A Political History of the Two Irelands: From Partition to by Brian M. Walker (auth.)

By Brian M. Walker (auth.)

This ground-breaking political historical past of the 2 Irish States presents special new insights into the 'Troubles' and the peace technique. It examines the influence of the fraught dynamics among the competing identities of the Nationalist-Catholic-Irish neighborhood at the one hand and the Unionist-Protestant-British group at the other.

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152 All this served to maximise Protestant unity and support for the unionist party and government. In the 1930s links between the unionist government and the Orange Order continued to grow, in face of a new nationalist challenge, especially from the south, and also continuing divisions. An editorial in the Belfast Telegraph, 12 July 1932 observed: ‘Divided as they are into different churches, it is necessary that Protestants should have some common rallying ground, and a bond of union which will enable them to face assaults from any and every quarter.

We will never get rid of it. One has only to go to England to see the extraordinary apathy by people who should be our friends. 102 This concern became very real again in 1940 when the British cabinet opened negotiations with de Valera to end partition in return for Ireland abandoning neutrality. Nothing materialised from these discussions, although they served to highlight the weakness of the unionist position. 103 For the new Northern Ireland government in the 1920s another serious problem arose from independent unionist, labour and temperance critics.

182 A major difficulty for the two governments, however, in pursuing what would rationally have been a sensible approach on these matters was that their actions were now heavily restricted by the mainstream identities in each state, which involved a range of dimensions, not only political but also religious and cultural. As regards the south, the comments of Malcolm MacDonald in 1939 were pertinent. 183 Around the same time, in 1938, Lord Dufferin told the Dominions Office in London that Northern Ireland government policies damaged the union.

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