Ireland Since Parnell eBook

D.D. Sheehan
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 273 pages of information about Ireland Since Parnell.
of 1910.  “This,” says Mr Henry, “was not purely an act of self-sacrifice.  In fact, Sinn Fein was never at so low an ebb.”  Its attitude towards the Home Rule, which now seemed inevitable, was stated as follows:—­“No scheme which the English Parliament may pass in the near future will satisfy Sinn Fein—­no legislature created in Ireland which is not supreme and absolute will offer a basis for concluding a final settlement with the foreigners who usurp the Government of this country.  But any measure which gives genuine, if even partial, control of their own affairs to Irishmen shall meet with no opposition from us and should meet with no opposition from any section of Irishmen.”

From now onward until 1914 the Sinn Fein Movement was practically moribund and its name was scarcely heard of.  When it appeared again as an active force it was not the old Sinn Fein Movement that was there.  As Canon Hannay justly remarks:  “It cannot be said with any accuracy that Sinn Fein won Ireland.  Ireland took over Sinn Fein.  Indeed, Ireland took over very little of Sinn Fein except the name.”  And this is the literal truth.

CHAPTER XXII

LABOUR BECOMES A POWER IN IRISH LIFE

In the play and interplay of movements and events at this time in Ireland we cannot leave out of account the Labour Movement—­that is, the official Trade Union organisation as distinct from the Labourers’ Association.  Hitherto it had mainly concerned itself with industrial and social questions and had not made politics or nationalism an object of direct activity.  The workers had their politics, so to speak, apart from their Trade Unions, and the toilers from Belfast were able to meet the moilers from Cork for the consideration of their common programme and common lot without infringing on the vexed issue of Home Rule, on which they held widely divergent views—­often enough without understanding the reason why.  They were a good deal concerned about municipal government and how many men they were able to return to the Dublin, Belfast and Cork corporations, but they had not counted highly and, indeed, scarcely at all in the scheme of national affairs.  The Parliamentarians were too strong for them.  Yet it was the workers who always provided the soundest leaders of nationality and its most incorruptible and self-sacrificing body-guard.  The thinkers expressed the ideals of Irish nationhood; they lived them and were even prepared to suffer for them.  But the time had come when this parochialism of labour in Ireland was to end.  To the enthusiasm and impetuous force of James Larkin and the fine brain of James Connolly Irish labour owes most for its awakening.  The rise of Larkin was almost meteoric.  He was one day organising the workers of Cork into a Transport Workers Union; almost the next he was marshalling a strike in Dublin, which made him an international democratic figure of extraordinary power.  He was

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Ireland Since Parnell from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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