THE CURRAGH INCIDENT.

Fergusson of Kilkerran, Sir James.


£20.00




1st ed., 1964. 236 pp., frontis., + photo & other plates & a map. Red cloth; 22 x 14cm. Insc., & an owner's label; V.G. 'The Curragh Incident of March 20, 1914, also known as the Curragh Mutiny, occurred in Curragh, County Kildare, Ireland. The Curragh Camp was then the main base for the British army in Ireland. At the time of publication it was the headquarters for training the Irish army. In the spring of 1912, the British government of Herbert Asquith had introduced the Third Home Rule Bill for Ireland, which proposed the creation of an autonomous Irish Parliament in Dublin. A large section of Unionists had objected to inclusion to potential rule by the proposed Dublin Parliament and had founded the Ulster Volunteers paramilitary group to fight if necessary against the British government. By the spring of 1914, the Ulster Volunteers were armed and violence was feared should the Home Rule Bill be passed in the British Parliament. To deal with the potential threat the commander of the Curragh base, Sir Arthur Paget, was ordered by the War Office in London in March 1914 to start preparations to march to Ulster should violence break out there. Paget misinterpreted his orders for precautionary deployments as an immediate order to march against Ulster and, acting on his own initiative, he offered the officers under his command the choice of resignation rather than fighting against the Ulster Volunteers. Fifty seven out of the seventy British Army Officers based in the Curragh Camp, many of them Irish unionists, accepted Paget's offer to resign their commissions in the British Army rather than enforce the Home Rule Act 1914 in Ulster. The men were led by Brigadier-General Hubert Gough. The men were not technically guilty of mutiny as they had not yet refused to carry out a direct order. Asquith's Liberal government backed down, claiming an honest misunderstanding, and the men were reinstated. The War Office in London declared that the army would not be used to enforce the Home Rule Act, but the men who issued this statement were later forced to resign. The event contributed to unionist confidence and the growing Irish separatist movement, convincing nationalists that they could not expect support from the British army in Ireland.' This is an account of the Curragh Incident.


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