The statement says that a special convention of Volunteers will be held ‘to declare that Ireland cannot, with honour or safety, take part in foreign quarrels otherwise than through the free action of a National Government of her own; and to repudiate the claim of any man to offer up the blood and lives of the sons of Irishmen and Irishwomen to the service of the British Empire’.
Ultimately, the immediate establishment of a National Government was demanded by Prof. MacNeill and his fellow signatories.
The statement was laced with bitterness at the manner in which Mr. Redmond had assumed control over the Volunteers three months ago when it was a proven success, having initially opposed its establishment and operations. There is also reference to the proposed capacity of certain Ulster counties to opt out of Home Rule, and to John Redmond’s apparent agreement with ‘the legislative dismemberment of Ireland’.
Amongst the men who signed the statement with Prof. O’Neill were P.H. Pearse, Bulmer Hobson, Eamonn Ceannt, Thomas MacDonagh, Sean Mac Diarmada and Liam Mellows.
A split in the Volunteers is now inevitable and a battle for control of the nationwide organisation is already underway.