1921 – After lengthy negotiations, the British give the Irish a deadline to accept or reject the Anglo-Irish treaty. In the words of Lloyd George, rejection would mean ‘immediate and terrible war’.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

Negotiations on Irish independence from Britain enter their final and crucial stage at Downing Street. The Irish delegates including Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith had returned from an acrimonious cabinet meeting in Dublin where unfortunately clarity did not exist. The negotiators again met with the British team which included Lloyd George and Winston Churchill.

It was an extremely hostile meeting with much debate about the status of the north of Ireland and Loyalist reaction. Minutes of the meeting taken by Irish delegate Robert Barton show the aggressive negotiating style of Lloyd George who stated ‘that he had always taken it that Arthur Griffith spoke for the Delegation’, that we were all plenipotentiaries and that it was now a matter of peace or war and we must each of us make up our minds. He required that every delegate should sign the document and recommend it, or there was no agreement…

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