The final attempt to broker a deal failed in May 1922. From Left to Right Sean McEoin (Pro-Treaty), Sean Moylan (IRA), Eoin O’Duffy (Pro-Treaty), Liam Lynch (IRA), Gearóid O’Sullivan(Pro-Treaty) and Liam Mellows (IRA).
Why did the Free State choose this strategy?
To see this however as a series as flawed decisions is incorrect. When Thomas Johnson the Labour leader vented his fury over the execution of Mellowes, Barret, O Connor and McKelvey in December 1922, he said “I am almost forced to say you have killed the new State at its birth”  he missed the point. They had not killed the state quite the opposite.
The knew how weak the Anti Treaty forces were indeed the secretary of the Free State Government Diarmuid O Hegarty said “The Government was, however, satisfied, that those forces contained within themselves elements of disruption that given time would accomplish their own disintegration” Yet they still ruthlessly crushed them. The Free State were well aware of what they were doing. The next ten years would show they had successfully laid the groundwork for a deeply authoritarian state in the civil war.
In this light their execution of the war did not auger well for the future. Over the following ten years they would apply an equally authoritarian outlook in enforcing their view of society. Far from creating a stable society they forced well over half the population into an oppressive existence.
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