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Northern Nationalism: Nationalist Polictics,…

Northern Nationalism: Nationalist Polictics, Partition and the Catholic…

by Eamon Phoenix

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    In Search of a State: Catholics in Northern Ireland by Fionnuala O'Connor (thegeneral)
    thegeneral: This book is a cross-sectional analysis of fifty members of the Nationalist community, including some very high profile individuals, to get their views on a number of different topics which affect their world view in Northern Ireland such as the Church, the IRA, Protestants, Britain, identity and class. It is extremely revealing.… (more)

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I am very glad I acquired this book as I had been looking for it for some time. Phoenix is a well known commentator on current affairs and history in Northern Ireland and this book is extremely readable. Little academic research has been conducted on the Northern Nationalist community before and after Independence and this was the first such in-depth piece of work. The author demonstrates how the Nationalist community in the North did not unify into one political party after 1918 unlike the rest of Ireland and that, particularly in the North East of Ulster, the old Home Rule Party led by Devlin remained a credible force. The divisions between Sinn Féin and the Home Rulers which persisted long after partition became a reality are examined and the damage this did to attempts to create a single Nationalist party. The practical problems with abstentionism are explored in detail. In addition the role of Collins in his dealings with Craig and in his dealings with the IRA in encouraging attacks against the Stormont regime are examined leading one to ponder what role would Collins have taken had he survived the Civil War? Phoenix concludes, with considerable evidence, that had there been a significant bloc of Nationalist representation from the North in the House of Commons during 1920-22 that this could resulted in getting more favourable concessions for them regarding the Boundary Commission and related matters. ( )
  thegeneral | Sep 17, 2011 |
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