February 20, 2016

Partition in Ireland is strengthened by violence

Cartoon by Ian Knox
George Bernard Shaw portended that partition in the north would lead to "an autonomous political lunatic asylum." J.B. Armour, liberal presbyterian and Home Ruler, said:
"For years they have been yelling against Home Rule, and now they have got a form of Home Rule which the Devil himself could not have devised."
Yet partition was made inevitable. If unionists were profoundly opposed to only partial separation with limited self-government within the Empire, they were impossibly and intractably opposed to full separation with an Irish republic. This opposition was made final and absolute by the rebellion of 1916.

Too easily unionists have been dismissed as a band of obdurate antiquated bigots. Irish nationalist William O'Brien in 1923 referred to the pro-union demographic as Carson and "his army of dour Ulster bigots", terms that were standard then and to this day remain current. This represents a serious deficiency in analysis and understanding of the actual situation.

John Hume wrote in the Irish Times, May 1964:
"Bigotry and a fixation about religious divisions are the first thing that strike any visitor to the North. The Nationalist line of the past forty years has made its contribution to this situation... Another positive step towards easing community tensions and towards removing what bigotry exists among Catholics would be to recognize that the Protestant tradition in the North is as strong and as legitimate as our own. Such recognition is our first step towards better relations. We must be prepared to accept this and to realize that the fact that a man wishes Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom does not necessarily make him a bigot or a discriminator." 
Violence and physical force do not weaken but deepen the ties between Britain and Ireland, as Churchill said:
"They [Northern Ireland] should be courted… they should not be raped."
Read this real world pragmatism - A Dublin civil servant in November 1968 wrote a message for the Taoiseach on north-south relations, noting with some about-time practicality:
"It is much too naive to believe that Britain simply imposed partition on Ireland."
John G. Ervine wrote in ‘Craigavon: Ulsterman’ (1949):
"The Ulster people were not, and are not, willing to turn away from a prominent partnership in a galaxy of nations to an introspective, obscurantist, Gaelic-speaking acricultural republic."
Sir Basil Brooke who wrote from the western front in early 1916 that he would prefer Home Rule to civil war said:
"I regarded it [the Easter Rising as treachery] as treachery. I felt it personally, to the extent that I had been fighting since 1914… This was a stab in the back not only for England but for me personally… I refused to describe myself as an Irishman thereafter."
If Home Rule was, in 1912, a "nefarious conspiracy", what words describe the vista as seen by unionists to Dublin rule by Sinn Fein from 1918 onwards? Roy Foster echoed this when he said:
"The rebels of 1916, however, were at least as responsible for the inevitability of partition, as MacNeill had warned them in his February memorandum." 
And Fintan O'Toole echoed Roy Foster:
"The rising can be seen as a foundational event for… Northern Ireland and (though this is conveniently ignored)… Irish unionists, especially in Ulster, saw it as a stab in the back in Britain’s hour of need, final proof that Irish Catholics could never be trusted."
Unionist opposition to Irish self-government was resolute and near-absolute prior to the Easter Rising of 1916. Whatever chance there was of conciliating orange with green, this was destroyed by the rebels in April 1916.

Eamon Phoenix said to Michael Portillo on 'Enemy Files':
"Historians would now agree that the Easter Rising really made partition more likely."
Further, nationalists formulate partition as the 6 northern counties as seceding from the south of Ireland. The unionist formulation is that it was the south who chose to leave, not only the north but the island grouping. As Liam Kennedy wrote:
"The treaty between the representatives of Dail Eireann and the United Kingdom government, agreed in London in December 1921, led to double acts of partition and secession: from a nationalist viewpoint the partition of the island of Ireland and the secession of the six northern counties; from a unionist viewpoint the partition of the United Kingdom and the secession of southern Ireland."
Seamus Heaney said:
"Partition created crisis. It kept the protestant majority out of Ireland’s Ireland every bit as effectively as it kept the Catholic minority within Britain’s, and it created the conditions with which Hewitt’s peculiar mixture of lyric tenderness and secular tough-mindedness had to make do. His poems are best read as personal solutions to a shared crisis, momentary stays against confusion."


Irish unity and violence/coercion are incompatible. Seamus Heaney wrote in November 1989:
"Violence is leading to no wholeness."
Sinead O'Connor said:
"Nothing born of violence can succeed."
Michael Longley said:
"I would like to see a united Ireland, but that’s a generation in the future—thanks to the IRA." 
Sir Basil Brooke said that separatist violence pushed Orange only ever further away from green. He spoke at a 12th July demonstration in 1921 days after the truce and said that Sinn Fein violence would "drive a wedge in further between North and South." He challenged the south to operate the 1920 Act, saying:
"Show that they can govern justly… And not consider us in the north their enemies because we differ from them. They must prove to us beyond any measure of doubt that they are willing to work with us for the good of Ireland and not endeavour to coerce us. They must face the fact that it will take time to heal the wounds."
In July 1922 Brooke addressed another Orange demonstration and said:
"They were not going to be coerced… Sinn Fein instead of bringing ulster closer to Ireland was dividing them further and further apart."
Professor Thomas Bartlett of University of Aberdeen said:
"After 1916 with the dead dedicated to a republic, the fires or Easter week have forged a new national identity which is to be republican, ulster unionists find nothing in that whatsoever. They found little if anything in Home Rule, there’s absolutely nothing for them in an Irish Republic. It makes partition inevitable."
Charles Townshend in 'The Republic - The Fight For Irish Independencewrote:
"Violence had not initiated partition, but it certainly cemented it. The advance of republicanism after 1916 paralleled the process of establishing a separate Northern state, and not by accident. The non-denominational or freethinking origins of republicanism in the 1790s were long since forgotten. The republicans who took control of the nationalist movement as it reacted to Ulster unionist resistance to Home Rule were seen by the majority of protestants as aiming at Catholic majority rule. In 1916 the future of both republicanism and partition hung in the balance, but the subsequent republican Guerilla campaign produced a violent reassertion of Ulster identity. If any chance remained of reconstructing the unity of Ireland after 1918, it depended on the British government's commitment to implementing the Council of Ireland project in the 1920 Government of Ireland Act, and ensuring that the Boundary Commission envisaged in the 1923 Treaty operated as the negotiators had assumed. As long as the Lloyd George coalition remained in power, both these were possible. But as the Free State sank into civil war, Lloyd George was overthrown with almost shocking speed and finality. During the Treaty split, and through the civil war, the partition issue remained secondary to the issue of "the oath"; it could be still sidelined because nobody on either side really believed partition could endure. Only when the Boundary Commission set to work in 1924 did reality begin to dawn for most nationalists. The cementing of partition in the 1920s had consequences for the idea of the Republic."
Joseph Chamberlain said in the Commons in March 1920:
"It is not we who are dividing Ireland. It is not we who made the bitterness of religious strife. It is not we who made party coincide with the religious differences. Those are facts of the situation which have embarrassed every English statesman who has had to deal with Ireland. Those are difficulties which no Statesman can remove. The cure lies in the hands of Irishmen themselves. It can come only from them."
ATQ Stewart wrote:
"In a speech at Birmingham on 21 April 1886 Joseph Chamberlain declared that because the distinctions between North and South in “race, religion and politics”, he would be glad if “there could be conceded to Ulster a separate assembly."
Chamberlain also said in 1886:
"Ireland is not homogenous community - that it consists of two nations - that it is a nation that comprises two nations and two religions."
Roy Foster also wrote:
"The convention's outcome [July 1917] also illustrated Ulster's intransigence: heavily committed to the war effort, with their champions strongly entrenched in Lloyd George's government, the prospect of entering a nationalist Ireland that had tried to stab the Empire in the back was less alluring than ever. By 1917 all that had been clarified was that both moderate nationalists and unionist accepted the exclusion of a six-county Ulster, including Fermanagh and Tyrone: an admission that reflected's Redmond's desperate need to achieve any settlement going."
He also wrote in ‘The Irish Story - Telling Tales and Making it up in Ireland’:
"If anything is now clear (and even some Sinn Fein pronouncements after the 1994 ceasefire admitted as much), it is the fact that the traditional aim of "the republican movement” is unwinnable. The border will not magically disappear. It is branded too deeply not only into the hearts and mind of nearly a million Northern Irish people, but also into the consciousness of a republic determined to maintain the values of its own stabled homogenous and politically sophisticated society. The activities of Gerry Adams and the IRA have, paradoxically, helped to cement this determination, North and South. The emergence of Adams as broker of a devolved Stormont government shows that he apparently accepts the pragmatics of the situation."
Diarmaid Ferriter wrote:
"1916 was not about reconciliation. That’s the worst kind of contrivance – reading history backwards."
Fintan O'Toole also wrote:
"Given the lack of any serious engagement with Ulster unionism by Irish nationalists, partition was probably unavoidable. But that does not make its consequences less drastic. It produced two deeply flawed and ultimately unsustainable political entities."
Fintan O'Toole also wrote:
"Back then, when Haughey used this infamous phrase, there was a rather sterile argument about partition. Was it a historical inevitability or a grotesque tragedy? We can now see that the answer, as it usually is in Irish history, is “both”. Given the lack of any serious engagement with Ulster unionism by Irish nationalists, partition was probably unavoidable. But that does not make its consequences less drastic. It produced two deeply flawed and ultimately unsustainable political entities."
Fintan O'Toole said at the 2013 MacGill Summer School that partition was inevitable and that the three pillars of the Irish state failed massively since partition:
"Partition, which was both inevitable and tragic, and produced perhaps two failed states. The North failed in obscene violence but the South failed in a slower fashion and the southern State has also lost legitimacy."
Previously, O'Toole has said that 2016 should be a time for "national embarrassment" by the measure that such a degree of sovereignty has been exported to Europe since 1973 and to the troika since November 2010.

