Sinn Féin, 1917-19
DOI link for Sinn Féin, 1917-19
Sinn Féin, 1917-19 book
The Easter rebellion, and the manner of its suppression, devastated constitutional nationalism. While the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) regrouped and reestablished itself, fed by a reﬂexive sympathy for the defeated insurrectionary forces, Redmondism began to disintegrate. A Home Rule measure which divided the nation, which so imperfectly met national aspirations, and which was in any event suspended for the duration of the war, was ever more widely taken as evidence of England’s perﬁdy, and Redmond’s impotence and gullibility. Ulster Unionism rode high in Asquith’s coalition, certainly able to veto nationalist aspirations. Protestant Ulster contributed so mightily to the war effort – and at all levels – that it neutralised Redmond’s credit for enlisting southern Catholics. The upheaval through which they had come, and the uncertain direction of their country’s development, fed Irish uncertainty and restlessness as 1916 wore on. By the end of July, an astute observer of the Irish scene noted, ‘Redmond had not only become unpopular, but hateful to the populace’.1 The implications were devastating, but to Asquith, and then Lloyd George and their colleagues, Ireland was a sideshow in a mighty struggle for national and imperial survival, in which unity was paramount and loyalty the cardinal virtue.