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The politics of constitutional nationalism in Northern Ireland, 1932-1970Between grievance and reconciliation$
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Christopher Norton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719059032

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719059032.001.0001

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The Irish Anti-Partition League

The Irish Anti-Partition League

possibilities and pitfalls, 1945–49

Chapter:
(p.75) 4 The Irish Anti-Partition League
Source:
The politics of constitutional nationalism in Northern Ireland, 1932-1970
Author(s):

Christopher Norton

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719059032.003.0005

This chapter examines the context in which constitutional nationalists abandoned parliamentary abstentionism and took their seats at Stormont and Westminster. The impact of the return of a Labour Government at Westminster, and the establishment of a Labour backbencher ginger group (the Friends of Ireland) which raised concerns over Catholic disadvantage in Northern Ireland, is discussed. The chapter also looks at the establishment of a new nationalist political formation in 1945, the Irish Anti-Partition League (IAPL), and at early contemplation of a new reconciliation policy that would reach out to unionists. It is argued that by 1946 such ideas had been abandoned and that the IALP returned to a policy of demanding immediate national reunification. The effects on Northern anti-partitionist politics ushered in by developments in southern Ireland - the election of the Coalition Government and the passing of the Republic of Ireland Act in 1948; the establishment of an all-party anti-partition committee (the Mansion House Committee) in the Republic in 1949 - are considered. It is argued that the resulting heightening of nationalist expectations was ultimately to have profoundly negative consequences for politics in the North.

Keywords:   abstentionism, Coalition government, Friends of Ireland, Irish Anti-Partition League, Labour Government, Mansion House Committee, reconciliation, Republic of Ireland

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