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Liam's Irish Traditional Music - A Constitutional Dilemma


 

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The Home Rule Party & Charles Stewart Parnell

Charles Stewart Parnell, a Protestant landowner in Ireland, gained the leadership of the Irish Home Rule Party in 1879 He led the Irish MPs in the Westminster Parliament and his party held the balance of power between the Liberals and Conservatives.  He moved Irish politics to the forefront of the British political scene by adopting obstruction techniques in Parliament to slow down the process of law‑making and debate.  This is known as filibustering.  The Home, Rule Party wanted Ireland to control all decisions on domestic affairs.  Foreign policy would, still be directed by Britain.

  In the Land War, the number of evictions rose and reprisals were the response.  Parnell agreed to support Gladstone's 1881 Land Act.  Irish priests, fought side by side with Irish people.  The leaders of the Catholic Church in Ireland sided with British leaders, and opposed the nationalist movement, The Land League and the Catholic masses gave support to Parnell.

Revolutionary groups abroad, in America and Canada, collected money for the Irish, cause.  They used unconventional methods to achieve their goal. The first bombs in London on were exploded and Clerkenwell Jail was blown up in 1867.  The IRB, or Fenians, as they were known, after the legendary third-century AD army which had served the High King of Tara, were divided between those for and those against Parnell's Parliamentary methods.  On the whole they supported him.

The Irish Home Rule Party suffered a temporary setback in 1882 when the Chief Secretary for Ireland was assassinated.  It recovered, and Parnell continued to develop an authoritative role in Parliament. He was at the height of his power from 1880 to 1888. Parnell's party supported the Conservatives in this election.

In April 1886 Gladstone introduced his Home Rule Bill. By this time Parnell's party supported the Liberals. The Protestants in Ulster showed their dislike of the bill by drilling and demonstration. Joseph Chamberlain split the Liberal vote by forming a new group called the Liberal Unionists, which supported the Ulster Protestants. He was strongly committed to the British Empire, and to a policy of imperialism.

Chamberlain declared that he would "Kill the Bill".  Lord Randolph Churchill, a member of the Conservative Party, decided that the Protestant cause against Irish Home Rule would be a sound political issue for the opposition party to take up, He decided to "play the Orange Card".  Protestants of all classes and the Conservative Party joined forces against the threat of Home Rule.  The Liberal Unionists refused to vote for Gladstone's Home Rule Bill, and the defeat of the government forced an election In 1886. The House of Lords used its veto, and voted out Home Rule.

The Election Results, November 1885:

Liberals 335
Conservatives 249
The Home Party Rule 86

The Election Results, November 1886:

Liberals

191
Conservatives 316
Liberal Unionist 78
Irish Home Rule Party 85
Total 670

 

 

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