Development of Irish Nationalism

10 October 2016

To unite Irish Catholics into a unified political movement and secure  Catholic emancipation. Catholic rent to foster a sense of involvement and loyalty and to  raise funds for the movement. Mobilised support through the Catholic Church, who gave their support  to the movement. ‘awakened the political consciousness of the Irish masses’ . Wrenched Catholic Emancipation from a hostile government and king. Associated nationalism with Catholicism – limited possible support  right from the start. 840 The Repeal Association To secure a repeal of the Union. However, O’Connell was committed to the British connection and was not fighting for independence. Repeal Rent Catholic Church Monster Meetings The Irish people were not really interested in repeal of the Union, especially after 1845 when the Famine swept through Ireland – a starving and tired people could hardly have much interest in a political movement that had so little chance of success 1848 Young Ireland They looked back to Wolfe Tone and their ultimate aim was independence for Ireland.

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However, under the influence of Finton Laylor who argued that ……… and they also committed to land reform. Violent Rebellion (1848) The rebellion was a complete failure, but the Young Ireland movement  left an important legacy. 1867 Fenians established An independent Ireland Violence – ultimately, a mass rebellion like that of Wolfe Tone. The Fenians were always a minority in the national movement, and their actions tended to arouse hostility rather than admiration in Ireland. However, their atrocities in the 60’s motivated men like Gladstone into a program of reform for Ireland.

This was perhaps their most surprising and unintended legacy. However, the Fenian movement stayed alive throughout the period, and was ready to play an important role in the revival of republicanism after 1914, and played an important role in the 1916 Rising. 1870 Butt founds the Home Rule Party Self-government – he was committed to the British connection. Parliamentary pressure Butt was a complete failure. He did not command a sense of loyalty either from the Irish population or his party. His leadership and authority was poor, and many members of his party were not committed Home Rulers.

He had a great deal of respect for the House of Commons, but no one paid him any attention in parliament, and many laughed at him. 1879 New Departure – the causes of land reform and HR were united in one national movement  To settle all areas of Irish grievance, but ultimately: Land reform Home rule A combination of constitutional and extra-parliamentary methods:  Land war Pressure in Parliament Second Land Act – ineffective Made Home Rule a realistic possibility 1880 Parnell takes over the leadership of the Irish Parliamentary Party A more effective party, with a more authoritarian leadership and more discipline.

Home Rule. Parnell centralised authority, and in 1882, all members had to sign an oath of allegiance to the party. The party was united under Parnell’s leadership and it became a far more formidable parliamentary force. The greatest Irish movements were united under his leadership. 1881 Second Land Act To destroy the ‘raison d’etre’ of the LL. Less an economic policy than a political stroke. Granted the 3 F’s and thus all of the demands of the LL. It did not solve the real problems in Irish agriculture Put Parnell in a dilemma In the long term, rents were reduced through the land courts 1881

Parnell is imprisoned To ensure that he did not wreck the land act by opposing it. He became a martyr, and his popularity grew. Violence increased. 1882 Kilmainham Treaty Parnell replaces the Land League with the National League  To stop increase and spread of violence. The National League was to replace the LL and become the electoral arm of the IPP, promoting HR. Violence did decrease, and support for Home Rule grew very rapidly – the NL was a very effective body. 1885 General Election – Parnell commits to the Conservatives Home Rule – he thought the C’ves were more likely to grant it.

He supported the C’ve party, and instructed Irish voters in England to vote C’ve  The C’ves swept to power, and were guaranteed the support of the Irish in parliament. 1885 Gladstone announced as in favour of Home Rule. CSP switched sides. The Cons were defeated and the Liberals came back  to power. 1886 First Home Rule Bill It failed in the H of C’s. Several prominent Liberal unionists left the party. The Liberals were out, and the Irish faced 20 years of ‘resolute government’. 1890 Divorce Scandal IPP split The IPP split, and never fully recovered. There was no effective fighting force for the next 10 years at least. 1894

Second Home Rule Bill It failed in the House of Lords. The Irish became disillusioned, and support for the Irish party, which was heavily divided, fled. 1900 IPP reform under the moderate John Redmond There was now a united Irish party to fight for Irish causes. 1907 Sinn Fein is founded an independent Irish republic. SF did not begin as a violent organisation – it championed ‘passive  resistance’ and used abstention from parliament to show their opposition to the British connection. Sinn Fein would soak up disillusioned home rulers, and change the Irish question from one of Home Rule to one of Independence. 1910 Constitutional crisis

