Irish Unionist Alliance, although its broader membership was relatively small. The party’s founders hoped that anglo irish treaty 1921 essay would coordinate the electoral and lobbying activities of unionist across Ireland.
It was deemed necessary for southern and northern supporters of the Union to more formally unite their efforts. Irish wing of the Liberal Party. Irish vote and 21 seats. This high level of support reflected the strong unionist sentiment within Ireland’s landed class. Unionists in the Lords proved to be instrumental in defeating attempts by the Liberals to introduce Home Rule legislation. Throughout the period, members of the IUA campaigned not only in Ireland, but also in Britain alongside the Conservative Party.
This was especially the case in the two general elections of 1910. IUA sent 278 workers to British constituencies to assist the Conservative candidates, distributing almost three million leaflets across England. It was during that this time that a large number of Conservative MPs married into Irish Southern Unionist families. Despite early hopes among some unionists that the IUA would expand the unionist presence across Ireland, the party failed to make any major electoral gains in the six subsequent general elections.
In local elections, the party maintained a geographically broader representation, although failed to win many new voters. Unlike in Ulster, the anti-Home Rulers were a scattered minority. In Ulster, the IUA built upon solid unionist electoral foundations and became the dominant political force in much of the province. In the north and east of Ulster, unionists consistently won seats, often unopposed. Despite the prominence of many influential Southern Unionists in the party, Ulster remained the core of the IUA’s support base. Ulster unionism was linked strongly to the former Conservatives, with their strong Orange Order links, rather than to the former Liberals, who had made some effort to encourage cross-denominational support for their unionist stance.
The strength of the northern unionist wing played a vital role in the shift of power in the pro-union movement to Conservative and Orange elements. While the link between the Orange lodges and the new Unionist associations did introduce a populist, democratic element into unionist politics, it also served to reinforce the sectarian nature of unionism in the north. Although Ulster Unionists were still within the broader framework of the Irish Unionist Alliance, the Ulster party began to develop its own distinct organisational structures and political goals. This body sought to coordinate the IUA’s election and lobbying activity, whilst recognising the distinct differences between the northern and southern parties. The prominence of the Ulster Unionist Council quickly grew thanks to the strong unionist sentiment in Ulster.
From 1910, it became the dominant force and focus of resistance in the Irish unionist community. The JCUAI was effectively controlled by Ulstermen, while the IUA’s leadership remained largely in the hands of Southern Unionists. This led to the unionist movement gradually becoming ‘Ulsterised’ from 1910, which marginalised many more moderate unionists in the south. Even so, in 1913, as the Third Home Rule Bill passed through Parliament, the Alliance appears to have become increasingly popular in the south and records show an increase in membership. By 1914, the conflict of interest between the unionists in southern Ireland and those in Ulster was wracking the IUA.
It was known that the passage of a Home Rule Bill for Ireland was becoming increasingly likely, and as such many Southern Unionists began to seek a political compromise which would see their interests protected. Many unionists in the south became strongly opposed to any plan to partition the island, as they knew that it would leave them isolated from the unionist-majority areas. Ireland was to avoid partition and remain in the Union. Several large unionist demonstrations took place in Dublin in early 1914, in which protesters complained as much about the Ulster Unionists as the Irish nationalists. In this period, the IUA distributed an estimated six million pamphlets and booklets throughout Britain, canvassed 1. 5 million voters and arranged 8,800 meetings.