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Irish Catholic Identities$
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Oliver P. Rafferty

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719097317

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719097317.001.0001

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Catholic Unionism

Catholic Unionism

a case study: Sir Denis Stanislaus Henry (1864–1925)

(p.292) 17 Catholic Unionism
Irish Catholic Identities

Éamon Phoenix

Manchester University Press

The theme of Catholic unionism is further investigated in the history of Denis Henry the first Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland. Eventually elected to parliament in the unionist interest, his political adroitness, and unmistakeable abilities ensured that he reached the top of his profession. He was successively solicitor general and attorney general for Ireland. A hardliner during the War of Independence he was a scourge of nationalist sentiment and his views served increasingly to isolate him from many of his co-religionists. His distinguished service on the bench did not in itself dispose the Northern Ireland government to Catholics. After Henry’s death in 1925 no other Catholic was appointed as a high court judge until 1948. However, Henry’s life, views and the office he eventually held does indicate a greater display of openness in the early stages of Northern Ireland unionism than would ever be the case again.

Keywords:   Denis Henry Catholic-unionism anti-nationalism

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