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The Home Rule Crisis 1912-14
Transcript of The Home Rule Crisis 1912-14
The Conservative Party ruled Britain from 1895 to 1906.
During that time Unionists in Ireland were happy because they knew the Home Rule Bill would not be passed.
But in 1906 the Liberal Party took over the government.
However, the Liberals has such a large majority in parliament they did not need the support of the Home Rule Party.
The Home Rule Party was led by John Redmond.
The Parliament Act 1911
After two general elections in that year, the Liberals needed the support of the Home Rule Party to stay in government.
The Liberals also passed a law in 1911 - The Parliament Act.
Up to this the House of Lords could vote against (veto) Bills coming from the House of Commons.
Now under the Parliament Act the House of Lords could delay laws for only two years.
With the Liberals depending on the Home Rule Party and with the power of the House of Lords weakened, Home Rule for Ireland seemed likely.
Third Home Rule 1912
The Liberal Party had tried to pass two Home Rule Bills in the 19th century. Both of these had been defeated.
In 1912, the Liberals, led by Prime Minister Asquith introduced the Third Home Rule Bill.
The unionist leaders Carson and Craig believed that if they opposed the bill strongly enough the British government would be forced to drop it.
Unionist resistance was strengthened by two important groups.
To examine the Home Rule Crisis
What was Home Rule?
The Unionist Party and the Conservatives were opposed to the bill, but the House of Lords could not delay the bill for more than two years.
So Home Rule would become law in 1914.
Unionists organised huge demonstrations against Home Rule.
On 28th September 1912, the Ulster Solemn League and Covenant was signed by over 200,000 men. The Covenant promised that Unionists would defend their privileged position. Some men signed the covenant in their own blood.
The unionists also began to organise military resistance. The Ulster Volunteer Force was founded in January 1913.
The unionists also needed arms and ammunition. These were bought in Germany in early 1914. On the night of the 24th of April 35,000 guns and 5 million rounds of ammunition were smuggled into Larne Co. Antrim.
The Conservative Party
The British army. British officers in the Curragh said in 1914 that they would resign rather than march on Ulster to impose Home Rule. This action was known as the Curragh Mutiny. It showed that the British government could not influence events even if it wanted to.
Nationalists also organised themselves.
In November 1913, Eoin Mac Neill, wrote an article called 'The North Began'. He suggested that nationalists should form their own volunteer force.
The Irish Volunteers
This article led to a public meeting in Dublin November 1913 at which the Irish Volunteer Force was founded.
Eoin Mac Neill was made chief of staff.
By the middle of 1914 the Irish Volunteers had 100,000 members.
They were drawn from many different groups, including the Home Rule Party, the IRB and Sinn Fein.
The IRB used the Volunteers as a cover for its plans.
They also bought arms and ammunition in Germany.
It landed in Howth Co. Dublin from the Asgard.
Now two armed groups existed in the country.
The Threat of Civil War
All this time the Third Home Rule Bill was making its progress through the British parliament at Westminster.
Attempts at compromise between unionists and nationalists failed. It looked as if Ireland was heading to Civil War.
On 4th August 1914 Britain declared war on Germany. WW1 had begun. The Home Rule Bill became law on 18th September, but it was immediately suspended and was not revived until 1919.