Diarmaid L. Fawsitt Archive Section 1 Desc. List.

Descriptive List of the Personal Archive of Diarmaid L. Fawsitt

Content and Structure

The second period of diplomacy concerns the post-Truce era, where Fawsitt’s records include copies of outgoing letters written by him in London whilst attending the Anglo- Irish treaty conference in his capacity as economic advisor to Robert Barton, T.D. (1881-1975). At this time, Fawsitt’s outgoing letter correspondence demonstrates that he was still primarily involved in the New York consulate. Amongst the papers from this period are draft corrections of texts evidently in circulation between Irish delegates and cabinet concerning those sections of the Anglo-Irish Treaty dealing with economic matters including trade, shipping, and Ireland’s share of the United Kingdom’s debt (ref PR81/1/3/B). The records from this period include letters with Eamon de Valera’s orders recalling Fawsitt from London in late November 1921 to embark on a secret mission to gauge support amongst businessmen in the north of Ireland for an economic and political union with the south. The reports of Fawsitt’s mission to Belfast submitted to the Irish cabinet shed an important light on the critical period immediately preceding the vote in favour of approving the Anglo-Irish treaty in Dail Eireann and the division of the cabinet on treaty lines (ref. PR81/1/3/C). The records are also accompanied by a small number of letters from the northern businessmen interviewed by Fawsitt and these provide a unique insight to the concerns and aspirations of some of the business community in the north. These records suggest a brief window in time where the Irish cabinet believed a united Ireland might be possible, before this was broken by the divisive debates on the treaty in Dail Eireann. Amongst these records is a small series of notes taken by Fawsitt whilst attending the public meetings of the treaty debates in the Dail (ref. PR81/1/3/E). The period after the Anglo-Irish treaty debates in Dail Eireann marks a great shift in Fawsitt’s career away from the field of diplomacy and towards a career in the civil service. Fawsitt moved from employment under Dail Eireann to his post in the Provisional Government of Ireland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, later part of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Surviving records from this period indicate Fawsitt’s role in early activities of the newly independent state. These include his role in the transfer of naval facilities to Ireland from Great Britain at Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour and correspondence with the British Admiralty concerning the Treaty Ports at Berehaven Co. Cork and Lough Swilly Co. Donegal (ref. PR81/1/4/B, and PR81/1/4/C/5). Fawsitt’s records on transatlantic communication cables and his unofficial visit to the United States in the summer of 1923 demonstrate an enduring importance placed by Fawsitt and others on Irish-American relations and trade during the civil war period. Extensive correspondence with Irish-Americans, especially James K. McGuire (1863-1923), a former mayor of Syracuse, New York, include important letters providing context for the divisions amongst Irish-Americans in the wake of the Anglo-Irish treaty. These include warnings from the United States of threats to the lives of Diarmaid Fawsitt, Eamon de Valera, Michael Collins, and Richard Mulcahy (ref. PR81/1/3/I/01/29). Extensive correspondence is also present concerning Fawsitt’s demise from the civil service following his unofficial visit to the United States in the summer of 1923 (ref. PR81/1/4/D). These records indicate Fawsitt’s enduring association with Eamon de Valera in the eyes of many, despite his support for the Anglo-Irish treaty. Section 5 of the collection is comprised of extensive papers demonstrating Fawsitt’s continued efforts to promote Irish trade and industry, and to re-establish himself

financially, following his departure from the public service. His involvement in the Irish Industrial Association, both in Dublin and Cork, is evident. Correspondence with the Cork Industrial Development Association contain evidence of efforts to promote trade in a number of different sectors including weaving, tobacco, and in motor manufacture at Ford’s plant in Cork. Correspondence with Mrs Slattery of the Irish Industrial Depot in New York illustrate his ongoing connection to Irish America (PR81/1/5/A/3). This section also documents his work as a journalist, broadcaster, and researcher on industrial topics, including trade marks, tariffs, production statistics, and the history of Irish industries. Sections 6 and 7 record Fawsitt’s new career as a barrister, and, subsequently, circuit court judge. The records present in Section 6 cover his legal training, his early work as a barrister (including work for firms such as Arthur Cox & Co), involvement in cases (eg, the Rossmuck Murder Appeal), and his ongoing study and research, as he quickly established himself as a leading barrister. Sub-section PR81/1/6/E covers Fawsitt’s service as a circuit court judge, initially on a temporary basis around Ireland, then subsequently as a permanent judge on the Eastern Circuit. Records include correspondence with court officials, county registrars, the Department of Justice, but also the Department of the Taoiseach, the file on which contains very interesting correspondence with Eamon De Valera sheding light on their friendship and relationship (PR81/1/6/E/4). Also of particular interest are extensive files (PR81/1/6/E/12-13) documenting his work chairing arbitration tribunals on workers’ wages under Emergency Powers in place during the Second World War, bringing together his industrial experience and his legal capacities. Letters of congratulations on his becoming a barrister, being appointed judge, and on his retirement, attest to the warmth and esteem in which he was regarded by his many friends and associates, in all walks of life. The diaries of his legal career as Judge in the South-Western Circuit Court, which comprise Section 7 of the collection, provide a unique insight into the life and activities in the legal profession of the newly independent Irish state. The small Section 8 documents some of Fawsitt’s interests as a public figure, eg, his involvement in the Archbishop Mannix Jubilee Commemoration Fund, and his associations with Australia, which he first visited in c1901/1902 and revisited in 1962. The records taken together form a common thread in Fawsitt’s life; that of his continued and determined interest in furthering the industrial and economic independence of Ireland, and of serving the Irish state and its citizens. The collection preserves an important set of archives recording attitudes towards trade, empire, and economic development both preceding independence and in the early years of the state, and into the world of the legal profession and courts service in mid-20th century Ireland.



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