Burning of Cork, Winthrop Street

Dividing the Nation - The Anglo Irish Treaty Debates

From the 14th December 1921 to the 7th January 1922, members of Dáil Éireann held a series of private and public sessions to debate the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland that had been signed in London by representatives of the Dáil and the British Government.   


These debates would prove acrimonious and cause deep divisions between its supporters and opponents.  Those divisions would divide the nation and lead to a civil war that would shape Ireland’s political landscape for a century.


To mark the centenary of the Treaty Debates, Cork City Council has funded a unique historical recorded production for the students of Cork. The aim of the project is to bring the history of our nation to life.


St Peter’s has collaborated with Wombat Media to capture the performance of the students from the Acting for Stage and Screen Course of Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa. The historic debates are adapted by Cork historian Gerry White, directed by Jon Whitty of Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa and performed by the students, this adaptation will cover some of the key moments of the debates in the words of the participants, including many Corks’ TDs.


The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Colm Kelleher stated “the Treaty Debates adaption encompasses the principles and values which Cork City Council seek to enshrine as part of our Centenary Commemoration Programme which aims to re-affirm the importance of Dáil Eireann and acknowledge the ideals, principles and aspirations of the men and women of who shaped the course of Irish history and the part played by the people of Cork in the events that took place 100 years ago. I also wish to acknowledge the support provided to Cork City Council’s Decade of Centenaries Commemoration Programme by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. That support has enabled the Council to fund this performance and other events in our Centenary Programme”.


Historian Gerry White discussed the adaptation saying “because of time and space it was necessary to condense debates that lasted days into a 90-minute adaptation. While this was challenging, the objective was to provide a text that would be fair to both sides and cover the main arguments in favour and against the Treaty”. 


Jon Whitty Director/Teacher with Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa Drama Department said “St Peter’s Church and Gerry White have been a pleasure for the students and I to collaborate with. Cork City Council’s funding and the personal collaborations have provided the students with a great opportunity in which to explore and demonstrate their talents”