Sunday, 13 November 2011

Home Rule Bill in Ireland

Home Rule Bill In Ireland Explained

Gladstone brought forward his first Home Rule Bill when the Irish party held the balance of power following the general election of 1885.  It offered only a partial devolution of powers and was defeated at its second reading, and led to rioting in Belfast which claimed 30 lives.

Gladstone was always reluctant to have a full devolution of power as he feared it would split his own party and that took priority.

In 1859 there was a revival of fundamental Protestantism in the North of the country and every now and then violence ensued.  The Protestants feared that Home Rule would mean the end of their preferential treatment from England.  In 1886 Randolph Churchill visited Belfast and declared that:

“Ulster at the proper moment will resort to its supreme arbitration of force.  Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right”.  

This was a classic playing of the “Orange card” by a conservative who opposed any form of Direct Rule.  Gladstone lost the next election and was replaced by the Conservative Lord Salisbury.



Gladstone and Parnell did continue to work on achieving Home Rule, though Parnell was suspicious of his motives.  Parnell had been having an affair with Katharine O’Shea, the wife of Captain O’Shea and the captain filed for divorce naming Parnell as the co-respondent.

The Catholic Church along with Gladstone now felt Parnell was a liability and pressured him into leaving the party.  Parnell did not relent to this pressure and caused a major split in his own party.  He died a bitter and resentful man in 1891 having failed to achieve Home Rule.

You should now read about the Gaelic Athletic Association History.