Fintan O'Toole on the Start The Week discussion on BBC Radio 4 said:
"We talk about the effects of the rising. Coming from the Republic of Ireland, this is the foundational moment of our state. It's also the foundational moment of Northern Ireland. It's the foundational moment of partition. It's the foundational moment of the sectarianisation of Irish politics, to the degree that we're still living with it. Of course all of those problems were still there, the Rising didn't cause them. But whatever chance there was of having a United Ireland within some kind of settlement that would keep the island of Ireland together, would lead to a pluralist non-sectarian democracy, were really lost with the Rising. That was not to be fair the intention of those who started the Rising, but of course history is not about people's intentions, it's about the law of unintended consequences, and one of the unintended consequences was to copper-fasten these divisions, which are also of course divisions of memory. People in the unionist community in Northern Ireland will be commemorating the battle of the Somme this year, while nationalists on both sides of the border will be commemorating the Rising."
Roy Foster of Oxford University said on Radio 4, ‘The Easter Rising 1916 - ‘Could You Not Just Wait?''
"The problem with the implementation of Home Rule was not altered by the Rising. The main problem of implementation with Home Rule was Ulster unionist Resistance. The rising did nothing to try and cut that Gordian knot, in fact it tied it even tighter."
Michael Portillo said on Enemy Files:
"The rebel dream of an Ireland united north and South is no closer today than it was at Easter 1916."
He also said:
"I’m convinced that… the violence that has plagued this country during the last century is also part of their [the rebel leaders of 1916] bequest."
Newton Emerson wrote in The Sunday Times of February 16 2014:
"Unionists were once happy to call themselves "Irish", as Sinn Fein reminded us in a recent row over Irish language. There are many reasons for the declining Irishness of unionists, many self-driven or emerging from partition, but to the extent that it correlates with the overtly "Irish" violence aimed at them, that violence was not just unwarranted but spectacularly counterproductive."
Newton Emerson tweeted acerbically:
"The connection between 1916 and the hunger strikes is that both produced a Stormont government."
Diarmaid Ferriter wrote in ‘The Transformation of Ireland: 1900-2000’ (p. 486):
"The reality was that Ireland's breakaway from the Commonwealth while Northern Ireland remained seemed only to reinforce partition."
He said on another occasion:
"The Irish leader [Eamon de Valera] would have been quite happy for Ireland to remain in the Commonwealth as a united Ireland."
He quoted John Bowman who said:
"Such is the nature of partition that frontal pressure tended only to reinforce it."
George V said: "I have always maintained that [excluding Ulster] is the only means of averting civil war."

Conor Cruise O'Brien wrote about the "cavernous inanities of ‘anti-partition’" in a 1966 essay for the New Left, ‘The Embers of Easter 1916-1966’ in which he wrote:
"The present writer blushes to recall that at one time he devoted a considerable part of his professional activity, as a member of the Department of External Affairs, to what was known as ‘anti-partition’. The only positive result of this activity, as far as I was concerned, was that it led me to discover the cavernous inanities of ‘anti-partition’ and of Government propaganda generally. Nominally, the object of this activity was to convince others—Ulstermen, Englishmen, Americans, and even more bemused persons of other nationalities—of the propriety and expediency of reuniting Ireland. Actually the object was to console ourselves for the rubbish that our history had turned into. We consoled ourselves by reiterating, to our own satisfaction, the classic arguments for a free and united Ireland and by demonstrating, likewise to our own satisfaction, the perfidy of our enemies. Even more important, we consoled ourselves by the very fact of our activity, with the illusion that we were doing something to repair the irreparable. The illusory nature of our activity came home to me when I suggested that it might not be a good idea to treat Ulstermen to exactly the same propaganda as Americans were being given. I was quickly and firmly given to understand that the correct ‘statement of the case’ had been made once and for all in a repulsive and expensive pamphlet called Ireland’s Right to Unity—and that all that was required was to get this artefact into as many hands as possible throughout the world. The document was in fact written by an old Sinn Feiner for other old Sinn Feiners; it made them feel good and they did not trouble to imagine what effect it might have on its hypothetical foreign readers. I once brought this set of phenomena to the attention of Professor C. Northcote Parkinson, who then framed the following Law: Propaganda begins, and ends, at home. What I did not realize at the time—possibly because it would not have been comfortable to realize it—was that all this pseudo-activity had a practical, and somewhat sinister function. It enabled the State to punish with a good conscience, the young men in the Irish Republican Army. Partition must be ended certainly but there was a right and a wrong way to end partition. The wrong way was by raiding barracks in Ulster. The right way was by sending bundles of booklets to Bootle."
He also wrote:
"Not only has Mr Lemass’s Government left the solution of partition to the day when Captain O’Neill and his followers embrace Mr de Valera’s Constitution—an event likely to occur simultaneously with the Conversion of the Jews."
James Craig, July 11 1921, speaking with Mark Sturgis in the Carlton Club with a message for Dublin Castle said:
"Tell Cope [the Prime Minister’s intermediary] I’m going to sit on Ulster like a rock, we are content with what we have got - let the Prime Minister and Sinn Fein settle this and if possible leave us out."
The British bureaucrat Mark Sturgis said at the time:
"James Craig’s “safe” line is that all ulster wants to remain part of Great Britain. That they didn’t want “HR [Home Rule]” but having got it mean to keep it. He admitted that he had gone back on his promise to co-operate with de Valera to get anything short of a republic which would give Ireland peace - he now simply says that his people will not have one parliament mostly and ostensibly for fear of RC [Roman Catholic] plots to do down the protestants."
George Gavan Duffy, Dail said in the Dail:
"My heart is with those who are against the treaty, but my reason is against them, because I can see no rational alternative."
Liam Kennedy said:
"My argument would be that the 1916 leaders, even though in their self-delusional world they abhorred partition, in fact were making it inevitable. How could Ulster unionists who were opposed to Home Rule possibly embrace a republican outcome that was even more extreme from their viewpoint."
Conor Cruise O'Brien said on page 101 of States of Ireland:
"A minority in Dáil Éireann rejected the Governmenr of Ireland act 1920. It's rejection hinged much more on formal and symbolic matters - notably the question of an oath of allegiance to the Crown - than on partition: no doubt because the political leaders knew that partition was inevitable."
Laurence Marks wrote:
"He [Conor Cruise O'Brien] accepted Partition because it respected the principle of the consent of the governed. That acceptance, the belief that a united Ireland is neither practical, inevitable or just, has coloured his opinions ever since. It explains the deep distrust he arouses at home."
Roger Connor of Portstewart said in ‘Never Been South' in the Irish Times:
"We have everything in common. If there were any differences, these were polarised by the Troubles. But people here have many more similarities than they have differences with people in Northern Ireland."
In the Altnaveigh massacre William twaddell was shot dead on 22 May 1922.

Denis O'Donoghue wrote in the New York Review of Books:

"Near the end of “Easter 1916,” Yeats has these lines:
‘Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.’
This is often taken to mean: “The Rebels should have been patient, should have given the IPP a bit more time.” But the only faith that England kept—most clearly from February 6, 1912, when Lloyd George and Winston Churchill proposed, in cabinet, to exclude the north from any Home Rule bill, leaving it ultimately under British control—was the inviolable character of Protestant Unionism. That could not be touched. Dublin would have to put up with it. And so it has put up with it from that day until now. The Good Friday Agreement, signed on April 10, 1998, repeated the guarantee in favor of the north, “unless”…but the unless is a fraud since the agreement held that the north would remain separate. It is a fraud unless and until a majority in the north is in favor of joining the south. But such a majority could not happen from here to eternity."
He continued:
"I now think that partition was inevitable and that it could not now, or in any foreseeable future, be undone. I say this in view of several facts. For example, there was Edward Carson’s speech to fifty thousand Unionists at Craigavon on September 23, 1911, calling on them, in the event of Home Rule passing, to take up the government of the Protestant Province of Ulster. 
Then between September 19 and 28, 1912, 237,368 men and 234,046 women signed the Ulster Covenant pledging to use “all means which may be found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland.” King George V opened the Parliament of Northern Ireland (six counties) on June 22, 1921. There was no rational hope of a thirty-two-county republic. I would not protest if Professor Foster were to say “Friend, I told you so”."
Quincey Dougan wrote:
"The Rebellion was directly responsible for the Partition of Ireland defined in legislation, and saw its permanent exclusion enshrined in that legislation; both coming alongside further entrenching of existing alienation within Unionism ensuring that no stepping back or lesser accommodation would be possible. As Patrick Buckland commented in his 1972 book ‘Irish Unionism’, referring to the revolutionaries ‘if their aim was… to prevent a moderate settlement of the Irish question, they certainly succeeded’."


