No Home for Home Rule Essay

3350 Words14 Pages
From the Act of Union, to Home Rule, to partition; Ireland’s fate remained a question of constant debate and controversy for decades. The underlying reason for the Ulster Unionist dislike of Home Rule goes far beyond superficial reasoning. But at the surface, Ulster’s anti-Home Rule campaign can be split into a series of economic, religious, and political factors which all develop into a deeper and more complicated view of the Ulster unionists’ unbreakable stand against the bill. Far before Home Rule emerged as a bill, Northern Ireland’s economic makeup was substantially different from the rest of Ireland. Physically, the land, farms, and buildings were more structured and tidy than in the south. Belfast, specifically, was very industrialized and highly populated. According to Michael Laffan, “In economic terms, Belfast was an anomaly, a British industrial outpost in agrarian Ireland”. The citizens of Northern Ireland took pride in industrialism and their ‘British’ way of living. Though Northern Ireland could stand on their own, thanks to the access to free trade and international markets, the Ulster unionists did not want to sever ties with the British empire they so admired. Ulster unionists rejected Home Rule economically because it would reinstate an Irish Parliament that did not understand industry, destroy credit, interfere with export trade, and extinguish economic ties with England. According to Phillip Ollerenshaw, reader in history at the University of West of England, Bristol; an Irish parliament would “place businessmen at the mercy of ‘professional politicians without any stake in the country or any experience of affairs except what may be acquired in the constant practice of sending round the hat.’ Moreover, they believed this parliament would raise tariffs, cutting the country off from sources of raw materials and markets. Unionists used this idea
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