May 30, 2017

After 1916 relations between Carson and Redmond improved

Delivering the John Redmond Lecture in April 2012 in Waterford the Minister of State for Northern Ireland the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP reminded us that if you walk out of the Members’ Dining Room in the House of Commons and turn right you will pass a bust of John Redmond, continue towards the Members’ Library and you will face a bust of Sir Edward Carson.

One great good has come out of the Dublin rebellion, that is that the relations between the Irish Nationalist party and Edward Carson and his friends have considerably improved.

Paul Bew wrote:
"When the Easter Rising took place, many Liberals argued that the real blame lay with Sir Edward Carson and the ‘unconstitutional’ nature of Ulster Unionist resistance to home rule: in reply Unionists argued that those like Armour who had encouraged Casement were to blame. Carson himself was anxious not to get embroiled in these controversies. His relations with Redmond – with whom he shared so many common experiences, Trinity College, the Munster circuit, the House of Commons – improved substantially in the 1914 to 1916 period."
John Redmond said in the House of Commons, July 31 1916:
"I am in complete sympathy with the right hon. Gentleman [Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith] in his references to the new and improved atmosphere which has surrounded this Irish question quite recently. One great good, at any rate, has come out of what has been happening during the last few weeks. That is that the relations between the Irish Nationalist party and the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Sir E. Carson) and his friends have considerably improved. There is less bitterness than ever there was between us, and I, for my part, will be careful, both in this House and out of it, to do nothing and to say nothing in the direction of importing that bitterness in the future. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dublin University recognises now frankly—he has done it in this House: he has done it in the public Press—that the Home Rule Act is on the Statute Book. In addition to that, I think that I am not doing the smallest injustice when I say that his desire, just as much as my desire, is to see in the future a united Ireland. The difference, however, in arriving at that goal which exists between us is largely one of method. But that difference is one which, in my opinion, is not only capable, but is certain one of these days of a peaceful settlement. I certainly, therefore, will lose no opportunity of strengthening the better feeling which has arisen."

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