Sunday, 13 November 2011

Isaac Butt

Isaac Butt Home Rule Association

In 1870 the Home Rule Association was founded by a Church of Ireland minister called Isaac Butt in Donegal. Its main aim was to establish an Irish parliament which would have control over its own domestic affairs.  In the general election of 1874 Isaac Butt’s party won more than half the Irish seats at Westminster.

Even with this success they initially they made little impression as they could not impact upon the balance of power.  However using a parliamentary technique known as filibuster, (the delaying of procedures in parliament by making for example extra long speeches) they did cause considerable disruptions and helped keep the Irish debate alive.

The party was however disjointed comprising of Home Rulers, Fenians and Liberals each with their own political agenda.

Isaac Butt was born in Glenfin in County Donegal which is near to Ballybofey for those who know that area. He was an original descendent from the O'Donnell s of Tyrconnell. (Tyrconnell is the old Irish name for the area now known as Donegal.)

He was educated in Donegal and eventually finished his education in Trinity College, Dublin.
Isaac Butt attended Trinity College in Dublin
Trinity College Dublin
For the greater part of his life he was a member of the Irish Conservative Party and became a professor at Trinity where he taught Economics. Until then he had built a powerful reputation as a barrister and was opposed to many of Daniel O'Connell's political views especially the Act of Union which was eventually passed in 1800.

Butt believed that only a federal system would actually work in Ireland at that time and stop the many risings that were cropping up. To this end he formed the Irish Home Government Association to allow the citizens of Ireland to have control over their own internal affairs. His belief that Home Rule could only but create better friendships between Ireland and Britain.

This Association was quickly replaced with the Home Rule League and that is where he had more success. That is also where Charles Stewart Parnell joined this group, a younger and more aggressive leader.

You should now read how Charles Stewart Parnell took over this organisation.