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No moment for Home Rule

20 May 2016

May 19th, 1916

WITH the execution of James Connolly and another ringleader we may take it that there will be no further need on the part of the military authorities in Ireland to impose the death-penalty. It is conceivable that one of the objects of Mr Asquith’s visit to Ireland was to see for himself whether the dying embers of the revolt could not better be extinguished by gentler expedients. Conjecture has been rife concerning other possible objects of his stay in Ireland, and the interviews he has had in Dublin and Belfast. The most imaginative people have interpreted them to mean that, consent having been obtained, the Home Rule Act is immediately to be made operative. Others, less daring in their flights of fancy, believe that, for the period of the war, the Government of Ireland will be entrusted to an executive composed of Nationalists and Unionists, but subject, of course, to the Imperial Parliament. A third conjecture is that an advisory council will be created for the purpose of enlightening Dublin Castle on matters the knowledge of which gets no entrance there. The government of Ireland during the term of Mr Birrell’s Chief Secretaryship has by no means been a success, and it is quite possible that there will be some reorganizing of the existing system of Irish administration. But we deprecate any attempt to bring Home Rule into operation at once. The only real business that should concern us is the prosecution of the war, and we greatly fear lest the public mind, distracted with the Casement trial and other domestic excitements, should be diverted from what ought to be the sole and supreme concern. The political truce ought not to be broken on any pretext and for any side issues.


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