- I penned a quick letter this morning. The subject is something that has been swirling round my head for some time now. It's on Ronan Fanning, and his recent publication, Fatal Path'. The book has been repeatedly cited to show that since London would never hold faith to parliamentary means, violence was necessary. But, the book also said that partition was inevitable from 1912, the nature of which was an open question until the period of the war of independence. I can only draw the conclusion that the Easter Rising made the nature of partition stronger and more permanent.
It is repeatedly said that the historian Ronan fanning, in his work The Fatal Path has settled the question of Irish independence: London would never hold faith under constitutional means, therefore violence was necessary.
However, what is never said is what Ronan Fanning also wrote about partition. He wrote, "partition was inevitable, perhaps in 1912, certainly by 1914, but the shape of the partitionist settlement remained an open question until 1920."
The Easter Rising made the shape of partition firmer and more absolute. If the Ulstermen feared a Home Rule parliament subordinate to the supremacy of Westminster, how could they be reconciled to a fully independent sovereign Republic? The northern historian Eamon Phoenix said to Michael Portillo on 'Enemy Files' on RTE, "historians would now agree that the Easter Rising really made partition more likely."
John Redmond is still casually deprecated today, and over the Easter Weekend a large poster of him was defaced at the GPO.
With history now written, two things are necessary.
We need to acknowledge that, as Provisional IRA violence strengthened partition in the north, so the Easter Rising made partition more likely and made it stronger.
We need to acknowledge that James Connolly, Pearse and every single Irish republican politician since that era has done no better a job at untying the Gordian knot of implacable Ulster resistance than John Redmond did, and if anything they have helped to tie it tighter.