The legacy of the Irish Parliamentary Party in Independent Ireland, 1922-49
O'Donoghue, Thomas Patrick Martin
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This study provides the first detailed analysis of the influence and persistence of Irish Party individuals, organisations and political culture in independent Ireland (1922-49). While many former followers remained disillusioned, others re-entered politics and won election to Dáil Éireann; the number of TDs with Irish Party heritage in the early Dáils is highlighted here for the first time. Previous scholarship has focussed on the enduring primacy of the Civil War divide; this thesis highlights the persistence of home rule loyalty in the Free State and the effects this had on the development of party politics. This includes special focus on the neo-Redmondite National League party; the Home Rule-tinged leadership of the Centre Party, the invocation of the Land League legacy, and the reasons why those from Home Rule backgrounds made the often difficult transition into the Treatyite fold. Many have noted the effects of proportional representation and multi-seat constituencies on the nature of Irish politics; yet, constituency brokerage served a key function of the IPP. This thesis suggests that the persistence of the IPP’s roles and methods was not confined merely to those from party backgrounds; it informed the political culture of independent Ireland, highlighting continuities between pre- and post-independence Ireland. The late Irish Party led by John Redmond clearly saw itself as the successor of Parnell; however, this inheritance was not seen in such simple terms in the memory of post-Rising Ireland. John Redmond was not completely forgotten in the years after this death as the depth of Irish Party loyalty in the Free State demonstrated. However, this study illustrates how the cleavages of contemporary politics and the commemorative priorities of an Irish state established on the sacrifice of 1916 saw Parnell and the agrarian radicalism of the early Irish Party privileged over the Redmondite party in the state’s public memory.