‘Our Cameraman was there’. Michael Collins endorses the Anglo-Irish Treaty to an audience gathered at the Grand Parade in Cork City, where he receives an enthusiastic reception. It’s not too long before the crowd is seen surging backwards as several men begin to fire their guns in the crowd. This is the same footage that’s featured in The Great Cork Treaty newsreel.
Michael Collins described The Treaty as ‘the freedom to achieve freedom’. In practice, The Treaty offered most of the symbols and powers of independence. These included a functioning, if disputed, parliamentary democracy with its own executive, judiciary and a written constitution which could be changed by the Oireachtas. Although a Republic was not an option at the time, The Treaty still afforded Ireland more internal independence than it had possessed in over 400 years, and far exceeded the most optimistic goals of the Home Rule movement.