chapter  1
51 Pages

Loyalties

Britain and Ireland
WithSeán McConville

More difficult the post-settlement claims of the Northern and Southern Irish states. The British and Free State governments made the best accommodation they could. The Commission, apart from a few trifling local changes, proposed no major adjustment other than the transfer from the Free State of a sizeable area of Co. Donegal. Surviving a trauma, individuals and institutions often seek the comfort of familiar and deeply cherished pathways. Never dominant, this current cut a path through inter-war political, social and cultural life; grievous loss vented in nostalgic longings. British political possibilities seemed changed with the election of December 1918. A nominal Liberal, David Lloyd George, still bestrode the political landscape. The war shifted from the semi-conventional to the guerrilla, persisting despite several attempts at peace-making. The state apparatus that responded to the Fianna Fail victory in 1932 was only ten years old yet was possessed of the essential characteristics of the administration of a mature democracy.