Calton Younger

Biographical informationListing of the worksListing of commentaryExtracts from commentariesExtracts from the worksDigest of reference worksMiscellaneous annotations

Author of works on Irish political history incl. Ireland’s Civil War (1968) and A State of Disunion (1972), a study of Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, James Craig and Eamon de Valera.

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Ireland’s Civil War (London: Frederick Muller 1968), 534pp; also Do. (Fontana 1979, 545pp; also Younger, A State of Disunion (Frederick Muller 1972 [1st edn.]; Fontana pb. 1972), 349pp.

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A State of Disunion (1972) - [Opening:] ‘As men make history so are men the stuff of history. Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, James Craig, and Eamon de Valera were all dedicated men born at a crucial moment in Ireland’s history, the further shaping of which devolved largely upon them. Of incommensurably disparate character, each possessed that peculiar amalgam of human qualities which marks out the leader. They inherited and were moulded by a strange and tortuous history. Men of their time and their environment, they were inevitably to become men of conflict.’ (p.7.)

‘It can be said that each achieved most of what he set out to do: Arthur Griffith, a man of peace, founded an obscure political party the name of which, Sinn Fein, was to become a household word associated with a physical force movement, but it was essentally the instrument of a political philosophy on which the fight for Irish freeedom was based; Michael Collins dominated the armed revolution which altered the whole British Imperial [sic caps.] structure and won independence for the Twenty-six counties, while James Craig led the resistance of the Protestant minority to the nationalist ambition, succeeded in creating an enclave which stubbornly clung to its British original and built it into a state within a state. The most remarkable of the four, Eamon de Valera, by sheer personal magnetism and a relentless awareness of human rights and dignity, fused the whole independence movement and, later, emerged from a political wilderness to lead the people of the Twenty-six counties towards the Republic of which he is still the President.' (p.7.) [Cont.]
‘The chronic sickness of Ireland is partition and it is to the removal of the border that one must look for a cure, whether by sudden surgey or the patient application of unguents. [...] Nor should the present day British Government follow obstinately in the wayway steps of their predecessors, pompously insisting that the Six Counties are and ever will be an indistinguishable part of the United Kingdom. The truth is tha tthey belong with the rest of the nation of Ireland. Whetehr or not it is practicable to reconstitute Ireland as one entity is a different matter, but at least the truth should be acknowledged.’ (p.11).

Younger proposes a ‘Federal Parliament whose powers were limited to matters of national concern, for the two provincial governments would legislate on domestic issues, including the prickly question of education, to suit their own electorates. In other words, Ulster should keep divorce and contraceptives if they want and the rest of Ireland foreswear them still.’ (p.22.)

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