chapter  5
36 Pages

Women In Prison

WithSeán McConville

During the Civil War and its aftermath, anti-Treaty women were interned and imprisoned. The former group attracted the attention of the Free State authorities by their associations, agitational activities and auxiliary work for the anti-Treaty forces. Dublin was the principal holding place for women prisoners. Women presented a number of political and logistical problems, and, in general, their imprisonment reinforced the anti-Treaty side in a manner quite disproportionate to their numbers. Hunger-striking was undertaken and continued throughout the autumn of 1923 and, sporadically, in 1924, usually for the maximum demand: unconditional release. Women played a leading part in each. There were some who, though prominent and vocal in their support for the anti-Treaty cause, seemed to be untouchable. In the spring of 1923, operating under the cover of the government of the Irish Republic, women activists attempted to involve the International Committee of the Red Cross in Irish prison and camp conditions.