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100 years ago: The new Irish Free State

09 December 2022

December 8th 1922

WITH what bitter mirth would Mr “Tim” Healy have received thirty years ago the suggestion that he might one day be the King’s representative in Ireland, and be addressed as Your Excellency! Yet that has come to pass, and the Free State which on Wednesday came into being has him as its first Governor-General. Englishmen and Irishmen alike will wish him well. In the stormiest days he won the respect of those who differed widely from him, who admired the courage and fervour of his championship of the Nationalist cause, and who felt the magic of his eloquence. Certain of his qualities have sometimes been obscured in the heat of conflict. He is a constitutionalist; and he has never been ashamed to avow himself a Catholic to whom the Faith is the most precious of possessions. Before him and the Free State Government lies a heavy task, yet a hopeful one. Rebellion smoulders still, but faith in the future is returning to the Irish people. Mr Cosgrave has lately said that Irish finance and trade are steadying, and the statement is amply borne out by the reports and returns furnished to English financial and trade journals by their representatives in Ireland. That is one of the surest signs of the beginning of a return to normal conditions.

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