS SLÁINTE.

 

Tá Náisiún na hÉireann tar éis a saoirse do fhorfhógairt, tá a teachtaí toghtha tar éis teacht i ndáil chómhairle i bpríomhchathair na tíre an t-aonmhadh lá fichead de mhí Eanair, 1919. Tríotha súd, chum Saorstát Éireann do chothughadh, iarrann sí ar gach náisiún dílis náisiúntacht Éireann féin do admháil agus a bheith de bhuaidh aici an náisiúntacht soin do dheimhniughadh i láthair Comhdhála na Síothcána.

I gcúrsáibh náisiúntachta, tá deighilt ó bhonn idir Éire agus Sacsa i dtaoibh cineadh is teangan, béas is nós is seanchus. Náisiún de na náisiúnaibh is ársa 'san Eóraip uile is eadh Éire, agus na tréithe is dual di táid slán iomshlán aici fós i n-aindeoin an fhóiréigin Ghallda atá ag brughadh uirthe le seacht gcéad bliadhain. Níor scaoil sí riamh uaithe na buadha is dúthchas di, agus níor leig sí riamh do ré dul thairste gan an náisiúntacht is dual di féin an leithligh do dhearbhadh go dána ó Ghabháltas Gall i leith go dtí an tráth is déadhnaighe dár ghlac sí claidheamh go cródha i mbliadhain a 1916.

I gcúrsaíbh eadarnáisiúntachta, is í Éire geata na Fairrge Móire; is í Éire daingean deiridh na hEórpa á'n Iarthar; ionad is eadh í mar a dhruideann raona tráchtála le chéile ó Oirthear agus Iarthar : is éigean di bheith neamhspleádhach i gcómhair Saoirse na Fairrge; is éigean a cuanta bheith ar oscailt i gcómhair gach uile náisiún i n-ionad a mbeith fé smacht Shacsan féin amháin. Táid na cuanta úd follamh díomhaoin le fada de bhrígh gurab é meón Shacsan agus lucht treórtha a loingis Éire do choimeád mar sciath chosanta i gcómhair móruighthe Shacsan agus a hImpreachta. Dá réir sin, i n-ionad buntáiste agus cosaint do theacht don Eóraip agus do Aimeirce de bharr dealuighthe an oileáin seo is amhla bhaintear feidhm aisti chum an domhan mór do choimeád fé chomhacht Shacsan ar leithligh.

Tá Éire ag aithdhearbhadh don domhan nuadh so atá ag á scaoileadh féin ón gcogadh go mbaineann náisiúntacht ársa léi, agus is móide a dóchas go ngéillfear dá scéal de bhrigh go gcreideann sí gur Saoirse agus ceart atá mar bhun ar Dlighe na Náisiún; gur cóir do phobalaibh cuidiughadh le chéile, ós árd, ar son an Chirt is i gcoinnibh gach buadha dá dtéigheann go dlúth leis an tíoránacht; gur deimhin nach de bharr buansmacht arm ar mhaithe le impreacht a bhuanóchar an tsíothcháin 'san Eóraip acht de bharr smacht riaghaltais a cheapfar i ngach tír le saorthoil saerchine ; agus gur deimhin fós ná cuirfear deireadh choidhche leis an síorchogadh so idir Éire agus Sacsa chum go nglanfaidh lucht airm Shacsan as talamh na hÉireann go bráth na breithe.

Dá mbrígh so uile, agus de bhrígh, mór-mhór, gur "Sinn Féin Sinn Féin" soiscéal an tsaoghail indiu is go bhfuil réim na Saoirse láimh linn do réir gach geallamhna, tá ceaptha go daingean diongbhálta ag Éirinn gan géilleadh choidhche do smacht eachtrannach. Ar an adhbhar soin iarrann sí ar gach náisiún dílis cuidiughadh léi san éileamh atá curtha aici roimpe, 'sé sin Saoirse i n-iomshlán agus Saorstát Gaedhlach. Níl ceart ná cóir ag Riaghaltas Shacsan i nÉirinn, ní raibh de bhun riamh le smacht Sacsan i nÉirinn ach calaois. ní féidir a bhuanughadh ná a choimeád ar siubhal féin, gan arm uathbhásach. Dá dheascaibh sin is mian le hÉirinn seasamh i láthair Sacsan ag Cómhdháil na Náisiún i dtreo go bhfeicfidh an saoghal an scéal atá eadartha, go ndéanfaidh an domhan mór breitheamhnas ar an éagcóir atá ar siubhal ag Sacsaibh agus an ceart atá ag dul do Éirinn is go ngeallfar do mhuinntir na hÉireann pé congnamh a theastóchaidh uatha chum a saoirse do bhuanughadh do dheoin Dé.

TO THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD!
GREETING.

The Nation of Ireland having proclaimed her national independence, calls through her elected representatives in Parliament assembled in the Irish Capital on January 21st, 1919, upon every free nation to support the Irish Republic by recognising Ireland's national status and her right to its vindication at the Peace Congress.

Nationally, the race, the language, the customs and traditions of Ireland are radically distinct from the English. Ireland is one of the most ancient nations in Europe, and she has preserved her national integrity, vigorous and intact, through seven centuries of foreign oppression: she has never relinquished her national rights, and throughout the long era of English usurpation she has in every generation defiantly proclaimed her inalienable right of nationhood down to her last glorious resort to arms in 1916.

Internationally, Ireland is the gateway of the Atlantic. Ireland is the last outpost of Europe towards the West: Ireland is the point upon which great trade routes between East and West converge: her independence is demanded by the Freedom of the Seas: her great harbours must be open to all nations, instead of being the monopoly of England. To-day these harbours are empty and idle solely because English policy is determined to retain Ireland as a barren bulwark for English aggrandisement, and the unique geographical position of this island, far from being a benefit and safeguard to Europe and America, is subjected to the purposes of England's policy of world domination.

Ireland to-day reasserts her historic nationhood the more confidently before the new world emerging from the War, because she believes in freedom and justice as the fundamental principles of international law, because she believes in a frank co-operation between the peoples for equal rights against the vested privileges of ancient tyrannies, because the permanent peace of Europe can never be secured by perpetuating military dominion for the profit of empire but only by establishing the control of government in every land upon the basis of the free will of a free people, and the existing state of war, between Ireland and England, can never be ended until Ireland is definitely evacuated by the armed forces of England.

For these among other reasons, Ireland - resolutely and irrevocably determined at the dawn of the promised era of self-determination and liberty that she will suffer foreign dominion no longer - calls upon every free nation to uphold her national claim to complete independence as an Irish Republic against the arrogant pretensions of England founded in fraud and sustained only by an overwhelming military occupation, and demands to be confronted publicly with England at the Congress of the Nations, in order that the civilised world having judged between English wrong and Irish right may guarantee to Ireland its permanent support for the maintenance of her national independence.