American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Michael Collins" (1996)


Dáil Éireann Debate on the Proposed Treaty between Ireland and Great Britain


Audio mp3 of Exchange delivered by Gerard McSorley, Owen Roe, and Liam Neeson


  Cathal Brugha: ...We were elected by the people of Ireland. We were elected by the people of Ireland and do the people of Ireland think we were liars when we meant to uphold the Irish Republic?

  Arthur Griffith: In the letters -- In the letters that preceded the negotiations not once was the demand for recognition of the Irish Republic. If it had been made, we knew it would have been refused.

Brugha: So, Mr. Collins is asking us to accept an oath of allegiance to a foreign king,  and the partition -- and the partition of the northern part of the country.

Griffith: Mr. Collins, Mr. Collins, the man who won the recent war -- has himself described the treaty as a stepping stone towards the ultimate freedom.

  Brugha: Mr. Griffith -- Mr. Griffith -- Mr. Griffith has described Mr. Collins as the "man who won the war."

  Collins: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman. Are we discussing the treaty or discussing myself?

Brugha: The minister does not like what I have to say.

Collins: Anything that can be said about me, say it.

Brugha: Mr. Collins, the position you had in the army was as chief of one of the subsections. Nobody sought -- Nobody sought -- Nobody sought notoriety except you.

Collins: Come on, Cathal.

Brugha: One person was held up by the press and put into a position he never held. He was made -- He was made a romantic figure, a mystical -- a mystical character, which he certainly is not. The person I refer to is Michael Collins.

Collins: I would plead with every person here. Make me a scapegoat, if you will. Call me a traitor, if you will. But please, let's save the country. The alternative to this treaty is a war which nobody in this gathering can even contemplate. If the price of freedom, the price of peace, is the blackening of my name, I will gladly pay it. Thank you.

Final Vote Announcement: The result, ladies and gentlemen, is 64 to 57, a majority of 7 -- in favor the treaty!


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