Home Rule During a World War: The Lloyd George Proposals and Irish Convention, 1915–1918
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This chapter examines attempts to address Irish discontent prompted by the 1916 Easter Rising. Cabinet member David Lloyd George proposed to implement home rule but exclude six Ulster counties. These negotiations failed amid discrepancies concerning partition’s permanence, but Rast asserts they laid foundations for what would become Northern Ireland. The 1917–1918 Irish Convention is often dismissed as an inevitable failure, but Rast argues it came close to succeeding as some unionists adopted the idea that self-government was inevitable. Its ultimate failure divided Irish unionists and the ensuing conscription threat further alienated nationalists, accelerating the rise of the separatist party, Sinn Féin. Partition remained the overarching issue, but questions concerning Ireland’s constitutional and financial future divided nationalist factions and those unionists willing to accept self-government.