The fate of southern unionists was sealed in 1917

They had no choice but to reach some accommodation with nationalist Ireland

For John Redmond, the Irish Convention represented the final hope of rescuing some form of agreed Home Rule while the war continued. But he died a broken man in March 1918, a month before the convention produced its split report.

For John Redmond, the Irish Convention represented the final hope of rescuing some form of agreed Home Rule while the war continued. But he died a broken man in March 1918, a month before the convention produced its split report.

Tuesday marks the centenary of the inauguration of the Irish Convention, convened in Regent House in Trinity College Dublin to attempt to thrash out a framework for Irish self-government acceptable to all Irish parties and interests.

Sinn Féin alone declined to participate. Almost one hundred Irishmen took part, including leading MPs, most significantly John Redmond. The two Church of Ireland archbishops, one Roman Catholic archbishop and two bishops, a senior Presbyterian clergyman, sundry businessmen, a few trade unionists and representatives of local authorities attended. The peerage was handsomely represented by one duke, four earls, a marquess, a viscount and a couple of lords (although one was a former official rather than an aristocrat). There was also a scattering of knights and baronets. The provost of Trinity, JP Mahaffy, and the president of University College Cork represented the two southern Irish universities. Women were comprehensively ignored.

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