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Waterford from 1916-1918

Waterford and Home Rule
John Redmond, MP for Waterford was leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party. In 1912, the Irish Parliamentary Party held the balance of power in Westminister and used this position of influence to leverage an agreement from the Liberal Party to introduce the Third Home Rule Bill on 11th April 1912. The Second Home Rule Bill in 1893 was prevented from passing when it was rejected by the House of Lords. However, the Parliament Act, 1911 which asserted the supremacy of the House of Commons and meant the House of Lords could delay bills for two years but could not prevent bills from being passed should the bill meet the required conditions meant the Third Home Rule Bill could potentially be successfully enacted following an enforced delay.

The Third Home Rule Bill had a very contentious and difficult passge through the Houses of Parliament with strenuous opposition from the Ulster Unionist Party led by Sir Edward Carson. The Ulster Volunteer Force was set up in January 1913 and pledged to use all means necessary to defeat the implementation of Home Rule in Ireland. The Irish Volunteers, led by Eoin MacNeill, were established in November 1913 as a counter measure to support Home Rule. There were fears that these two opposing sides would meet with violence and that a civil war would erupt in Ireland. Unionists insisted that the only way the Home Rule Bill would be introduced would be if the six north-eastern counties were excluded.

The Government of Ireland Bill passed, received Royal Assent and was placed on the statute books on 18th September 1914. Throughout the process of the passage of Home Rule through the British Parliamentary system teh people of Waterford expressed their ongoing support for John Redmond as their MP and as the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party that would bring Home Rule to Ireland.

Waterford & John Redmond
However, the outbreak of the First World War meant that the Home Rule Bill was put on the statute books as a piece of legislation in suspension awaiting the end of the war for enactment. John Redmond, MP called for Irish nationalists to answer the call to arms at a speech in Woodenbridge in Wicklow on 20th September 1914 and join the British Armed Forces in the belief that this would bring Irishmen, north and south, together in the face of a common enemy and that by joining the war effort the Irish Volunteers could demonstrate that the British Parliament had nothing to fear in granting Home Rule to Ireland.