"Whatever the ‘Ulster Question’ is in Irish history, it is not the question of partition, though it is commonly presented as such throughout the world… 
The problem is clearly older than partition and would in all probability survive it. Thus if one could imagine the border abolished overnight, and a government in Dublin assuming responsibility for the whole country, far from being settled, as so many Irishmen believe, the Ulster problem would become acute. 
After all, partition is not peculiar to Ireland, though Irishmen act as if it were… 
No one imagines it to be a permanent solution. It rarely satisfies either side, let alone both, and it has a great many practical disadvantages, especially economic ones. It might be said to have only one positive advantage, but that one is paramount. Partition is preferable to civil war. 
The artificially division of so small an island as Ireland by the authority then responsible, the British government, inevitably suggests that the problem which dictated it is itself an artificial one, deliberately created by imperial interests outside Ireland, for political advantage of the most expedient and transient kind. 
No more misleading assumption could be made, and the consequence of such errors has been (and no doubt will be) the dangerous underestimation of the problem by successive generations of politicians, both Irish and British."
He continued:
"If one were to go no deeper, the case against partition would appear to be unanswerable, and it is scarcely surprising that it is so presented throughout the world. 
But the truth is that partition is not a line drawn on the map; it exists in the hearts and minds of Irish people… 
Nationalists may or may not be justified in their attempts to remove it and to annex the other six counties of Ireland to the Republic, but there is little point in doing so unless they can find a way to eliminate that other border of the mind. 
Partition exists not because the entire population of one part of the country is in total disagreement with the population in the rest of it, but because a minority has been successful in asserting its right of dissent from the majority in the form of a separate administration and constitutional boundary… 
By no stretch of the imagination can it be deemed a crime to remain loyal to the civil government whose authority operated when one was born."
He continued:
"It must be remembered, for example, that ireland is not Algeria, and that Northern Ireland is not Cyprus. The white Algerians were not at all in the same situation as the protestants of Ulster, nor was their history the same. They were settlers in a sense that the Ulstermen were not. The difference between Christian and Muslim, between white-skinned and dark-skinned, is not that which exists between Catholic and Protestant in ulster. Similar problems occur in many counties, but no two problems have all the same features. The ulster problem is, when all is said and done, only the Ulster problem."
He continued:
"In the long run the one decisive factor in partition is not the weakness of irish nationalism, nor the guile of unionist, nor the chicanery of British statesmanship. It is the simple determination of protestants in North-East Ireland not to become a minority in a catholic Ireland. 
It is towards weakening this determination that all the efforts of irish nationalism ought in theory to have been aimed. Instead they have been largely directed to strengthening it in every possible way."
He continued:
"The Ulster question in its modern form appears to begin in that year when Gladstone introduced the first Home Rule Bill for Ireland in the House of Commons. 
Whereas, in the rest of Ireland, opposition to the bill derived its support mainly from the Middle and upper classes, in Ulster it had support from every level of society. Anglicans and dissenters, landlords and tenants, industrialists and workers United in the common cause. They would not have Home Rule… 
The subsequent course of Irish history was clearly indicated in the results of the 1886 election. What they indicated was partition, the exclusion of at least eastern ulster from an independent, nationalist Ireland. The electoral map has hardly changed since, despite the myriad hopes wasted upon it. From 1886 until 1920 ulster protestants were again a minority under threat, and the history of Ireland in that period is shaped by their absolute determination not to become a minority in an independent, or even semi-dependent, Catholic state."
T.K. Whitaker, Secretary for Department of Finance, wrote to the Taoiseach Sean Lemas on November 11 1968 a memorandum which included notes on the use of force as a means to end partition, noting that force strengthens partition:
"The use of force to overcome Northern Unionists would accentuate rather than remove basic differences and it would not be militarily possible in any event… Force will get us nowhere; it will only strengthen the fears, antagonisms and divisions that keep North and South apart…There is, in fact, no valid alternative to the policy of "agreement in Ireland between Irishmen"; any other policy risks creating a deeper and more real partition than has ever existed in the past. ’We were in real danger that such a partition would be created during the IRA raids when the people of North and South almost ceased visiting one another and the Border resembled the Berlin Wall. Misunderstanding and suspicion can be broken down only by friendly and frequent contact."
T.K Whitaker said in 1968 that unity was almost fiscally impossible. I look at what he said about this here. On partition, he wrote in 1968:
"The British are not blameless, as far as the origins of Partition are concerned, but neither are they wholly to blame... It is much too naive to believe that Britain simply imposed it on Ireland."
Diarmaid Ferriter wrote:
"The oft repeated contention was that partition was a British imposition and could only be undone by Britain; that there was no requirement for the Free State, or later the Republic, to come up with a solution."
Diarmaid Ferriter wrote:
"That did not mean that British politicians of that era thought of Irish partition as a permanent or ideal solution– many regarded it as a retrograde step – but it had the advantage, as they saw it, of getting the Ulster question out of the way so that the focus could shift to dealing with Irish republicans and ending the war of independence."
Diarmaid Ferriter continued:
"Occasionally there were challenges to the failure to confront partition meaningfully or honestly.  
Ernest Blythe, minister for finance in the 1920s, insisted in the 1950s that strident anti-partition rhetoric had been completely counterproductive, while barrister and future judge Donal Barrington asserted that contrary to nationalist narratives, “Partition was forced on the British government by the conflicting demands of the two parties of Irishmen”."


"Partition, as a practical way of dealing with the Irish question, was suggested by Macauley in the House of Commons in 1833 in answer to O'Connell’s demand for the a repeal of the Union."
Macauley said in 1833:
"I defy the honourable and learned member to find a reason for having a parliament at Dublin which will not be just as good for having another parliament at Londonderry."
William Gladstone said in his 1886 Home Rule speech:
"I cannot conceal the conviction that the voice of Ireland, as a whole, is at this moment clearly and constitutionally spoken. I cannot say it is otherwise when five-sixths of its lawfully-chosen Representatives are of one mind in this matter. There is a counter voice; and I wish to know what is the claim of those by whom that counter voice is spoken, and how much is the scope and allowance we can give them. Certainly, Sir, I cannot allow it to be said that a Protestant minority in Ulster, or elsewhere, is to rule the question at large for Ireland. I am aware of no constitutional doctrine tolerable on which such a conclusion could be adopted or justified. But I think that the Protestant minority should have its wishes considered to the utmost practicable extent in any form which they can assume. 
Various schemes, short of refusing the demand of Ireland at large, have been proposed on behalf of Ulster. One scheme is, that Ulster itself, or, perhaps with more appearance of reason, a portion of Ulster, should be excluded from the operation of the bill we are about to introduce."
When the first draft of the Third Home Rule Bill was under discussion prior to its introduction in the House of Commons, two of the younger Ministers, Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Winston Churchill, proposed that an attempt should be made to avert the stern opposition to be expected from Ulster, by treating the northern Province, or a portion of it, separately from the rest of Ireland.

Exclusion temporary or permanent? The Amending Bill in connection with the Home Rule Bill passed the House of Commons in three successive sessions. The Amending Bill introduced by the Government on June 23 1914 allowed the exclusion of any Ulster county, each could vote itself out of Home Rule for six years. The Lords transformed it by definitely excluding the whole of Ulster.

Ronan Fanning wrote in 'Fatal Path, British Government and Irish Revolution: 1912-1922’:
"There is no better explanation of the why the Irish policy of Asquith’s government failed utterly. Indeed the policy embodied in the Third Home Rule Bill was not just impossible but was acknowledged by its proponents to be impossible. As early as 1911, Augustine Birrell, the chief secretary with cabinet responsibility for Ireland; Lloyd George, the architect of the 1920 and 1921 settlements; and Winston Churchill, who presided over the bedding down of those settlements in 1922, all privately admitted the impossibility of a unitary solution to the Irish problem...
The liberal government - and he prime minister in particular - allowed them [with John Redmond and the Irish nationalists] to evade it by colluding in the pretence that the third Home Rule Bill could be enacted in the form in which it was introduced."
John Redmond said in July 1914 on the first day of Buckingham Palace conference
"It was generally understood that there was no possibility, with any advantage, of discussing any settlement except on the lines of exclusion of some sort… Sir Edward Carson said he would consider no settlement of any kind unless based on exclusion."
Herbert Asquith wrote about a meeting which followed the collapse of the conference:
"We then had a meeting at Downing St.- Redmond & Dillon, [Lloyd] George, [Augustine] Birrell and I. I told them that I must now go on with the Amending Bill - without the time limit: to which after a good deal of demur they reluctantly agreed to try and persuade their party to assent. Redmond also assured us that when he said goodbye to Carson the latter was in tears and that Captain Craig who had never spoken to Dillon in his life came over to him and said: ‘Mr Dillon will you shake my hand? I should be glad to think that I have been able to give as many years service to Ulster as you have to the service of Ireland.’ Aren’t they a remarkable people? And the folly of thinking we can ever understand, let alone govern them…"
At this stage the battle was to get the Amending Bill as well as the Home Rule Bill on to the Statute book.

