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Fenians open to Home Rule under Crown

IT is good to know that John Bruton attempts to think outside the box by declaring that 1916 and Home Rule should have equal status in Ireland.

The old-hat reactionary Eamonn McCann (DebateNI, September 3) disagrees and thinks inside the box of 1916 and the 1918 general election, which put republicanism in the ascendancy in Ireland.

Eamonn McCann takes the Fenians to be republican. Whether they were or not is unclear. The early Fenians came up with the idea of Home Rule in their periodical The Celt as a parliament in Ireland under the Crown, which was clearly a federal concept of the Kingdom. The federalist Isaac Butt borrowed the concept of Home Rule from the Fenians and his brand of federalism was attractive to many Protestants.

Parnell and Dillon ousted Butt from the Home Rule camp and made it republican, which rang the death-knell of Home Rule at Westminster.

While Eamonn McCann lauds the republicans of 1916 and 1918, there are those who see those republicans as the fly in the ointment of Irish history.

MICHAEL GILLESPIE

Londonderry

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