Troubles in Northern Ireland
The Partition of Ireland
Following the Easter Rising there was a period of civil war in Ireland.
One of the results of this was the decision to partition Ireland into
two legislative areas. The loyalist north would retain the same links
with London as it had previously, whilst the southern provinces would
gain semi-independance (similar to Dominion stats held by Australia
and Canada). This partition effectively created two states, Northern
Ireland (as it is now) and The Irish Free Republic (now Eire, or the
Republic of Ireland).
The partition was recognised by governments in London and Dublin -
but did not prevent ongoing conflict between Irish Nationalists and
the the British government (or those loyal to Britain).
Why did Partition not bring peace in the 1920’s and 1930’s?
“There are a great number of Protestants and Orangemen who employ
Catholics. I would point out that Roman Catholics are trying to get
everywhere… I would appeal to Loyalists, therefore, wherever possible,
to employ protestant lads and lassies.” Sir Basil Brooke. Unionist
Minister, later Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.
“The national territory consists of the whole of the island of
Ireland, its islands and territorial seas.” Article 2, Irish Constitution
“The effect of bringing into force this new constitution in the
Irish Free State will be to strengthen the determination of Ulster to
resist all attacks from there (Eire) and make links between Britain
and ourselves stronger.” Irish Free Press December 1937
“Politically, Ulster would always send a majority of Protestant
MP's to Westminster, and there would always be a majority of Unionist
MP's in the Northern Ireland parliament. However, control was also established
in local councils, even when the Protestants were in a minority. The
vote was restricted to householders and property owners (thus ruling
out many of the Catholic poor). Boundaries were redrawn to secure the
maximum possible number of Unionist councillors. This process was called
‘gerrymandering’. From Ireland a Divided Island.