Jennifer Molidor Although the Irish struggle for independence provided increased access to the public sphere for republican women like Dorothy Macardle (18891958), women's political activism also frequently provoked scorn from male nationalists. William T. Cosgrave, for instance, responded to Cumann na mBán's opposition to the Anglo-Irish Treaty by publicly blaming the bitter Irish Civil War on women's interference. Cosgrave claimed female activists were no "ordinary females"; quieting this "women's war" meant instigating a so-called "war on women."1 In 1922, this antagonism was demonstrated in a series of raids aimed at weakening the IRA by arresting female republican advocates like Dorothy Macardle, Maíre Comerford, and Mary Mac Swiney. Though Macardle and others protested their detention by going on a hunger strike, many were held without charge until the end of the civil war in 1923. Writing to the Freeman's Journal, the Irish Times, and the Irish Independent from Mountjoy Prison in 1922, Dorothy Macardle responded to Cosgrave's remarks on the detention and hunger strike of her friend, Mary Mac Swiney. "We were maintaining the Republican idea as writers, speakers, editors and members of the Publicity Departments Staff,--we were, that is, engaged, like Miss Mac Swiney, in speaking truths which
New Hibernia Review – Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas
Published: Dec 19, 2008
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