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Democracy in Northern Ireland - Past and Present

Democracy in Northern Ireland Gerry O'Shea
If we identify a functioning democracy as a political system where the principle of majority rule prevails, then Northern Ireland has a sad and unfortunate history.
Decades of agitation resulted in a 1914 Home Rule Bill passing in Westminster that yielded some limited powers to a government in Dublin. Irish nationalists celebrated this new proposal, seeing it as a first step to a fuller system of self-rule.
However Unionists, who were strong numerically in the province of Ulster, virulently opposed any involvement with a Dublin government because they feared that Home Rule would inevitably lead to Rome Rule, and they also viewed the majority Catholic culture as inferior to what the Protestant Ascendancy had to offer.
They organized and trained a large and determined militia and imported big quantities of arms from Germany warning the British Government that they were willing to fight with guns and bombs any effort to implement the Home Rule B…