The deal that was meant to come through the New Departure was first of all the launching of the Land Movement and eventually a bill was meant to be put in parliament and this was left to Parnell. A bill would be put in parliament calling for the establishment of a breakaway Ireland. When that failed to get through, the idea then was to launch an armed insurrection. Now, Parnell had at some point ... whether or not he was ever genuine about the New Departure ... he always had a hands-off attitude towards the Fenian movement. What he did notice was that ... what he came to the conclusion ... when he was jailed as a result of the massive Land League’s struggles, he certainly formed, and we don’t know at what stage exactly he formed a different idea of going forward, and that was to use the movement not to go directly to launch an Irish republic but to put pressure on the British government for a form of home rule, and the other thing, as well, was to make a deal over land ownership. He had the advantage that the Land League did start off with the idea of ‘Land For The People’ which was meant to be individual peasant proprietorship but a growing movement within the Land League ... Davitt’s followers actually, came to the conclusion that what they needed was land nationalisation.

  • Allan Armstrong
Tuesday 25th May 2010