A new book chronicling the life of the Northern Ireland Parliament from 1921 to 1972 will debunk several myths concerning the ‘old Stormont’, according to its author.
Penned by Derryman, Emmet Doyle, ‘This House Will Divide’, interrogates the record of the Belfast Parliament, from its establishment in the wake of the Home Rule crisis up, until its prorogation in 1972.
“The book aims to debunk the myths about the Parliament, that it was a failure of governance and was sustained primarily to suppress the rights of the minority in Northern Ireland,” said Mr. Doyle.
“There is no doubt that this did happen, but the Parliament, at first in the devolution of power from Westminster within the UK, had many successes which are still part and parcel of our lives today.
“Take for example the parity of health and social services, these were secured by canny negotiation and by shoe horning Ulster’s interests into agreements with both the UK Government and deals between London and Dublin.
“Our modern public transport system in the form of Translink and NI Railways were born out of the relative collapse of railways and the reluctant nationalisation by Belfast.”
Mr. Doyle said the book will also look at how the infamous gerrymander of local government in Derry in the 1930s was driven by existential angst on the part of James Craig.
“Locally, Derry’s relationship with the Parliament is well known, but what not be well known is that a senior Unionist MP revealed in private correspondence to Terence O’Neill that gerrymandering Derry’s electoral wards was planned and executed by Sir James Craig and his Ministers in order to ensure the continuity of the new state. Furthermore, Ministers referred to Magee as a ‘derelict institution’ when discussing the new University provision that was sited at Coleraine.”
‘This House Will Divide: A History of the Northern Ireland Parliament’, Mr. Doyle’s second publication, is currently available from Amazon.