18th April 1918

Anti-Conscription Committee formed

Conscription in Britain had been in force since 1916 but was never extended to Ireland. With a new German offensive in March, the prime minister, David Lloyd George desperately needed more recruits. He proposed extending conscription to Ireland in exchange for Home Rule. This proposal had the effect of angering both Irish nationalists and unionists.

The Irish Anti-Conscription Committee was formed in Dublin to resist conscription in Ireland. Members came from different sections of nationalist opinion and included John Dillon and Joseph Devlin of the Irish Parliamentary Party, and Éamon de Valera and Arthur Griffith of Sinn Féin.

They organised strikes and rallies throughout the country. A one day general strike was called on 23 April 1918 and affected all parts of Ireland except Ulster.

By June 1918, in the face of hostility and because of changing fortunes in the war, the plans to introduce conscription in Ireland were dropped.

First World War, Military & Policing, Republicanism, Nationalism, Parliament
Ireland's Solemn League and Covenant: Anti-conscription protest form.
National Library of Ireland [LO P 114]