Peace Council at the Palace
This is typical of the newsreels’ optimism that a peaceful solution could be found to the Irish question. In spite of the fact that this item reports the ‘splendid news’ that ‘peace was signed’ and depicts amicable interactions between the British and Irish delegation, the negotiations had been difficult and protracted. Michael Collins later reported his realization that he had just signed his own death warrant. Eight months later the newsreels would be reporting his funeral.
Go to the Read More section below for notes by Ciara Chambers.
In the construction of his own newsreel, Loach reflects how early newsreel producers operated (using library footage or including shots of one location as a stand in for another) and he also demonstrates audience dissatisfaction with both the politics of the British newsreels’ consistently pro-establishment, colonialist perspective and the way in which Irish stories were represented. What is interesting about this scene is that it depicts some of what can be speculated about audience responses to the depiction of Irish events before and after partition. Loach’s decision to show an audience watching this newsreel in a cinema testifies to the power of the newsreel form and its ultimate failure to accurately represent the turbulent and complex nature of Irish politics.