In the Podcast below: Historian and Author Eoin Swithin Walsh explores the operation of the Dáil or Sinn Féin Courts in Kilkenny.
“The new Dáil Éireann parliament was established in January 1919 which is considered the first day of the Irish War of Independence. The people who established it were declaring that the Irish people will show that they are more than capable of governing themselves within a democratically elected parliament. One of the next logical steps then was to try to take over the running of the country’s justice system - that is - the law and order of the country. This is exactly what occurred throughout the country in the spring and summer of 1920 with the establishment of ‘Dáil Courts’ (also often referred to as ‘Sinn Fein Courts’ or ‘Volunteer Courts’). They would be in direct competition with Crown courts and it is safe to say that the people of Kilkenny took to the new system like ducks to water! In the space of a few months they became generally accepted by people from various walks of life. From Callan to Castlecomer, from Muckalee to Hugginstown, these courts were held throughout the county, especially in the summer months of 1920. This podcast takes a look at an assortment of cases which were heard in the new courts and the types of punishments meted out.”
Dail-Sinn-Fein-Courts---Kilkenny-1920.mp3 (size 16 MB)