Friday 9 December 2016

Kevin Myers: Fianna Fail knows it's not Fine Gael -- but little else

Kevin Myers

Published 21/12/2010 | 05:00

A hundred years ago today, a UK general election produced a dead heat between the Liberals and the Tories, and thus it was that the Irish Parliamentary Party woke up on December 21, 1910, and realised that its 84 seats gave it power over the House of Commons.

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The outcome, as we know, was the Home Rule Bill, which was then blocked by the House of Lords, and its final implementation catastrophically delayed by the outbreak of war in 1914. This is familiar territory.

Rather less familiar was a pre-election rally by south Dublin unionists, a year ago last week. This was almost the last time that unionists would ever be able to gather publicly in numbers. After 1922, a demographic and cultural calamity engulfed southern unionism, rendering it all but extinct within a generation, as unionists discovered the narrow limits of tolerance of nationalist Ireland.

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