Margot Asquith wrote on August 4 1914:
"All happened in such a short time. On 30th July everyone was talking of Ireland. The cry of 'Civil War! Civil War!' to which the Times and the Tories treated us every day has been stilled in five days, and now we read in tears a silenced Press, with the sound of real war waving like wireless telegraphy around our heads." 
Read here Redmond's famous speech in the Commons from August 4 1914 pledging to work with the Unionists of the north with an offer that the two Volunteer forces come together to defend Ireland.

Back in Ireland during a parliamentary recess Redmond addressed a parade of Volunteers in Maryborough on August 16th. Here urged co-operation between the two Volunteer forces as promised in his Commons speech:
"I read a few days ago an account in the public press of the departure of one of the most gallant Irish regiments, the Inniskilling Fusillers, and how they were escorted through Enniskillen by united bodies of the Ulster and the National Volunteers. Pray God that may be an omen for the future."
On September 15 moved for a Suspensory Bill to be put into effect. Birrell had informed Redmond on September 8. The Home Rule Bill was on the statute book but suspended for 12 months or until the close of the War, whichever is later. They would in the meantime work to introduce and prosecute an Amending Bill.

At noon on September 18 1914 Royal Assent was given to the Home Rule Bill in the House of Lords with the King's decree delivered by the Lord Chancellor. Few Lords attended but the chamber was packed with MPs who returned to the Commons chamber to hear the Deputy Speaker announce that Royal Assent had been given. As parliament was adjourned the official Hansard report describes what happened next:
Mr W. Crooks ( the Labour Leader): 'Would it be in order to sing 'God Save the King'?' 
In response, all the Members present joined in singing the National Anthem, the occupants of the Press and other galleries standing. 
Mr Crooks: 'God save Ireland.' 
Mr John Redmond: 'And God save England, too.'
John Redmond left returned to Ireland. On September 20th on his way home to Aughavannagh he Redmond stopped at the parade in Woodenbridge Co. Wicklow to make his first speech on home soil after the Home Rule Bill had become law.

Roy Foster wrote in ‘Modern Ireland: 1600-1972’:
"Already, behind the scenes, ideas of partition had been floated: initially (in August 1911) based on the four counties of Antrim, Armagh, Londonderry and Down. Carson was talking in terms of the traditional nine-county province, for tactical reasons; a six-county unit was being discussed by British politicians in 1913-14."
Michael Laffan said:
"If war had not broken out and if carson had led a rebellion in August or September 1914 his would would not have been to preserve Antrim, Down, Derry and Armagh, for their exclusion had already been conceded. It would have been to impose exclusion on Fermanagh, Tyrone and Derry City where Home Rule was desired by small but clear majorities."  
Ronan Fanning, in 'Fatal Path, British Government and Irish Revolution: 1912-1922', wrote:
"Partition was inevitable, perhaps in 1912, certainly by 1914, but the shape of the partitionist settlement remained an open question until 1920."
Dermot Meleady, biographer of John Redmond said:
"The third Home Rule Bill was introduced in 1912, anxiously shepherded through the House of Commons in three successive sessions and finally past the House of Lords in May 1914 and King George signed it on to the statute book in September of that year. This was the goal that had alluded Parnell, the goal for which mainstream Irish nationalists had struggled for for forty years, yet Redmond is often dismissed as a failure. One study of him was included of him in a 1989 book in ‘Losers in Irish History’. And so he was a failure and a loser, but what did his failure consist in and what made him a loser? His failure was integral to his very success as a nationalist leader. It sounds a paradox but the fact that he suceeded where O'Connell and Parnell had failed, bringing Irish self-government right into legislation and close to the point of implementation. It was this that brought him up against a problem that they had not had to confront. The immediate cause of his downfall was his acceptance of partition, however temporary it might be and however reluctant his acceptance of it, but someone had to be the first to accept partition. Those who attacked him for it then had no better plan for averting it and those who came after him had no realistic plan for undoing it… Like most nationalists, Redmond didn’t understand Ulster Unionism."
Meleady wrote that Redmond came to understand the inevitability of some form of exclusion: it is "a hateful expedient [but] the only expedient which Ulster Unionists will consider", Redmond wrote.

The Spectator wrote in June 1920:
"If self-determination within an existing political unit belongs to any community, it certainly belongs to the people of North-East Ulster. It is theirs by tradition, by blood, by religion, by political aspirations, and by geographical position."
Paul Bew wrote:
"Partition based on the principle of consent remains the order of the day in Ireland: but it is also the case that the recently revised constitution of the Irish Republic declares it to be the ‘firm will’ of the Irish people to achieve political unity on the island of Ireland, admittedly only with the support of a democratic majority in Northern Ireland."


John Redmond said in October 1914:
"Irish Nationalists can never be assenting parties to the mutilation of the Irish nation; Ireland is a unit. It is true that within the bosom of a nation there is room for diversities of the treatment of government and of administration, but a unit Ireland is and Ireland must remain… The two-nation theory is to us an abomination and a blasphemy."
James Connolly wrote in March 1914:
"The present writer is quite assured that the exclusion of a part of Ulster from the Home Rule Bill is already agreed upon between those tricky gentry, and that the so-called scene in Parliament between Devlin and Carson, the latter’s flight from the House to Ulster, and the rush of troops to this province, are all parts of a carefully arranged programme having for its end the blinding of Nationalist Ireland to the infamous character of the Partition scheme to which Redmond and Devlin had given their consent."
John Bruton wrote:
"I believe the Home Rule government would not have got jurisdiction over all those counties (Antrim, Down, Armagh and Derry, and perhaps Fermanagh and Tyrone). But, after all the killing and dying of the 1916 to 1923 period, and the Treaty of 1921, the Free State did not get jurisdiction over those counties either!"
Michael McKevitt
"Those who signed the original Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1922 are no different to those who signed the Good Friday Agreement."


George orwell wrote:
"A seed may grow or not grow, but at any rate a turnip seed never grows into a parsnip. It is therefore of the deepest importance to try and determine what England IS, before guessing what part England CAN PLAY in the huge events that are happening."
Republican have often perceived unionists as suffering from delusion, a false-consciousness, just as the zealous Trotskyists viewed the religious. But it is republicans who are deluding themselves by thinking that unionists are mistaken and will quickly recant from their unionism once the true way has been shown to them by the revolver.

On Ulster Day, September 28 1912, Ulster came to a standstill. Across the province unionists mobilised in collective act of written defiance, 218,206 men and 228,991 women signed the Ulster Covenant* (447,197 in total), pledging themselves to oppose Home Rule.

