REVIEW of REVIEWS

What Will Happen in Ireland?

A Forecast of the Ultimate Settlement of the Present Unrest.

LORD NORTHCLIFFE June 15 1921
REVIEW of REVIEWS

What Will Happen in Ireland?

A Forecast of the Ultimate Settlement of the Present Unrest.

LORD NORTHCLIFFE June 15 1921

What Will Happen in Ireland?

A Forecast of the Ultimate Settlement of the Present Unrest.

LORD NORTHCLIFFE

LORD NORTHCLIFFE was asked by the Nineteenth Century, to contribute a forecast of the settlement, of the Irish problem and in the current issue be gives his ideas on the question.

“I should have liked,” he says, “to find time and space to deal with all the problems which confront us, in Europe and in the Empire, at the moment. But, as one with Irish blood in his veins, I find myself absorbed, to the exclusion of all other interests, in the problem of which the solution, is, to my mind, the key to nearly all the rest, namely the deplorable, but not necessarily insoluble problem of Ireland.

“The Government generally assert that .their antagonists in Ireland consist of a relatively small number of ‘gunmen,’ by whom the population are terrorised; .and that, if these can be removed, the .Irish people will spontaneously revert to the friendly attitude maintained by Nationalist leaders throughout the war. There could be no greater mistake. The expert, ‘gunmen’ do exist, and, in my opinion, are supported by foreign money. But every Irishman knows that the ultimate demands of his country are unalterable, and that the ‘gunmen’ are but an incident, if a dreadful one. Although at some periods, such as that which followed thé Wyndham Land Purchase Act, these ultimate demands may seem to have fallen ■below the normal standard, while again, as at the present, time, they may rise far above it, they are permanent and endemic; and a lasting settlement in Ireland will come only when the normal demand of the Irish people is satisfied.' Tô my mind, tliat demand is for complete autonomy within the Four Seas of Ireland. The demand for a Republic seems to me unreal. Ireland does not wish to maintain an Army, still less a Fleet; but Ulster is a problem, disregard of which has shipwrecked many well-meant attempts at a general settlement. Still, that problem is by nó means so. great as it was. .Thinking men, Ulster Unionists and Sinn Feiners alike, must now realize that Ireland cannot remain permanently divided, and that the question

is susceptible of solution, though it may be delayed, by Irishmen and in Ireland. Nay, a solution is inevitable once Ulstermen have realized and are prepared to confess their own dependence upon the rest of Ireland, and once the rest of Ireland has realized, as it has not yet, the strength of Ulster and its value as an integral part of the Irish nation.

“There remains the vital question of Ireland’s fiscal and financial status under self-government. Englishmen must not forget that the struggles of the seventeenth century, which established the broad basis of their own liberties, centred originally in the control of the nation’s purse. Political power which does not include control of .finance in its widest sense is and must be ■unreal. Without such control, Young Ireland cannot begin to realize its aspirations, or to bring into being that specifically Irish civilization which it has already conceived. Till then there can be no content-

“It is said, but I cannot think seriously, that the grant of fiscal autonomy to Ireland will prove a menace to the economic position of this country. The Irishman is not a fool; he realizes that Great Britain is the natural market for his goods, and one for which no equivalent alternative could be found elsewhere. If the right of Ireland to control her purse be once recognized, I do not believe that she will prove slow to understand the importance of adjusting her own desires to the inevitable facts of her environment. Sentimental though her demand may appear, its gratification will enable Englishmen and Irishmen, for the first time, to meet and converse as equals, and under mutual obligations.- -

“But these may seem no more than vain speculations at a time when, one after another, every interest in Southern Ireland is being alienated from this country by a policy of repression which involves in its destruction of life and property the whole social and economic fabric of the country. No settlement can now, I fear, be reached except through a truce, the necessity for which becomes hourly more apparent.””