Irish Home Rule


Background Pre-1912

Act of Union signed 1801 incorporating Ireland into UK

Irish Mp's attended Westminster 

1820 onwards Irish Nationalists demanded greater independence

Liberals under Gladstone had twice tired to pass bills offering Home Rule before 1900

Long-term religious divide Catholic/Protestant

Irish Protestants didn't want to break their social, economic and political links and become a minority within Ireland

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Liberal Support

Back on agenda in 1910

Liberals relied on Irish Nationalist support

Had to keep their support

Gave Ireland it's own power and parliment

British Government kept control of foreign policy, defence, trade, pensions and national insurance

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Would undermine Empire

British Empire was breaking 

Had not been an issue in the 1910 election campaign 

Ulster Unionists

Feared discrimination from Catholics

Growing emphasis on Gaelic heritage

Ulster only industrial part of Ireland and didn't want to lose control over the wealth

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Ulster Demonstrating Opposition

Led by Edward Carson

Ulster Convenant (sacred agreement)

Signed by 200,000

Purpose to frighten off the Liberal Governemnts attempt to put Ulster under the authroity of a Home Rule Parliment in Dublin

Ulster Volunteer Force

Army to resist imposition of an all-Irish parliment 

Smuggled 30,000 rifles and £3million of ammunition into port of Larne

Willing to go to war over the issue

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Curragh Mutiny

Curragh one of the main bases of British Army in Ireland

57 calvary with ulster family connections refused to fight

Rather resign than fight 

Cast doubt on Liberal Government

Irish Nationalists fomred own military - Irish Volunteers 

Enforce Home Rule

Smuggled ammunition

Created fears of civil war/

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UK Reaction

Asquith failed to consider seperate status for Ulster

Liberals followed "wait and see" policy

Government action triggered Curragh Mutiny

Asquith slow to react

Failed to attempt to negotiate a compromise

Cause of opposition was the efforts of individual personalities

Crises deepened because nationalists responded in kind to Ulster Unionist mobilisation

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Irish Home Rule Bill

Was due to become law September 1914

After 2 year delay imposed by Lords

Last minute talks between parties at Buckingham Palace failed to reach agreement

Civil war only averted by outbreak of WW1

The outbreak of war suspended home rule for the duration

The problem postponed not resolved

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