The London Daily Express best summed up the mood and solidarity of the Ulster people on Ulster Day:
"Even the most obtuse and the least sincere can no longer pretend to misunderstand the mood of Ulster."
Yet Éamon de Valera would say in America in 1921:
"The so-called Ulster difficulty is purely artificial as far as Ireland itself is concerned. It is an accident arising out of the British connection and will disappear with it."
De Valera also wrote:
"The difficulty is not the Ulster question. As far as we are concerned this is a fight between Ireland and England."
Newton Emerson wrote in the Irish Times in February 2016:
"Unionism may have dreadful and stupid characteristics but it is a not a post-colonial delusion, for people to snap out of once they see the error of their ways. Unionism is British nationalism - no more inclined to evaporate than Irishness, or Kurdishness."
John Bruton said on ‘The Easter Rising 1916 - ‘Could You Not Just Wait?'' on BBC Radio 4:
"Clearly Northern unionism was radically discontented with the idea of home rule. Even home Rule which was something that was being achieved by peaceful methods and was more limited than what the people in 1916 were seeking, which was absolute separation. 
The way in which the people made the proclamation in 1916 dealt with the issue of there being a million or whatever number unionists who didn’t want to separate from the United Kingdom was to say that they were oblivious to this, that’s the word that was used “oblivious to their concerns” because the proclamation argued that this had simply been engineered by the British. 
Now we now know after a hundred years of history that the views of the unionists have not been engineered by the British. The views of the unionists are the views of the unionists because those are the views of the unionists. And they are not something that one ought in quotes “oblivious of”. Yet when they decided to go to war they simply swept these aside with those words."
Ian d’Alton wrote:
"In 1916 Irish Protestants were looked upon, in the words of novelist Susanne Day, as ‘illegitimate children of an irregular union between Hibernia and John Bull’."
He also wrote:
"They were never a British ethnic minority that would mysteriously change into a docile Irish religious one." 
Ronald McNeill wrote in 'Ulster's Stand For the Union' (1922):  
"Among the innumerable misrepresentations levelled at the Ulster Movement none was more common than that it was confined to a handful of lords, landlords, and wealthy employers of labour; and, as a corollary, that all the trouble was caused by the perversity of a few individuals, of whom the most guilty was Sir Edward Carson. The truth was very different. Even at the zenith of his influence and popularity Sir Edward himself would have been instantly disowned by the Ulster democracy if he had given away anything fundamental to the Unionist cause. More than to anything else he owed his power to his pledge, never violated, that he would never commit his followers to any irretraceable step without the consent of the Council, in which they were fully represented on a democratic basis. At the particular crisis now reached popular feeling could not be safely disregarded, and it was clearly understood by the Standing Committee that public excitement over the coming visit of Mr. Churchill was only being kept within bounds by the belief of the public that their leaders would not “let them down"."
He also said:
"The “party” [an Ulster a party of Liberals and Protestant Home Rulers] would not fill a tramcar."
Michael Collins said:
"Who would visit Belfast or Lisburn or Lurgan to see the Irish people at home? That is the the unhappy fate of the north east [of Ireland]. It is neither Irish nor English."
According to ATQ Stewart, an “Irish county gentleman” wrote shortly after the 1798 rebellion:
"The six northern counties of Ireland are so differently circumstanced from the rest, that they very well deserve a separate consideration, if there be really any intentions of restoring the tranquility of the country."
German J. G. Kohl wrote in 1843 that coming into Ulster from the south was like crossing a frontier:
"The coach rattled over the boundary line, and all at once we seemed to have entered a new world. I am not in the slightest exaggerating, when I say that everything was as suddenly changed as if struck by a magician’s want."
A century before, John Wesley observed:
"No sooner did we enter ulster than we observed the difference. The ground was cultivated as in England, and the cottages not only neat, but with doors, chimneys and windows."
Lord Rosebery wrote:
"He loved Highlanders and he loved Lowlanders, but when he came to the branch of their race which had been grafted on to the Ulster stem he took off his hat with reverence and awe. They were without exception the toughest, the most dominant, the most irresistible race that existed in the universe."
Ronald McNeill said:
"In Ulster… a political creed is held with a religious fervour, or, as a hostile critic might put it, with an intolerance unknown in England, and where the dividing line between “loyalty” and “disloyalty” is regarded almost as a matter of faith."
Winston Churchill said in 1913:
"The Orange Leaders used violent language, but Liberals should try to understand their position. Their claim for special consideration, if put forward with sincerity, could not be ignored by a Government depending on the existing House."
In the Irish Times in 2013 Fintan O'Toole said:
"Partition was just because there was one island but two nations, both with a right to self-determination, albeit with inevitable rough edges with people left on the "wrong" side of the border on both sides. The Republic claiming Northern Ireland from 1922-1999 was an injustice now corrected by the GFA, with everyone now accepting the right of self-determination."
Fintan O'Toole wrote in 1998 in the New York Review of Books:
"Though Irish nationalists tend to regard the partition of the island by the Westminster parliament in 1920 as a heinous British crime, it was in reality an inevitable product of Irish political, economic, and religious divisions. For the industrial North, integrated into the economy of the British Empire, it would have been madness to follow the largely agricultural South into political independence and economic autarky. That Protestants would also be trading their position as part of a British religious majority for that of a minority in a largely Catholic Ireland gave this economic rationale a visceral emotional force. The alternative to partition was, and remains, a bloody civil war."
Tom Hayden wrote in response to Fintan O'Toole in 1998 in the New York Review of Books:
"In last year’s elections in the Irish Republic about 95 percent of the vote went to parties whose stated policy is that any change in the status of Northern Ireland should come about only with the consent of the Protestant majority there—an acceptance of partition unless and until the people of Northern Ireland want to end it. Sinn Fein, by contrast, received 3 percent of the vote and holds one of the 166 seats in the Dail."
Conor Cruise O'Brien wrote in States of Ireland (page 131):
"It was clear that they were right about one thing: any serious attempt, either by Dublin or London, to impose Home Rule for all Ireland as a unit would precipitate a civil war far more bitter and devastating that the intra-Catholic civil war of 1922."
Brendan O'Leary wrote in the Dublin Review of Books:
"The key doctrinal feature of Red Marxism in Ireland (c 1966-1991) was its conviction that the constitutional question, that is the national question, was secondary. Paul Bew, Peter Gibbon and Henry Patterson declared that “There is nothing inherently reactionary about the Protestant working class or, for that matter, a national frontier which puts Protestants in a numerical majority”. Northern Ireland’s membership of the United Kingdom should be preserved – pending global socialism. What distinguished Bew and his colleagues from the men from the B&ICO, as well as from the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party, was their attitude toward “the minority community”, whom they usually called Catholics. They acknowledged and condemned discrimination, and opposed repressive measures against them. They also thought that their nationalism would diminish radically if that happened. 
They had an account of partition: it was rooted in the uneven development of capitalism in Ireland: the “stark reality” of the contrast between “bustling progressive industrial Ulster” and “backward”, “stagnant”, “peasant southern Ireland”. Uneven development flowed not from imperialist divide and rule policies but from different historical settlement patterns and ensuing modes of production. Bew’s co-author Peter Gibbon claimed that there were different consequences to the English and Scottish colonisations of Ireland, which led to different “modes of production” (a rather loose usage of the concept of mode of production). 
In The Origins of Ulster Unionism Gibbon maintained that Southern landlords acquired huge estates, while northern colons were settled with smaller parcels of land and capital, and that commercial textile production paved the way for the development of capitalism in Ulster. This story is not present in The Politics of Enmity. Nor is it there in some residual form: it just seems forgotten."
He continued:
"Bew, Gibbon and Patterson maintained that the economic divergence between North and South, and the different political interests to which it gave rise, accounted for the conversion of eighteenth century Presbyterian republican nationalists into nineteenth century Protestant unionists and, ultimately, explained partition. Uneven development was more important in explaining Protestants’ politics than their relatively superior economic position within what became Northern Ireland. Sections of the (so-called, they said) Protestant labour aristocracy were progressive; and though discrimination existed, Protestants had also earned their privileged positions through possession of superior skills. Divergent economic interests were reinforced by sectarianism, but this phenomenon was considered of secondary importance. “The role of sectarianism was less in founding the state [of Northern Ireland] than in influencing the form that it took.” The resistance to the nationalist demand for Home Rule was not simply an “Orange” affair but part of a much wider coalition of social forces, including a non-Orange labour aristocracy and the explicitly anti-Orange ideologists of liberal unionism. Sectarianism developed independently of manipulation, even if the Unionist bourgeoisie and elements of the British ruling class cheerfully exploited it . 
Bew and his colleagues also argued that Great Britain’s attitude towards partition was much more flexible than Irish republicans asserted. The interests of the bulk of the colonists (or their descendants) and (some) of the imperialists diverged – to use language they avoided. The former wanted partition, not the latter. Leading members of the British ruling class (the Liberals) were prepared to concede Home Rule to Ireland in 1886, 1893 and 1911-14; and during 1919–21; and both the Liberals and Conservatives in the 1920s were more interested in ensuring a moderate (rather than republican) government in Dublin than in partitioning Ireland. The British policy elite remained flexible. Churchill considered abandoning Northern Ireland in 1940 in return for Ireland’s participation in the Allied war effort. (The offer de Valera received was rather like that given to Redmond in 1914: trust us, you can have what you want after the war is over – and that is one reason it was not accepted.)"
Irish historian John A Murphy said in the Irish Times:
"Perhaps nationalists in general, and not just Sinn Féin, should radically re-examine the assumption that partition was, and remains, an evil in itself, and rather face up to the unpalatable historical truth that some form of partition, rough and ready though it turned out to be, was necessary to deal with the two conflicting nations in Ireland."
A commenter wrote on politics.ie:
"No Irish nationalist wanted to partition Ireland. It was inevitable, however, when the Gaelic separatists decided that unity was less important than anti-Britishness. 
John Bruton is a true anti-partitionist. He believes that a British unionist is as Irish as Jackie Healey-Rae. Republicans want unionists to repent the sins and recant. They want them to abandon their identity and culture and try to be good plastic paddies. 
Fine Gael stands apart from other successors to Sinn Fein and they want to unify the Irish people, not reclaim land through a victory, whether violent or polticial."


Arthur Aughey, a unionist political scientist, said that the Irish republic was committed to the "construction of homogenous, confessional political order." Facts would vindicate this. Long time President and Taoiseach of Ireland, Éamon de Valera said in April 1951:
"I am an Irishman second: I am a Catholic first and I accept without qualification in all respects the teaching of the hierarchy and the church to which I belong. I, as a Catholic, obey my church authorities and will continue to do so."
Celtic nationalism had inspired those who fought for independence and had long made Irishness incompatible with any sort of Britishness or Englishness. It was Gael versus the Anglo-Saxon. The Catholic and the nationalist was the fior Gael - the proper Irish person.
"The twin towers of southern Irish identity – Catholicism and nationalism."
This represents the "authoritarian streak" that exists in Irish nationalism. Tom Garvin, UCD academic, has argued that the pervasive influence of the conservative Catholic Church wanted Ireland to remain a "rural, neo-Gaelic, Catholic Arcadia." He also argued that post-Independence Ireland was poor for so long in no small part because of the Church's conservatism.

