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The American Commission on Conditions in Ireland, Evidence on Conditions in Ireland

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This publication is a collection of the evidences used in "The Interim Report for the American Commission on Conditions in Ireland" 1921, and contains the oral and written testimonies from witnesses in Ireland dating from the end of 1920 and beginning of 1921. The evidence collected by Commission was eventually presented to its parent body, the American Committee of 150 on Ireland, which was published under the title Evidence on Conditions in Ireland. Like later commissions on Northern Ireland, the intention of the America Commission was stated to be the impartial account of the atrocities committed in Ireland by both sides during the War of Independence and it was hoped that by so dealing the situation in Ireland could be better understood and a healing process could begin. However, as the Commission pointed out, the eventual interim report was highly Republican in its eventual tenure. The Commission did not hesitate in pointing out that this was through no fault of its own, as all levels of both sides of the conflict had been requested to take part in the Commission's inquiry. The initial signs from the British Government had been encouraging. However, it quickly became apparent that at best the British Government would benignly not interfere in the process by not disallowing Irish witnesses visas and passports to travel to America to give their testimony. As the process of inquiry got under way, witnesses sympathetic to the the cause of Irish independence were denied permission to travel and faced other forms of duress to prevent their testimony. Despite the British Government's best efforts in preventing the Commission undertaking a thorough inquiry into the political conditions prevailing in Ireland during the War of Independence, its efforts were in vain. Many witnesses were smuggled illegally into America or written testimonies were provided in their stead. Published in May 1921, Evidence on Conditions in Ireland, Comprising the Complete Testimony, Affidavits, and Exhibits Presented Before the American Commission on Conditions in Ireland, Transcribed an annotated by Albert Coyle, Official Reporter to the Commission, represents the oral and written testimonies of Irish, American and British witnesses before the Commission and as such is the published account of the complete evidence submitted to the American Commission on Conditions in Ireland. Containing some 1120 and printed pages, the resultant publication of the Commission's finding were, in its own words 'the complete testimony of all witnesses who appeared before the Commission, as well as all sworn affidavits and other important documents submitted in evidence' and were published 'without colour or comment' so that the public could judge for itself what events were truly happening in Ireland. Session 1 of the first hearing took place on 18th November 1920 and involved the oral testimony given to the Committee by Denis Morgan, the Chairman of the Thurles Urban District Council. The final session, session 6 was concluded on 21st January 1921 by evidence given to the Commission by Miss Caroline Townsend, an officer of the Gaelic League at Bandon, Co. Cork. Forty-one witnesses in total gave verbal evidence to the Commission. This publication represents a monumental account of the Irish War of Independence from a multitude of eyewitness accounts and is probably the best single source of published material on the subject available.

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