Seminar on 1918 General Election

The Seminar on the 1918 General Election took place on Saturday 15 December 2018 at Wynn’s Hotel, Middle Abbey St., Dublin. This was a full day seminar.

The speakers were Bertie Ahern, John Bruton, Dr. Elaine Callinan, Prof Brian Walker, Prof. Frank BarryProf Michael Laffan, Dermot MeleadyDr. Joseph Quinn.

Chairman: Mr. Felix Larkin. The Seminar was opened by Mr. Seán O’Fearghail, Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann (Ireland’s Lower House of Parliament).

Videos of the seminar are available at YouTube. You can also view our previous videos there. Speeches and presentations on other topics are also available on our YouTube Channel, and on Soundcloud.

The recent RTÉ programme, Election ’18 will also be of interest. Available until Sunday 13 January 2019.

Seminar on the 1918 General Election, chaired by Felix Larkin

Reform Group Seminar 18 September 2014

The Reform Group seminar to commemorate the signing into law of
 the Home Rule Act, 18 September 1914.

Keynote address by John Bruton, former Taoiseach and former EU ambassador to the United States.
Dermot Meleady, author of John Redmond: The National Leader and Redmond: The Parnellite.
Prof. Eunan O’Halpin, Professor of Contemporary Irish History, Trinity College Dublin, author of Defending Ireland: The Irish State and its Enemies since 1922.
Professor Emeritus Ronan Fanning, University College Dublin, author of Fatal Path.
Chairman: Patrick Maume, author of The Long Gestation.

Royal Irish Academy, 
19 Dawson St. Dublin 2
Thursday, 18 September 2014
, 10.00 am – 1.00 pm


On 18 September 1914, six weeks into the Great War, King George V signed the Home Rule Act into law. The Act provided for the setting up of an Irish parliament with an accountable executive, empowered to govern all internal Irish affairs under the overall supremacy of the Westminster Imperial parliament.

It was the climax of a parliamentary process that had begun in April 1912 with the introduction of the Third Home Rule Bill. It was also the culmination of a 40-year struggle waged by constitutional Irish nationalists in the Westminster parliament with the democratic backing of the great majority of Irish nationalist electors.

It was thus a victory for the Irish Parliamentary Party and its leader, John Redmond, the heir of Parnell and O’Connell. Redmond was expected on all sides to be the first prime minister of a self-governing Ireland.

Only two obstacles stood in the way of the Act’s immediate operation. First, with political debate suspended and all attention focused on the War, the setting up of the Irish parliament had to be postponed until the end of the conflict. Second, and more seriously, although partition arrangements to exclude the unionist areas of Ulster from the Act had been discussed, no agreement had been reached. Thus, the precise territorial remit of the Irish parliament-to-be was unclear.

The placing of the Home Rule Act on the Statute Book was accepted by Redmond as the fulfilment of the promise of ‘the British democracy’ to Ireland, and paved the way for his call to nationalists to repay the ‘debt of honour’ by enlisting in the British forces fighting on the continent – a call answered by 210,000 nationalist and unionist Irishmen.

Subsequent efforts to implement the Act were overtaken and sidelined by events – the prolongation of the War, the Easter 1916 rebellion – that few had anticipated, events that compounded the difficulties posed by the partition impasse. The Act thus was never implemented in nationalist Ireland.

The speakers at this seminar explore, from different viewpoints, the meaning of the Home Rule Act for Ireland, then and now, and such thorny questions as whether its signing deserves to be celebrated – or merely commemorated.

Reform Group (c) 2014



Photo: Ashleigh Ekins


Ireland and UK Remembrance Shared


Irish Independent – 31 Jul 2014

President Michael D Higgins has described a national sorrow that soldiers who fought in the First World War and their families were shunned for decades in their home country.

Unveiling the first Cross of Sacrifice ever erected in the Republic of Ireland to servicemen and women killed in both world wars, Mr Higgins said the disrespect could not be undone although they are honoured now.

> Read more

Also: 31 July 2014: Dedication of Cross of Sacrifice, Glasnevin Cemetery

On Thursday 31 July President Michael D. Higgins led a ceremony to dedicate the newly installed Cross of Sacrifice in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin 11. The erection of the cross is a cooperative venture between Glasnevin Trust and the Commonwealth Graves Commission (CWGC). The service was attended by a wide range of public, diplomatic, and military representatives, along with members of the public. The event was was addressed by President Higgins.

> Read more

> My Great War, RTE Television | YouTube Clip


Image: President Michael D Higgins has unveiled the first Cross of Sacrifice erected in the Republic of Ireland. Photo: Irish Independent.

We influenced the early Commonwealth, so it’s a pity Ireland isn’t taking part in Games

Mary Kenny – Irish Independent, 28 Jul 2014

Not a lot of people know – as Michael Caine is apt to say – that the Irish Free State played an influential role in developing the character of the Commonwealth, that group of 53 nations which arose out of the former British Empire.

> Read more

> Mary Kenny’s talk given at the RIA, Dublin, on Ireland’s relationship with the Commonwealth

Image: England’s Steven Way in action in the Men’s Marathon during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Photo: Danny Lawson.