Conn Corrigan said, this singular Irish identity (as well as violence) made unity impossible: 
"Republicans did further damage to their cause by the way in which they set out their vision of what a united Ireland would look like: Catholic, Gaelic and monolithic. Unionists could argue, with considerable justification, that their British culture, their British identity, would be obliterated in a country like this."
As Deane said in 1991: "If it could afford pluralism, it would not be the Ireland we know."


Conor Cruise O’Brien said:
"We cannot afford, said Parnell, to give up a single Irishman."
Cruise O'Brien wrote in his autobiography (p. 27), 'Memoir, Life and Times':
"I don't think it occurred to any nationalist that the determination of a million ulster Protestants to stay in the United Kingdom represented any kind of moral force whatsoever."
Eamon Phoenix wrote:
"Sinn Féin ('We Ourselves'), formed in 1905, argued that an independent Ireland could unite Orange and Green by retaining the Crown as a 'personal link' between Britain and Ireland... Even Pearse, then a cultural nationalist, supported the Home Rule Bill in 1912."
Daniel O’Connell used the term positively in a debate in the House of Commons in 1832 when he said
"The people of Ireland are ready to become a portion of the Empire, provided they be made so in reality and not in name alone; they are ready to become a kind of West Briton if made so in benefits and justice; but if not, we are Irishmen again."
Republicans know they need to win the affection of unionism but they do nothing to win their affection. To have an Ireland united, its case must be made and must be a relentlessly and unremittingly positive one. Unionists cannot be coerced or conscripted, but courted. Any unity must be consensual. The affection and connection of protestants need be won. But this has never been done or attempted.

William O'Brien wrote in 1923 in ‘The Irish revolution and how it came about’:
"Let the blame be bandied about as it may between the three Hibernian leaders and their Liberal entertainers at the famous breakfast party in Downing Street, the fact stands that the Bill which emerged from their deliberations did not contain in its forty-eight clauses a single provision to satisfy, or even to recognize the existence of those deep-lying discontents of more than a million of the Irish population which were afterwards to make shipwreck of the Home Rule Government and of their Bill, and to start a new and more virulent blood-feud between the two countries, if not in a very considerable degree to precipitate the world-wide conflagration from whose effects civilization is still staggering."
He also wrote:
"The union of Irishmen of all schools and classes which would have been the most practicable of practical politics then was by this time fatally forbidden by the uprise of the Hibernian ascendancy." 
Michael Collins wrote:
"There can be no question of forcing Ulster into union with the Twenty-six counties. I am absolutely against coercion of this kind. If Ulster is going to join us it must be voluntary. Union is our final goal, that is all." 
Eamon de Valera said at the Liam Lynch memorial in 1925:
"[The] Republic cannot be achieved by force of arms."
De Valera said in 1933:
"The only policy for abolishing partition that I can see it for us, in this part of Ireland to use such freedom as we can secure to get for the people in this part of Ireland such conditions as will make the people in the other part of Ireland wish to belong to this part."
Seán MacEntee wrote to Eamon de Valera in January 1938: 
"In regard to partition we have never had a policy... With our connivance every bigot and killjoy, ecclesiastical and lay, is doing his damnedest here to keep them [Northern unionists] out."
Austen Chamberlain said in the Commons on March 29 1920:
"If the real feeling of Irishmen expressed in this House within the last few years by the two brothers Redmond, if that feeling comes to life again and asserts its strength, as I believe it will, then what you cannot do with force and what you ought not to do with force, you may do by affection, by sympathy; you may win Ulster, and make Ulster one of the proudest ornaments in the Parliament of Dublin."
Roy Foster wrote:
"While they went their different ways, the new states were in some senses mirror-images of each other for much of the 20th century, with religion and politics running closely together, against a background of powerfully conservative societies. In both polities, fractures started to appear in the 1960s, and the past 30 years have seen convulsive changes - especially in society south of the border, where sexual puritanism, narrow nationalism and economic protectionism have been jettisoned with unholy speed."
Peter Cottrell in ‘The Irish Civil War 1922-23’ wrote:
"That is not to say that all Ulster Unionists were content with partition. Many would have preferred to remain Irish unionists within the United Kingdom."
Sir Edward Carson said on February 13 1914:
"I don’t mean that ulster should be made a pawn in any political game. There are only 2 ways to deal with ulster. She cannot be bought, and she will not allow herself to be sold. You must force her or by showing that good Government under Home Rule is possible, try to win her over. [Then facing John Redmind] You will gain nothing by coercion. One false step in relation to Ulster will render a settlement impossible. I tell the government, and I tell nationalists, my fellow countrymen*, that they never tried to win over Ulster."
John Redmond said in September 1914 in response to Bonar Law:
"No coercion shall be applied to any single county in Ireland to force them against their will to come into the Irish Government."
Eamonn de Valera said on March 1 1933:
"The only policy for abolishing partition that I can see it for us, in this part of Ireland to use such freedom as we can secure to get for the people in this part of Ireland such conditions as will make the people in the other part of Ireland wish to belong to this part."
John Bruton said:
"Attempts to coerce Northern Ireland into a United Ireland, whether by the attempted incursions across the border in 1922, by the propaganda campaign in the late 1940s, or by IRA killing campaigns in the 1950’s and from 1969 to 1998, have all failed miserably, because they were based on a faulty analysis of reality."
Bertie Ahern said:
"If [a United Ireland] is done by any means of coercion, or divisiveness, or threats, it will never happen."
Fintan O'Toole wrote:
"At a number of levels, Sinn Féin’s operation south of the Border has been hugely impressive… But the pre-democratic past hasn’t gone away, you know. The old leadership still seems obsessed with seeking a retrospective endorsement from the southern electorate for its morally catastrophic campaign of violence. The irredentist side of the party is still focused on using power on both sides of the Border to force through a referendum on a united Ireland that would achieve nothing except a possible reignition of sectarian conflict."


William O'Brien said Mr. De Valera told me in 1922: " I would go as far as ever you went to win over Ulster." James Stephens wrote:
"What has the Irish Party ever done to allay Northern prejudice, or bring the discontented section into line with the rest of Ireland? The answer is pathetically complete. They have done nothing. Or, if they have done anything, it was only that which would set every Northerner grinding his teeth in anger. At a time when Orangeism was dying they raised and marshalled the Hibernians, and we have the Ulsterman’s answer to the Hibernians in the situation by which we are confronted to-day. If the Party had even a little statesmanship among them they would for the past ten years have marched up and down the North explaining and mollifying and courting the Black Northerner."
He continued:
"Let the Party explain why, among their political duties, they neglected the duty of placating Ulster in their proper persons. Why, in short, they boycotted Ulster and permitted political and religious and racial antagonism to grow inside of Ireland unchecked by any word from them upon that ground. Were they afraid “nuts” would be thrown at them? Whatever they dreaded, they gave Ulster the widest of wide berths, and wherever else they were visible and audible, they were silent and unseen in that part of Ireland."
Tom Hartley, Sinn Féin strategist, said:
"In a way we made them [Unionists] a non-people... We didn't even see them as part of the problem, never mind as being part of the solution."
Ruth Dudley Edwards wrote:
"Though the nationalist tribe is famous for its articulacy and charm, it expended none of those talents on unionists." 
Diarmaid Ferriter wrote:
"What Eamon de Valera could not do – and this is why he did not declare an Irish republic – was come up with a means to end the partition of Ireland."
Frank Aiken was asked "What did you as a minister do for the other part of Ireland?" and he produced a vacillating, diminutive response. But this is what matters. They know it, they say it, but they don’t do it. They do nothing to allay the fears and build up the affection of Ulstermen. As The historian Ryle Dywer said:
"Eamonn de Valera, his big aim was to end partition but he did nothing to end it. He made no moves to bridge the gap. Why did people not see through that?"
That neglect, omission and inaction characterises every nationalist leader since.

Conor Cruise O'Brien said in states of Ireland (page 79):
"Catholic ireland, up to 1912, was in general barely conscious of the exitence of an ulster problem at all... it was a problem which they had a very strong political interest in minimising... Silence and ignorance have their own dynamics. Most of the people of catholic Ireland, outside ulster itself, knew little or nothing about the real situation in ulster. Their political leaders, who did know, did not tell them... The longer the existence of the problem was suppressed, the harder it became to beak the news. The conviction of the catholic people, that there was no Ulster problem - or at most a spurious 'artificially created' problems - became part of the environment of evey nationalist politician. It has remained so, though in modified forms, into our own day."
He also said:
"Our school histories do not seriously discuss te ideas and politics of the men of 1916 in relation to the Protestants of Ulster."
And then said:
"The problem of 'what to do about Ulster' cannot have presented itself with any urgency to the men in the General Post Office in April 1916."
Then said:
"[At school] we had one Ulster Protestant teacher, Dr. J. J. Auchmuty, and I learned from him, at the age of seventeen or so, the interesting fact that Northern Ireland had a Protestant majority. Most Irish Catholics are left to find this out for themselves: some, I believe, never do find it out."
An Irish Times commenter wrote:
"I think that any objective analysis of the decade prior to Partition, would have to conclude that a 32 County solution was not really on: it was not about Partition that the Anti Treaty side became mainly exercised. The failure around Partition was that in creating the Northern Ireland State, the British Government did not build in sufficient safeguards, which would have prevented practice of systematic discrimination by the Unionist government. The refusal of successive Irish governments to recognise the Northern state, only served to justify the discrimination, in the eyes of Unionists."
De Valera wanted to turn Ireland into an agrarian, anti-industrial economy. Ireland was an uncomfortable place for protestants and even more uncomfortable for those protestants of the unionist tradition. Both de Valera and Sean Lemass advocated deporting unionists. This is a good time to cite Patrick Murphy who wrote in The Irish News:
"By representing only nationlists, you [Sinn Fein] have abandoned the Protestant people to unionism - which is more Daniel O'Connell than Wolfe Tone. You speak of a lack of leadership among unionists - but your lack of leadership towards what should be your own Protestant people is even more marked."
Although Martin McGuinness said in 2012:
"People who think that a new Ireland can be built without unionist participation, involvement and leadership are deluded… [I don’t] want the children of Ireland to live through the pain, conflict and hurt that we lived through."


