The provenance and dissolution of the Irish boundary commission

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Title: The provenance and dissolution of the Irish boundary commission
Authors: Rankin, K. J.
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Date: 2006
Abstract: The abortive saga of the Irish Boundary Commission has largely been dismissed as a minor footnote that warrants little elaboration in Ireland’s partition discourse. This is unsurprising considering that its final report, having been pre-empted by an inspired newspaper forecast, was hastily suppressed so as to prevent the destabilisation of the fledgling regimes in the newly created Northern Ireland and the then Irish Free State. However, the concept of the Irish Boundary Commission derives from the intensifying controversies of Irish Home Rule and partition with specific reference to how and where a boundary was eventually drawn as well as to the creation of Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State. The Commission was legally conceived in article 12 of the controversial 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty but confusion over its wording protracted a sequence of events that ensured that the Commission did not actually meet until almost three years later. The eventual restrictive interpretation of the article came to expose inherent flaws that were either ignored or naively underestimated when originally drafted. Furthermore, the complexities of evidence were inadequately scrutinised by a small and under-resourced panel that operated under considerable political pressure to delimit a precise line that satisfied the terms of reference. Nevertheless, the Boundary Commission served as a crucial catalyst in defining the Irish Free State’s relationship with the British State and Empire as well as in entrenching the territorial framework of Northern Ireland’s six counties that exists to this day.
Funding Details: Not applicable
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies
Copyright (published version): The author, 2006
Keywords: Boundary CommissionNorthern IrelandIrish Free StateHome RuleAnglo-Irish Treaty
Subject LCSH: Irish Boundary Commission
Ireland--History--Partition, 1921
Ireland--Relations--Great Britain
Great Britain--Relations--Ireland
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Institute for British-Irish Studies (IBIS) Working Papers and Policy Papers

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