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Home Rule., Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 8, 8 June 1907
THE IRISH S! X X FEIN MOVEMENT. ITS SCOPE AND OBJECTS. 'A cable message published. last Monday week stated that -the Sinn Fein Societies' newspaper had savagely attacked Mr John Redmond, declaring - that he has ceased to be the leader of the Irish people. Some idea of the difficulty in which Mr Redmond finds himself may be gathered from the following article, published in a London paper called the Budset a few months before the introduction of the Irish Council Administration Bill. After pointing- out that if the Bill stops at devolution, the remainder of Ireland will throw in its lot with the Sinn Reiners a s against the Irish Parliamentary party, the writer continues ’ — “For many months past the Sinn Fein party, which is gathering now adherents daily, has been making things uncomfortable for the Irish party. They are a lot of clever young men, chiefly recruited from the ranks of the Caelic League. They preach against Parliamentarianism in every shape or form. Already they are prominent in the Dublin Corporation. Up and down the country people are reading their pamphlets and tracts proving that Ireland during the years it has maintained a party in London has been overtaxed £3,000,000 a year, that the population has decreased by 4,000,000, that the land under crops has diminished by half —in short, that Parliamentary agitation, from the Irishman’s point of view, has been a curse. All this they have been saying and writing for five years past. They have been endeavouring to teach the people to distrust English parties, Liberal and Unionist alike. All of them used Ireland and her party when it suited them. The coming to office
of the Liberals at last put the Parliamentarians upon their trial. ® latter had always promised and 'maintained that the Liberal party (would, when the chance offered, give I Home Rule. And now wa are on me )eve of the promise being, either fulfilled or falsified. “There is not much chance of its being carried out to the fulles ex tent All practical politicians recognise as much. Yet Mr Redmond, knowing the trend of public opinion fathering about him, recently declared that the representatives of the Irish people “stand where we always stood. That nothing short of a complete measure of Home Rule, and by that 1 mean a freely elected Ibrhament. with an executive responsible to it, can ever be accepted as_-a settlement of the Irish question. mat is clear enough. But most peop e know that Mr Redmond and many oi his colleagues would accept even an instalment of Home Rule if they were nov driven unwillingly' to the larger demand by the Sinn Femers. “What, then, is to be the end of the matter ? The Sinn Feiners are making headway in the country. Worse still, they have a big following in the United States, where the monev for the upkeep of the Irish par tv is suscribed. Mr Bulmer Hobson,’of Belfast, a prominent member of the new party, lately left for the States to 'deliver lectures on the »mn Fein policy. If he succeeds there, as his party has in some measure succeeded at Home, in shutting off the cash supplies from the Parliamentarians, matters will soon reach a crisis. Already Mr Redmond and his col leagues are meeting with some opposition at their meetings. “Most people who know anything of Ireland know that the Catholic clergy can make or unmake any party. Up to this the priests have stood behind Mr Redmond ; the older men still advocate his policy. But ominous signs have now risen on the political horizon. Maynooth College Literary Society has declared almost, unanimously- for Sinn Fein. These young priests will lie actively directing the country's affairs in a year or so? a nd it is a certainty that they will work might and main to turn the people from Parliamcntarianism.
‘'And what of this Sinn Fein party ? It mean's ‘‘Ourselves.’ Its members believe in buying' things of Irish manufacture in preference to anything- else ; of isolating themselves ' from" English influences of certain kinds : of cultivating their old customs as much as possible. They favour the nationalising of the railways and of setting up a freely-elected Parliament in Dublin responsible only to the Irish people. In short they aim at an Irish nation. People ,i' reading of what the Hungarians accomplished by a passive resistance policy against Austria ; of what Denmark gained. An undercurrent of dissatisfaction has spread all over the land. If the promised bill falls short (as it most assuredly will) of whatthe Irish Parliamentary party has led the people to believe, then the life of the party will not be _ of long duration. A really critical situation has now arisen, the reasons for which are outside and apart from all English parties. It is local.. The "Birmingham Post." the organ of Mr Chamberlain, is already alive to the danger of the new movement.. “It is,” says this paper, “by far the most subtle and deadly of the Irish movements. Its seeks its aim, not by force of arms, but by means more clever and insidious. It prejudices Irish thought against all things that come from or submit to England.’ "I make no comment upon this new policy. It speaks for itself. It is bound to create a sensation by-and-by. The average Englishman, and Scotchman, too. is entirely oblivions of the now power which is gathering. For, unlike all previous agitations, its readers are cultured and wellread. ail'd believe in saying little but in doing much. Already the cash bag of tiie Irish Parliamentary party is feeling the strain. Mr Joseph Devlin, M.P.. had to be despatched to Australia ; Mr T. I’. O’Connor and Mr Kettle, M.P., had, to be sent to America. The fact is, there is no money to be had at Home. It is certain, too, that at the next General Ejection—or, perhaps before then —this new Sinn Fein party will have a firm hold upon the country. Members will be elected by their constituencies not to support any programme at Westminster, but to remain at home. This is not mere assertion. Anyone who reads the pa j pens and pamphlets of the Sinn Feiners can see that it is a very real matter with them.
“The suppression of one of their organs a few weeks ago by order of Cardinal Loguc because of its advocacy of the rights of laymen to
share with the clergy the control of primary education has shown its influence. It has been strong enough to supply the capital for a paper entirely free from clerical control. In the interesting correspondence which followed between the editor and the cardinal, the former remarked that a great number of the priests were behind him, and that he had reason to know that his policy found some favour even within Maynooth College. “Who can tell yet what the outcome of the policy may be ? That it will affect the two English parties to an extraordinary degree is certain. It may, indeed, be the means of giving birth to a new English party, with a new policy. It holds a future full of interest for all Ireland. Hobody who has any concern in Irish can afford to ignore the present evidences of restlessness and change.
(A late cable message states that the Irish Councils Bill has been withdrawn).
Home Rule., Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 8, 8 June 1907
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