Sinn Fein have a habit for naval gazing on their pet project, dissolving partition and ending the connection between Britain and Ireland. This was a project pursued by de Valera and other Irish republicans after Irish independence on the international stage, especially when Ireland joined the UN. The constant stating and restating of the issue was called the 'sore thumb' policy.

Brian Inglis wrote in West Briton, page 137:
"What finally broke the anti-partition movement... Was that it became an international bore, as. Result of one of the propaganda lines pursued by tacit agreement between the political parties in the south: 'the policy of 'the sore thumb'... And I happened to be watching when the sore thumb policy was out massively and disastrously into action for the first time, at the council of Europe in Strasbourg in 1950... There was a good house for the debate; and a sense of urgency that had not been felt before. 
This was the occasion the Irish chose to brandish the sore thumb. Norton, de Valera and mac entree all spoke, arguing that Ireland could not participate in any European defence organisation so long as part of her soil was occupied by the forces of another member state of the council - England. The delegates, feeling that this was irrelevant to the main issue before them, made their impatience obvious... Listened to with ill-disguised irritation." (It was MacBride's idea, as minister for external affairs)
Like then, today we need to confront and address existential issues, not pet issues. Sinn Fein recently held a conference in Brussels on Irish reunification.

Conor Cruise O'Brien wrote about the "cavernous inanities of ‘anti-partition’" in a 1966 essay for the New Left, ‘The Embers of Easter 1916-1966’ in which he wrote:
"The present writer blushes to recall that at one time he devoted a considerable part of his professional activity, as a member of the Department of External Affairs, to what was known as ‘anti-partition’. The only positive result of this activity, as far as I was concerned, was that it led me to discover the cavernous inanities of ‘anti-partition’ and of Government propaganda generally. Nominally, the object of this activity was to convince others—Ulstermen, Englishmen, Americans, and even more bemused persons of other nationalities—of the propriety and expediency of reuniting Ireland. Actually the object was to console ourselves for the rubbish that our history had turned into. We consoled ourselves by reiterating, to our own satisfaction, the classic arguments for a free and united Ireland and by demonstrating, likewise to our own satisfaction, the perfidy of our enemies. Even more important, we consoled ourselves by the very fact of our activity, with the illusion that we were doing something to repair the irreparable. The illusory nature of our activity came home to me when I suggested that it might not be a good idea to treat Ulstermen to exactly the same propaganda as Americans were being given. I was quickly and firmly given to understand that the correct ‘statement of the case’ had been made once and for all in a repulsive and expensive pamphlet called Ireland’s Right to Unity—and that all that was required was to get this artefact into as many hands as possible throughout the world. The document was in fact written by an old Sinn Feiner for other old Sinn Feiners; it made them feel good and they did not trouble to imagine what effect it might have on its hypothetical foreign readers. I once brought this set of phenomena to the attention of Professor C. Northcote Parkinson, who then framed the following Law: Propaganda begins, and ends, at home. What I did not realize at the time—possibly because it would not have been comfortable to realize it—was that all this pseudo-activity had a practical, and somewhat sinister function. It enabled the State to punish with a good conscience, the young men in the Irish Republican Army. Partition must be ended certainly but there was a right and a wrong way to end partition. The wrong way was by raiding barracks in Ulster. The right way was by sending bundles of booklets to Bootle."
He also wrote:
"Not only has Mr Lemass’s Government left the solution of partition to the day when Captain O’Neill and his followers embrace Mr de Valera’s Constitution—an event likely to occur simultaneously with the Conversion of the Jews."
Irish historian John A Murphy wrote in the Irish Times:
"For all the sophisticated thinking about new structures that lay behind the Belfast Agreement, Sinn Féin remains an old- fashioned anti-partition party at heart, echoing the futile rhetoric of the Anti- Partition League of the 1940s
This view minimises the age-old antagonism between Orange and Green, and emphasises Britain’s central role (eg the 1916 Proclamation – “differences carefully fostered by an alien government”). In this view, Britain created partition and Britain could undo it. According to Sinn Féin, partition institutionalised sectarianism and the ills that flowed from it. But sectarianism flourished long before partition and it was the indifference and neglect of London governments rather than partition itself that lay behind Northern Ireland’s chronic problems. 
Perhaps nationalists in general, and not just Sinn Féin, should radically re-examine the assumption that partition was, and remains, an evil in itself, and rather face up to the unpalatable historical truth that some form of partition, rough and ready though it turned out to be, was necessary to deal with the two conflicting nations in Ireland. In the insightful phrase of the late distinguished scholar and commentator Liam de Paor (no West Brit he!), partition was a condition of, rather than a flaw in, Irish independence.
Justin Cartwright, SDLP council candidate for Balmoral recently said in an interview with Barton Creeth:
"There was too much of a constitutional focus, one that didn’t really enamour me from the outset. What changed that was Conall McDevitt."
SDLP's Edward mcgradey was less interested about unification and more interested in uniting the people of Northern Ireland. He said of unification:
"I feel that most of the majority of Northern Ireland in the present moment do not wish this type of unity and therefore it cannot and should not be imposed upon them in any way. The only form of coming together that I can see is some sort of federation in the future."
Tom Kelly, Irish news November 18 2013:
"During the civil rights period he articulated quite persuasively that forced or coerced Irish unity was not a priority when social deprivation and unemployment was rife thanks to a hostile and discriminatory unionist administration, Mcgrady was a man of policy, not illusory promises."
Brian Hayes, TD, minister of state in the department of finance:
"What we have got to do now is make north/south cooperation work to everyone's advantage. The constitutional issue is resolved for this generation. Now it's time to reach a new accommodation and a new understanding between both parts of this island. 
The reality is that issue is resolved. I think there is absolutely no appetite north or south for some kind of artificial test that Sinn Fein might want to pose. I don't see a border poll happening within my lifetime and I'm 44."


