Reasons for Unionist Opposition to Home Rule and effects on Irish History, 1886-1914

1005 Words5 Pages
Unionists were opposed to self-governement for Ireland for economic, religious and political reasons. Ulster, particularly Belfast, had prospered industrially and Belfast’s main industries, shipbuilding and linen, were dependent on the British market. Unionists believed that a Dublin government would take away from their concerns by focusing on agriculture – and lead to the detriment of Ulster’s prosperity. Protestant – Unionists also believed that an Irish Parliament would be Catholic and would dominate their religion and feared their religious freedom would be in danger. Rivalry between Catholics and Protestants was tradition in Ulster so the unionists were set in their ways! Few on both sides respected or agreed ewith eachother’s point of view. The protestants political power became threatened and was reduced after the Secret Ballot Act of 1872 and the 1884 Reform act – they were in the majority in the UK yet if Home Rule came into play, they would be in the minority in Ireland. From 1885 to 1886, hr gradually became a greater possibility – this agitated Unionist and Protestants! The Irish Loyal and Patriotic Union was set up in 1885 – to help to fight home rule. Two Unionist Mps were elected in Dublin and 16 were elected in Ulster in the general elections of that year. There were two groups – unionists and Home rulers. The Orange order was revived and protestants of all classes were united against home rule. Unionists then strarted to make military units to resist Home Rule and the Conservative party in England began to take part in the fight against hr – any hr success was a success against the british empire and a step closer to an independent ireland. An alliance was formed in opposition to the liberal alliance of parnell’s party between the unionists and the english conservative party. Yet, with the defeat of the home rule bill n 1886 and the
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