Churchill proposes partition of Ireland
'The problem of divided Ireland solved by a simple feat of engineering - if Scotland make not objections'. Photo: Punch, 8 October 1913

Churchill proposes partition of Ireland

Immediate rejection by nationalists

Published: 9 October 1913

Winston Churchill, the Liberal Party MP, has used his annual visit to his constituency at Dundee in Scotland to promote the idea of ‘the temporary absence of the representation of Ulster’ when Home Rule is introduced to Ireland next year.

Mr. Churchill continued: ‘Our bill is not unalterable, and the procedure of the Parliament Act renders far-reaching alterations possible.’

Noting the determined and sincere opposition of Sir Edward Carson and other unionists to Home Rule, he continued: ‘It is obvious that the claim of North-East Ulster for special consideration for herself is a very different claim from the claim to bar and defer Home Rule and block the path of the whole of the rest of Ireland.’

'It is a claim which, if put forward in sincerity, not as a mere wrecking manoeuvre, could not be ignored or brushed aside without full consideration by any government.’

'Our bill is not unalterable': Mr Churchill's suggestion that Ulster might be treated with 'special consideration' under Home Rule has been rejected by nationalist MPs. (Image: National Library of Ireland)

Mr. Churchill’s proposal was immediately rejected by Irish Parliamentary Party MPs. Speaking in London, John Dillon said: ‘The whole idea of lopping off part of Ireland is unworkable, and so grotesque that I am sure the government will never dream of it.’

‘All such proposals, if they come from the government or from the friends of Home Rule, can only have one effect, in my opinion. The result is very much the same as pouring oil on a dying fire'. Mr. Dillon continued: ‘They are taken as indications of cabinet fears and hesitation, and only serve therefore to inflame Orange Ulster afresh and drive unionists forward in their ridiculous plan of campaigning.’



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