Article by Government Minister Jimmy Deenihan:
The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, which is among the most historically significant of the documents in the custody of the National Archives of Ireland, has been selected by me to showcase the many digital items from Ireland that are being made available online through Europeana. This document is potent evidence of the primacy of dialogue and consensus as a means of reconciling and accommodating the aspirations of the disparate nations that comprise the European family.
The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 was concluded between representatives of the government of Great Britain and of Irish nationalists who wished to establish an independent Irish nation. It brought an end to the centuries of tension between Great Britain and Ireland that frequently took the form of physical conflict. With the benefit of hindsight, the Treaty can now be said to have sown the seeds of a new relationship that evolved into one of mutual recognition, respect and equality.
The inclusion of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 in Europeana is particularly apposite as a reminder that all nations that comprise the European Union are sovereign and have their own unique origins in different times and under varied circumstances. All now participate as full and equal members in the community of nations that is Europe, with a common vision and shared aspirations for the future.
It is a source of considerable pride to me and to Ireland to be able to make this seminal document in the history of the modern Irish state available in digital form to all Europeans and I hope that its inclusion will inspire other nations to share on Europeana those documents that best express their individual national experience.