Deputy James Dillon itched with a question. In the Dail Eireann he put it to Prime Minister Eamon de Valera: "Are we a republic, or are we not?"
Up rose the Taoiseach, the solemn man. Said he: "If that is all you want to know, Eire is a republic." Then down he sat.
Deputy Dillon nearly swallowed his Adam's apple. "Will anyone tell me," he said, "when we became a republic?" Mr. de Valera merely smiled.
A few days later he replied. Eire, he announced, became an independent republic on Dec. 29, 1937, when its Constitution became operative; in external policy it...