How far did the Liberal government mishandle the Irish question?

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How far did the Liberal Governments mishandle the Irish issues during the period from 1909 to 1916?

From the period of 1909-1916, it could be said that the liberal government led by Herbert Asquith typically mishandled the situation concerning Ireland. This is due to Asquith’s ‘reactive’ government which ultimately made weak and unjustifiable decisions that consequentially effected other issues at the time such as sectarian tension and increased nationalism from the Irish.- the opposite of what he had hoped to achieve when was governing the UK.

One way in which the liberal government mishandled the Irish issues at the time was because of the way in which the home rule bill abandoned unionists by satisfying nationalist aspirations. Within the whole idea of Home Rule in Ireland there was a logical flaw. This flaw was that if Ireland was to be given self rule, it would be governed by the majority of Irish nationalists. Additionally, there would be no way in which the Protestant and Catholics could be successfully partitioned as it was evident that there would be underlying catholic dominance in Ireland, especially when it came to making new legislation, giving the Protestants who lived in Ireland an unfair lifestyle. Yet despite this, the Liberal government carried through a third home rule bill, a decision that led to the creation of the UVF and later violence from Unionists. This unionist abandonment showed how the Liberal government mishandled Irish issues.

The mismanage of the Liberal government was further illustrated by the rise in sectarian tension at the time. Evidence of the sectarian tension was shown by the formation of the Irish Volunteers (later known as the IRA) in 1913, joined by members of the Gaelic League, Sinn Fein and secretly the Irish Republic Brotherhood (IRB). This, alongside the Expansion of support for the Gaelic League was all part of an attempt to revive and increase Irish Nationalism. This revival of cultural Nationalism was on top of John Synge’s play which causes “Play boy” riots in 1907, and the 1908 Catholic “Ne Temere” Decree which stated that if a Catholic and Protestant were to marry and have Children, the child would be brought up to be a Catholic. This lead to the question of what will happen to Ireland if they obtained Self Rule, and whether the Protestants would be oppressed by the Catholics, since the two communities clearly were not habitual. The “Ne Temere” decree caused Sir Edward Carson to state that “Home rule would be Rome rule”, focusing on the fact that it would be dominated by Catholics if Home rule were to be obtained. Yet, regardless of this, the Home Rule bill passed by royal ascension in 1914 (but never enforced due to the World War), causing an anticipated increase in nationalism. This sectarian tension increase further supports the notion that the Liberal government mishandled Irish issues as the tension was not properly handled and instead of peace, further nationalism was caused.

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It could be said that the rapid increase in nationalism in Ireland after the Home Rule bill could point towards a fail in the handling of issues in Ireland. The evidence towards this was because there was no real increase in nationalism until the Home Rule bill had been passed. The effect of the passing of the Home Rule Bill by Asquith was hoped to be one in which there would finally be peace in Ireland, however the actual outcome was an increase in nationalism. It appeared that the terms were not sufficient for nationalists, their own parliament in ...

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