Unbroken Continuity 1918 - present day
The IRA fought a civil war against the new Free State army but eventually had to end hostilities. They did this by dumping their arms, they did not surrender! For Republicans the legitimate government of Ireland continued to be the Second (All-Ireland) Dail, the Government of the All-Ireland Republic. The Second Dail continued to function in the shadows, largely ignored, until December 8, 1938 when it passed on its powers as the Government of the Republic of Ireland to the Army Council of the IRA.
In a statement on December 8, 1938 the surviving members of the Second Dail announced the Decision: Dail Eireann In consequence of armed opposition ordered and sustained by England, and the defection of elected representatives of the people over the period since the Republican Proclamation of Easter 1916 was ratified, three years later, by the newly inaugurated Government of the Irish Republic, we hereby delegate the authority reposed in us to the Army Council, in the spirit of the decision taken by Dail Eireann in the spring of 1921, and later endorsed by the Second Dail. In thus transferring the trust of which it has been our privilege to be the custodians for twenty years, we earnestly exhort all citizens and friends of the Irish Republic at home and abroad to dissociate themselves openly and absolutely from England's unending aggression's and we urge on them to disregard England's recurring war scares, remembering that our ancient and insular nation, bounded entirely by the seas, has infinitely less reason to become involved in the conflicts now so much threatened than have the neutral small nations lying between England and the Power she desires to overthrow. Confident, in delegating this sacred trust to the Army of the Republic that, in their every action towards its consummation, they will be inspired by the high ideals and the chivalry of our martyred comrades, we, as Executive Council of Dail Eireann, Government of the Republic, append our names. Sean O Ceallaigh (Ceann Comhairle) , George Count Plunkett , Professor William Stockley, Mary Mac Swiney , Brian O hUiginn , Tom Maguire , Cathal O Murchadha.
In a statement dated December 31, 1969 Thomas Maguire said: An IRA convention, held in December 1969, by a majority of the delegates attending, passed a resolution removing all embargoes on political participation in parliament from the Constitution and Rules of the IRA.
POWERS DELEGATED IN 1938: The effect of the resolution is the abandonment of what is popularly termed the "Abstentionist Policy”. The “Abstentionist Policy" means that the Republican candidates contesting parliamentary elections in Leinster House, Stormont or Westminster give pre-election pledges not to take seats in any of those parliaments. The Republican candidates seek election to the 32-county Parliament of the Irish Republic, the Republican Dail or Dail Eireann, to give it its official title he declared objective is to elect sufficient representatives to enable the 32-County Dail Eireann to be reassembled. In December 1938, the surviving faithful members of the latest 32-county Republican parliament, the Second Dail, elected in 1921, delegated their executive powers of government to the Army Council of the IRA. This proclamation of 1938 was signed by Sean O Ceallaigh, Ceann Comhairle, George Count Plunkett, Professor William Stockley, Mary Mac Swiney, Brian O hUiginn, Cathal O Murchadha and myself Tomas Maguire.
NEITHER RIGHT NOR AUTHORITY: The majority of the delegates at the December, 1969, IRA Convention, having passed the resolution referred to above, proceeded to elect an Executive which in turn appointed a new Army Council, committed to implement the resolution. That convention had neither the right nor the authority to pass such a resolution. Accordingly, I, as the sole surviving member of the Executive of Dail Eireann, and the sole surviving signatory of the 1938 Proclamation, hereby declare that the resolution is illegal and that the alleged Executive and Army Council are illegal, and have no right to claim the allegiance of either soldiers or citizens of the Irish Republic.
Provisional Army Council: The delegates who opposed the resolution, together with delegates from units which were not represented at the Convention, met subsequently in Convention and repudiated the resolution. They re-affirmed their allegiance to the Republic and elected a Provisional Executive which in turn appointed a Provisional Army Council.
In a statement dated October 22nd 1986 Thomas Maguire wrote: There is no difference between entering the partition parliament of Leinster House and entering a partition parliament of Stormont. I speak as the sole surviving Teachta Dala of the Second Dail Eireann and as the sole surviving member of the Executive of the Second Dail Eireann. In December, 1969, as the sole surviving member of the Executive of the Second Dail Eireann, I recognised the Provisional Army Council, which remained true to the Irish Republic as the lawful Army of the Thirty-two County Irish Republic. I do not recognise the legitimacy of any Army Council styling itself the Army Council of the Irish Republican Army which lends support to any person or organisation styling itself as Sinn Féin and prepared to enter the partition parliament of Leinster House. The majority of delegates to a recent IRA convention purported to accept the Leinster House partition parliament, and in so doing broke faith and betrayed the trust placed in their predecessors in 1969. The Irish Republic, proclaimed in arms in Easter Week 1916 and established by the democratic majority vote of the people in the General Election of 1918, has been defended by Irish Republicans for several generations.
On the 25th of July 1987 Thomas Maguire issued another statement declaring the Continuity IRA as the lawful Army of the Thirty Two County Irish Republic. In it he wrote: I refer to my statement, dated 22nd of October, 1986, and I speak again, as the sole surviving Teachta Dala of the Second Dail Éireann, and the sole surviving member of the Executive of the Second Dail. In that statement, I referred to my recognition in December, 1969, of the Provisional Army Council of the IRA, which had remained true to the Irish Republic, as the lawful Army of the Thirty Two County Irish Republic. I also stated on 22nd October, 1986, that I did not recognise the legitimacy of an Army Council, styling itself the Army Council of the Irish Republican Army, which lent support to any person or organisation styling itself Sinn Féin, and prepared to enter the partition parliament of Leinster House. I referred, as well, to the IRA Convention, which had taken place shortly before the 22nd October, 1986. The Executive of the IRA had, by a majority, opposed entering Leinster House. The faithful members of that Executive, in accordance with the IRA Constitution, filled the vacancies in the Executive, and that Executive continues as the lawful Executive of the Irish Republican Army. The Continuity Executive has appointed an Army council of the IRA. I quote the following extract from my statement of 31st December 1969: 'In December, 1938, the surviving faithful members of the latest 32 County Republican Parliament, the Second Dail elected in 1921, delegated their executive powers of government to the Army Council of the IRA.
Dated the 25th day of July 1987
Signed: Thomas Maguire
Tomas Maguidhir Comdt. General