Redmond used it to get Asquith to promise a HR bill in the next Parliament. It worked. 1912 Third Home Rule Bill The Lords could not block it forever, and it was clear that Home Rule would eventually happen, but not for two years. 1913 Irish Volunteers formed. To keep up with Unionist developments – to insure the Irish were not left behind and could exert as mush pressure on the government as Ulster. To fight for HR were It necessary. The Irish situation deteriorated further. Tensions were raised. 1914 Home Rule can come into operation, but it was clear that the 1912 Bill was not feasible. 1914 The First World War – Irish question shelved

The government was impressed by the nationalists’ show of support and put HR on the statute books. However, as the war dragged on, support for it waned, but more importantly, nationalists grew impatient and ‘the revolutionaries were soon to advance to the centre of the stage’. IV’s split, & a small group of revolutionaries formed their own group – the ‘Irish Volunteers’. Redmond’s group became the ‘Nationalist Volunteers’  Eon Mac Neill’s group wanted to gain power in Ireland with the support of the Irish people and proclaim an independent Irish Republic through an armed insurrection like Tone’s.

They too, hoped to use Eng’s enemies against them, and got support and arms from the Germans. IRB men heavily influenced the party but this was not known either within the party or outside it. Although Mac Neill was a revolutionary, he was against a premature uprising. However, he was not aware that IRB men had penetrated the leadership of the party and held many senior positions, men like Pearse, who argued that it was an honour to die for one’s country. 1916 Easter Rising To proclaim and independent Irish Republic and win the support of the Irish people. The republic was proclaimed, but the rising was a disaster.

Only a few of the Irish Volunteers actually showed up, and they were far outnumbered by troops and police. The population were indifferent or openly hostile, and by the time the fighting had finished, Dublin was in ruins. People were angry and believed the volunteers should be punished. 1916 The British government set out to destroy revolutionary nationalism ‘root and branch’  There were wholesale arrests and deportations. Around 3000 Irish men and women were arrested, 1,500 were quickly released, 160 were jailed and the rest interned in England and Wales. 5 were executed in early May. The barbarity with which prisoners and civilians were treated incited anger and resentment against the British in all classes in S. Ireland. Those who went into prison mild nationalists often came out hardened revolutionaries. John Dillon complained that it seemed as if the government was bent on trying to ‘breed Sinn Feiners’ (SF had now become a militant organisation). 1917 Martial Law was declared in Ireland. To destroy ‘revolutionism’. Anti-British sentiment grew, and so did support for Sinn Fein.

Irishmen who were treated as terrorists became terrorists. 1918 Conscription crisis There was a brief period of compromise between the nationalists and Sinn Fein when furious nationalists retired from Westminster to go home and lead Irishmen in the fight against conscription should it come. Irishmen were furious and support for SF grew rapidly. 1918 Negotiations begin again. LG got both sides to agree to partition. However, key Unionists in the coalition government refused to countenance an immediate grant of HR and the talks collapsed.

Redmond had fatally undermined his position in the party and in Ireland by his support for partition and Irishmen switched to SF in their droves. FSL Lyons said ‘the whole constitutional movement, in the last analysis was the chief casualty of 1916’. 1917 De Valera becomes leader of SF and later of the IV. ‘thus combining in his person the leadership of both the political and military wings of the Irish revolutionary movement’. The historian Roy Foster says that by 1918, SF ‘had succeeded to the position enjoyed by Parnell’s IPP in the later 1880’s’. 1918 General Election – Sinn Fein sweep the board

The Election was fought on the basis of the Easter Monday declaration – an independent Irish republic and the destruction of British power in Ireland – SF now had a mandate from the Irish people to fight for it – they wanted Britain out once and for all. 1918 Sinn Fein sets up the Dail This was a provisional government in Ireland, and it set up its own courts and even collected taxes. Its acceptance by the Irish people showed that Ireland had no loyalty to Britain and that Britain therefore had no legitimacy in ruling Ireland. The Dail was backed up by the IRA under Michael Collins. 919 IRA begin a campaign of murder and harassment against British police and soldiers. To destroy British power in Ireland and get them to withdraw. Irishmen were shocked by the activities of the IRA, and support for SF briefly waned. However, the disillusionment was only brief as the British soon intervened, and reversed the trend. LG responded with the ‘time honoured expedient of coercion’. 1919/20 LG begins his campaign against the IRA To stop the IRA’s campaign of terror, enforce the Government of Ireland Act and destroy revolutionary nationalism. Coercion.

The provisional gov was declared illegal, SF and the IRA were proclaimed, and there was an attempt to suppress revolutionary publications. Extra police were brought in to enforce the GIA – the ‘Black and Tans’ and the Auxilaries/Auxies, whose name soon became a synonym for terror. It was a complete and utter failure. The fight descended into a bitter struggle of terror and counter-terror, and the IRA extended its targets to civilians they regarded as traitors to the cause. Politicians on both sides had lost control of their forces.

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