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Cartoon from an Irish newspaper in 1906 commenting on plans to give Ireland Home Rule
(By permission of The British Library, Lepracaun, October 1906)
  • This cartoon was published in the Dublin journal Lepracaun in October 1906. The Lepracaun was a journal that commented on events in the news. It supported John Redmond's policy of Home Rule for Ireland, to be achieved by constitutional methods.
  • The main figure in the cartoon is John Redmond. He was the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party. This party was formed in the 1880s and was supported by the Catholic majority of the population of Ireland. Redmond wanted Home Rule for Ireland. This meant that Ireland would get its own Parliament and rule itself, but would still be part of the United Kingdom.
  • In 1886 and 1893 the British Parliament voted on whether to give Ireland Home Rule. They rejected it both times because they thought it might cause the break up of the British empire and because there was a large minority in Ireland (Unionists) who wanted the country to remain part of the United Kingdom.
  • The Irish Parliamentary Party split in the early 1890s over who should lead it. However, from the late 1890s into the early 1900s Redmond reorganised and united the party. He was able to get the Irish MPs to work together to campaign for Home Rule.
  • The figure serving Redmond is John Bryce, Chief Secretary for Ireland. He was the minister in charge of Ireland. In 1906 the Liberal Party won the elections in Britain after many years of rule by the Conservatives. That is why he talks about his house being 'not long opened'.
  • In 1906 the British government offered a number of measures to the Irish Nationalists. These included a Catholic university, greater control of education in Ireland and control of farming and land. This would be run by a Representative Council, which would be partly appointed by the British government and partly elected. The British hoped that this would satisfy Irish Nationalists.
  • However, as this cartoon shows, Redmond regarded the British plans as ‘half measures’.
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