Then and Now

Click to follow
The Independent Online
August 1996: Sir Patrick Mayhew, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, orders the diversion of the Apprentice Boys' march from the traditional route along the old Londonderry city wall

11 February, 1914: Edward Carson, Unionist MP for Dublin (later Belfast) and founder of the Ulster Volunteers, a private army of 80,000, argued in Parliament that the government had forced Ulster into armed opposition to Home Rule

"If these men are not morally justified when they are attempted to be driven out of one Government with which they are satisfied, and put under another which they loathe, I do not see how resistance ever can be justified in history at all...

"There are only two ways to deal with Ulster ... She is not a part of the community which can be bought. She will not allow herself to be sold. You must therefore either coerce her if you go on, or you must, in the long run, by showing that good government can come under the Home Rule Bill, try and win her over to the case of the rest of Ireland. You probably can coerce her - though I doubt it. If you do, what will be the disastrous consequences not only to Ulster but to this country and the Empire? ... One false step taken in relation to Ulster will, in my opinion, render for ever impossible a solution to the Irish question. I say this to my Nationalist fellow countrymen, and, indeed, also to the Government: you have never tried to win over Ulster. You have never tried to understand her position. You have never alleged, and can never allege, that this Bill gives her one atom of advantage. Nay, you cannot deny that it takes away many advantages that she has as a constituent part of the United Kingdom. You cannot deny that in the past she had produced the most loyal and law-abiding part of the citizens of Ireland. After all that, for these two years, every time we came before you your only answer to us - the majority of you, at all events - was to insult us, and to make little of us. I say to the leader of the Nationalist party, if you want Ulster, go and take her, or go and win her."