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Title: 'To raise the banner in the remote North' : Politics in County Monaghan, 1868-1883.
Author: McGimpsey, Christopher David
ISNI:       0000 0000 3885 5961
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1982
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This study examines the evolution of the political process in the Ulster county of Monaghan during the period 1868-1883. Considerable attention has been given to the social, economic and geographic features from the end of the sixteenth century. In addition, a survey of the parliamentary representation of Monaghan from the Act of Union to the general election of 1865 has been undertaken. This extended treatment of the socioeconomic and political background is regarded as essential to a clear appreciation of political behaviour at constituency level in the later nineteenth century. The period 1865-1883 saw a most significant change in the parliamentary representation of the county. Monaghan had always been regarded as a stronghold of Irish Conservatism, albeit with occasional Whig interludes. In 1865 one of the seats was captured from the Tories by a member of the local Liberal ascendancy. Our period, then, opened with the representation of Monaghan split between the two major British parties. The 'Disestablishment Election' of 1868 saw the Conservatives regain control of the county's second seat. Thereafter that party's hegemony was threatened first by the conservative constitutional nationalism of the Home Government Association and later, in 1880, by the Ulster Liberals. Advocating strong tenant right principles, the Liberal party nominees defeated both Conservative members. The result appeared to be a vindication of non-sectarian class politics. The key to victory had been held by a relatively small number of Liberal Presbyterian tenant farmers. In 1883 one of the M. Ps. resigned, and the ensuing byelection pitted a local Liberal Presbyterian against a Conservative and Tim Healy, the nominee of Charles Stewart Parnell and the Irish National Party. The result saw a narrow victory for the Nationalist candidate over his Conservative counterpart with the Liberal receiving an embarrassingly small vote. The massive decline in the Liberal vote between the contests of 1880 and 1883 looks anomalous. However, it is argued here that the 1880 result reflected an anti-Conservative rather than a pro-Liberal vote on the part of the Catholics. In other words, the sectarian nature of politics in Monaghan which had been such a prominent feature of the county had not been interrupted. The thesis narrates the story of Irish politics during this most formative period, and relates it to a local study. By so doing it illustrates the strongly sectarian dimension to Irish politics. In the late nineteenth century few, if any, public issues could be fully divorced from the religious factor. The rhetorical expression of political ideals might appear nonsectarian at Westminster, but in the Monaghan region their true nature was indicated by the manner in which the population reacted to them. Thus the real significance of the political activities of the representatives of the two traditions can often by more fully appreciated when related to constituency level. Monaghan occupied a peripheral position on the borders of Ulster. Its population was around 75% Catholic during the second half of the nineteenth century. This means that Monaghan offers an illuminating example of the interaction of Protestant Ulster and Catholic Ireland. The activities of the county's Protestant and Catholic populations, its Orangemen and its Fenians, its various groups of clergy, its Protestant landlords and its Catholic Bishop, all constituted the political life of 'the county of the little hills'. Today Monaghan's geographic position places it in the front line of an assault upon Northern Ireland. Once again the people of the county are strategically placed in relation to national and sectarian confrontations on the island - plus ca change plus la reste meme.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Irish politics