19 January 2021 – Tom Fraser – The Creation Northern Ireland

Professor Thomas G. Fraser MBE is Emeritus Professor of History at Ulster University.  Educated at the University of Glasgow (MA, Ewing Prize) and the London School of Economics (PhD in International History), he came to the New University of Ulster in Coleraine in 1969, retiring as Provost of the University of Ulster’s Magee campus in 2006.  In 1983-1984, he was Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at Indiana University at South Bend. A specialist in the history of the Middle East and India, his books on these areas have been published in the United Kingdom, India, Italy, Spain and Turkey.  In 2013, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society.  He has also published two books on Irish history, as well as on American foreign policy, and peacemaking.  He served for eight years as Chairman of the Northern Ireland Museums Council, and has been a Trustee of the National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland and of the Ulster Historical Foundation.  His new history of the Middle East since the First World War will be published in 2021.

The Creation of Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland was created by the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which was repealed in the Northern Ireland Act 1998.  The 1920 Act proposed the establishment of parliaments in Dublin for Southern Ireland and Belfast for Northern Ireland, together with a Council of Ireland. Northern Ireland was to comprise the parliamentary counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone and the parliamentary boroughs of Belfast and Londonderry. The lecture will explore how the Act evolved as the coalition government of David Lloyd George attempted to deal with the new situation in Ireland that had arisen as the result of the two events of 21 January 1919, the Declaration of Independence at the first meeting of Dáil Éireann in Dublin’s Mansion House, and the Soloheadbeg ambush in County Tipperary when two RIC officers were murdered. The lecture will then examine the ways in which a parliament and government were established de novo in Belfast by Sir James Craig’s Ulster Unionists as part of the overall Irish settlement that culminated in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921, and the Parliament of Northern Ireland voting on 7 December 1922 that the powers of the Irish Free State created in the Treaty should no longer apply to Northern Ireland.

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