“Rickety Parliaments”: Dominion Home Rule and the Government of Ireland Act, 1919–July 1921
This chapter examines several different visions of Ireland’s future between 1919 and mid-1921. Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s Cabinet developed the Government of Ireland Act (1920) providing for six-county partition, but whether it was intended to operate is questionable. The civilian Irish Dominion League argued for the widest possible self-governing powers within the British Empire but convinced neither the Cabinet nor Sinn Féin, which with the Irish Republican Army (IRA) sought to establish a republic. Lloyd George sometimes claimed he was considering dominion status, but Rast asserts that his unwillingness to make concessions delayed a truce. Supporters of dominion status helped to end the violence by publicizing often-indiscriminate reprisals by government forces against civilians, divorcing significant sections of public opinion from Lloyd George’s government.