William O'Brien founded the All For Ireland League, it was founded on March 31 1910. It re-established the Political Unity broken up for ten years by the Parnell Split of 1890. William O'Brien who broke from the IPP to form the All For Ireland League wrote in 1923, ‘The Irish Revolution and how it came about’. In that he charged the political establishment in nationalist Ireland as "the squalid sham-Catholic Ascendancy which was reducing the National Ideal to something scarcely distinguishable from Orangeism".
"My growing feeling that it was no longer possible to remain associated with a Party so faithless to the nation and to their colleagues was decided once for all by the infamous extinction of free speech at "The Baton Convention " (February 9, 1909)."
His withdrawal from the Party and from Parliament followed the Baton Convention. The main policy of the AFIL was conciliation through "Conference, Conciliation, and Consent." O'Brien said:
"Its aim was the daring one of reconciling the two antagonistic hosts of the Land War, and combining them for the crowning achievement of a National Settlement by consent." 
Its object was:
"We believe the surest means to be a combination of all the elements of the Irish population in a spirit of mutual tolerance and patriotic good-will such as shall guarantee to the Protestant minority of our fellow-countrymen inviolable security for all their rights and liberties, and win the friendship of the people of Great Britain, without distinction of Party."  
It's philosophy was:
"The inspiring principle of the new movement was the healing of animosity between Irishmen of all the warring classes and religious persuasions, and, upon that basis, an international peace with England. Its fundamental axioms were (a) that a solution of the Irish Difficulty must first be sought among Irishmen in Ireland, and (b) that its legislative enactment must be the work, not of one particular English Party, Liberal or Unionist, but of all British and Irish Parties in common."
He said:
"These are the principles which — received at the time with mild contempt by English politicians as an Eirenicon, and persecuted by certain powerful Irish ones as though they covered some monstrous treason against the Irish Nation — have by this time found all but universal acceptance in both countries and among all Parties." 
Lloyd George said:
" I think you were fundamentally right when you sought an agreement amongst all sections, creeds and classes of Irishmen. I am afraid settlement is impossible until that has been achieved." 
He wrote:
"How did it happen that those who, with an all but unanimous mandate from their country and from the Parliamentary Party, had succeeded in restoring four-fifths of the soil of Ireland to the people, and were proceeding to incorporate a million of Irish Protestants with our nation by their free consent, were actually arraigned as though these were the crimes of traitors? Above all, how came it that those who, themselves confessing they were rebelling against the policy which received from the country " an absolutely overwhelming vote of confidence"(see page 17) rose up to frustrate these great enterprises and to alarm and alienate that powerful minority of our countrymen by the establishment of a pseudo-Catholic Hibernian ascendancy leading to no alternative except the Partition of Ireland, to which they became themselves consenting parties — how came it that the mutineers were for a long course of years glorified as the anointed apostles of "Majority Rule" and the heroes of National Unity? These are amongst the enigmas to which the present volume is designed to supply the answers."
But he reveals his misunderstanding of Ulstermen:
"Even N. E. Ulster, a patient and indulgent tolerance must have irresistibly brought back to its old allegiance to the principles of Grattan's Volunteers and of the United Irishmen." 
He further shows his lack of knowledge:
"So much an affair of yesterday is the Ulster Protestant bloc which Sir E. Carson managed to persuade England was ancient and unbreakable, that within living recollection the Dissenters, who formed the weightier half of Sir E. Carson's Covenanters, were wholly at one with the Catholics on the two questions — religious disabilities and the land — which were the staple interest of their lives, and were the active allies of the Catholics in every electioneering and democratic campaign against the other half —the Episcopalian Tories. So late as 1885, it was Presbyterian votes that returned Justin MacCarthy for the City of Deny, and Mr. Tim Healy for South Deny, and myself for South Tyrone."
He welcomed the Rising and events that followed:
"The long train of events which brought a degenerate Parliamentarianism to its doom, and necessitated and justified the Irish Revolution of 1916-21."
He said in Chapter 9, 'Neither Foresight Nor Backbone':
"Mr. Redmond's hard necessity for following the Hibernian lead at any price, on the plea that his compliance meant Unity, cannot altogether be accepted as an excuse for the astounding indiscretion of the boast with which he commenced his campaign for the Home Rule Bill: "There is no longer an Ulster Difficulty"... It is quite certain that, if he could give rein to his own secret convictions, nobody understood better than he the permanent value to the Irish Nation of conciliating the Protestant minority, or would be less likely to give practical effect to the threat of putting down the opposition of Ulster "with the strong hand" into which he was betrayed in another incautious moment." 
In Chapter 5, 'How "Ulster" Became The Difficulty', William O'Brien wrote:
"The public organization of the United Irish League, with its broad maxims of civil and religious equality and fraternity, was carefully maintained as the ostensible organ of the movement, but its offices were filled, its democratic Executives in every Division overrun, and its funds brought under the control of a new and secret organization without the authority of any mandate from the nation. 
The pith and vigour of the public League were gradually absorbed by the occult power, as, in some tale of mediaeval sorcery, the witch’s own changeling waxed and grew while the legitimate infant pined and fell away. The National President of the "Board of Erin" Hibernians became the paid Secretary of the United Irish League, and from an humble employment in Belfast rose to be a Member of Parliament and the omnipotent "Chief Secretary for Ireland"... 
Before very long the United Irish League had virtually ceased to exist save as an innocuous dead-wall for posting up resolutions and appealing for funds; the resolutions were dictated, and the funds gathered in by the officials and organizers of the Board of Erin."
He continued:
"The movement had passed into the control of a Secret Order, to which nobody who was not a Catholic was admissible, and of which partaking of the Blessed Sacrament of the Catholic Church was another of the requirements. The voice in public might still be the voice of the United Irish League, but the hand was the hand of the mysterious Board of Erin, who had captured its offices and organizers and the control of its funds. The axiom of "Union and Friendship between Irishmen of every religious persuasion,” emblazoned on the banner of the United Irish League as the first article of its creed, was torn down and trampled in the dust. Every Irish Protestant who manifested National tendencies was repulsed with coarse insults."
He also wrote:
"Therein lay the deadly disservice done to the National Cause by those who established the Board of Erin ascendancy; for the Board of Erin Order, without a shadow of honest justification, created in the twentieth century a new ascendancy, differing but in colour from the pestilent Orange tyranny established in Ulster in the eighteenth. As in the foundation of Orangeism, it was the worst of the Protestant body who prevailed over the best; so in the sham-Catholic ascendancy now substituted for it, it was the most ignorant elements of the Catholic community who gave the most ignorant of the Protestants a new lease of power by throwing the mass of the sober-minded Protestant and Dissenting population into their arms for protection."
And concluded:
"The Board of Erin put a convenient reply in the mouths of honest doubters, who feared for the future of their children in a Hibernian-ridden Ireland, as well as of those with whom the breeding of evil party-passions was a profession. The new ascendancy was in actual operation in the daily life of the country, and it spared neither those Protestant Unionists who had ceased to be Unionists, nor tolerant Catholics who would have welcomed them to the National fold with gladness. Sir E. Carson got his chance, and the Ulster Difficulty entered into the deepest life of the Protestant population."


Margot Asquith wrote on August 1 1914: 
"We were still worried over the Irish question, and after dinner I wrote a letter to Mr. Redmond telling him he had the opportunity of his life of setting an unforgettable example to the Carsonites if he would go the House of Commons on the Monday and in a great speech offer all his soldiers to the Government: or if he preferred it, write and offer them to the King."
It seems Redmond listened, calling in the Commons for Ulster and Irish volunteers to unite to defend Ireland's shores. He made his famous speech at Woodenbridge.


Robert Fisk wrote:
"The war created a strengthened bond between London and Belfast, a link that was accentuated and repeatedly emphasised throughout the war by by Eire’s refusal to stand by Britain in her hour of need."
Churchill said:
"But for the loyalty of Northern Ireland we should have been confronted with slavery and death and the light which now shines so strongly throughout the world would have bee quenched."
Churchill wrote in 1939 in, ‘Great Contemporaries - Charles Stuart Parnell’:
"Parnell… The proud chieftain under whom the Irish people might have marched to a free and true partnership in the British Empire."
That said, Churchill added:
"It must be remembered that many people sincerely believed that the life of the British Empire depended upon the defeat of Home Rule."
He also said:
"I shall always hope that some day there will be a united Ireland."
But he added in his letter to President Roosevelt, December 8 1940:
"It is not possible for us to compel the people of Northern Ireland against their will to leave the United Kingdom and join Southern Ireland. But I do not doubt that if the Government of Eire would show its solidarity with the democracies of the English-speaking world at this crisis, a Council for Defence of all Ireland could be set up out of which the unity of the Island would probably in some form or other emerge after the war."
Winston Churchill said in November 1946 to John W Dulanty, the Irish ambassador to the Britain:
"I said a few words in parliament the other day about your country because I still hope for a united Ireland. You must get those fellows in the North in, though; you can’t do it by force… There is not, and never was, any bitterness in my heart towards your country."
In May 1951 Churchill said to Frederick Boland, who had succeeded John W Dulanty as Irish ambassador in London:
"You know I have had many invitations to visit Ulster but I have refused them all. I don’t want to go there at all, I would much rather go to southern Ireland. Maybe I’ll buy another horse with an entry in the Irish Derby."
He said around the time of the Treaty negotiations:
"From the imperial point of view there is nothing we should like better than to see north and south join hands in an all-Ireland assembly without prejudice to the existing rights of either. Such ideas would be vehemently denounced in many quarters at the moment, but events in the history of nations sometimes move very quickly. The Union of South Africa, for instance, was achieved on a wave of impulse. The  prize is so great that other things should be subordinated to gaining it. The bulk of people are slow to take in what is happening, and prejudices die hard. Plain folk must have time to take things in and adjust their minds to what has happened. Even a month or two may produce enormous changes in public opinion."
He said:
"They [Northern Ireland] should be courted… they should not be raped."
He also said:
"The empires of the future are the empires of the mind."
Kevin Myers wrote in The Sunday Times of Sunday 29 2013 of another Redmond, this time Willie Redmond:
"[Willie] Redmond - as attested by Terence Denman's fine biography - was appalled by the Easter Rising. He was revolted by its implicit treachery and shocked that the 1916 Proclamation should have referred to the Germans as "our gallant allies" after they launched one of the worst gas attacks of the entire war on his 16th Irish Division, killing hundreds of Irish-nationalists soldiers, just as the Rising occurred. 
Redmond knew that the patient, careful road to conciliation chosen by the Irish Parliamentary Party had been blocked by the Rising. Of course he could not possibly have imagined the festival of barbarism that lay ahead for Ireland, with thousands dying and - a piquant touch here, considering the Proclamation's promise to cherish all the nation's children equally - IRA gunmen forcing out the children of a Protestant orphanage in Clifden before setting it on fire."
Michael O'Cathail from Dun Laoghaire wrote in a letter to the Sunday Times:
"Flanagan states that commemorating the Rising will be done in an inclusive manner. I hope, therefore, that the extermination of the Armenian people (1.5m) and Assyrian people, carried out by what Ireland’s 1916 proclamation calls its "gallant allies”, Turkey and Germany, will be acknowledged by his government."

Read my previous post on Christopher Hitchens with comments on partition here. See Europe's history of partition and border-change here.

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