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20 Apr

AE against Conscription

“Conscription for Ireland – A warning to England” – a pamphlet reprint of a letter against conscription by AE (George Russell). Held in UCD Special Collections.

This A4 page leaflet was published by the Mansion House Conference. The text consists of a letter written by George Russell to The Manchester Guardian, printed in the issue of May 11th 1918. This copy is held in UCD Special Collections.

The Mansion House Conference was a meeting held in Dublin’s Mansion House, including representatives of workers and trade unions, the Catholic Church, and political rivals Sinn Féin and the Irish Parliamentary Party. On the 20th April 1918 this broad alliance confirmed its opposition to conscription. The Catholic Church was represented because two days earlier the bishops of Ireland had already resolved to support the anti-conscription campaign in Ireland, marking a move away from the British governing powers.

The declaration of 20th April was a key event in the conscription crisis of 1918. The crisis ultimately strengthened Sinn Féin and the Irish Volunteers, and weakened both the Irish Parliamentary Party and British governance in Ireland, paving the way for the dramatic switch from the IPP to Sinn Féin in the election later that year.

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