And John Redmond’s great victory over Edward Carson in the House of Commons. Ironically, it was to be his last. Amongst other things it would pass control of the RIC to an Irish Parliament. BOth it and Redmond were at the time incredibly popular everywhere in Ireland, except Ulster
Carson took to the towns and villages of Ulster, and Ireland was set upon a road to partition, independence for the south and Home Rule for the six north eastern counties, or Constitutional Ulster.
A leader in the Irish Times describes it as a moment “that heralded a temporary breach in the tradition of democratic constitutionalism whose line the founders, and spirit, of the new State would reconnect with a decade later.”
But it was mark the beginning of the end of an Ireland that – ironically perhaps – only ever existed as a unitary democratic state under the severely curtailed franchise of British rule.
It’s a sundering that has perplexed and confounded generations of Republican thinkers. Today, there are few in Irish politics who acknowledge Redmonds heritage as there own. Ironically, only Ulster did his constitutional nationalists withstand the comprehensive swing to Sinn Fein, and national revolution.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty