Letter addressed to the British Lord Chancellor from Charles McLorinan, a Catholic living in Northern Ireland, 1 June 1922, Catalogue ref: HO 45/24812
When Northern Ireland was formed in 1920, it was decided, partly because of where Catholic and Protestant populations lived, to only include six of the nine counties of Ulster within the new state. Thus, the remaining three counties eventually formed part of the Irish Free State.
Daniel O’ Rorke & Son,
Chambers, 14 Donegall St.
1st June 1922.
May I take the liberty of making a suggestion to you – solely in the interest of peace in this part of the world.
The root cause of the trouble here is that the Catholics and the Nationalists feel that Ulster was unfairly divided by the 1920 Act. The opposition of Ulster (all Ulster) was used as an argument against Home Rule, but when it came to forming a separate Government here, all Ulster was not taken as a unit, it was cut up in such a way as to empower 820,000 Protestants to rule over 420,000 Catholics. The result being that Catholics will not enter the Northern Parliament. If all Ulster had been taken as a unit, there would have been 890,000 Protestants as against 690,000 Catholics. This would have enabled Catholics to form a strong minority in the Northern Parliament so strong that they could have protected themselves fairly well and perhaps in the near future, with the aid of liberal minded Protestants, to get into office as happens in England and other civilised countries. As it is Catholics see no hope of anything save being ruled for all time by their hereditary enemies. This to them is an intolerable state of affairs. Sir James Craig told a friend of mine lately that to induce Catholics to enter his Parliament he would be willing to give them representation in proportion to their numbers in the six counties. This is a move in the right direction.
Could you not appoint some outstanding English statesman, in whom both sides would have confidence, as a special commissioner to arrange the matter, just as the British Government appointed Lord Durham in 1867 to settle the Canadian difficulty?
There is no great affection between Northern Catholics and South Catholics and if Northern Catholics were treated fairly, they would support the Northern Parliament.
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- What does the author of the letter say was the main reason for the trouble which still existed in the country?
- What was the result of Ulster being divided like this in terms of the religious makeup of the people living there?
- What does the author of the letter suggest as a possible solution?